After about 15 seconds I looked over at the crowd of music aficionados because they had all gone quiet. I scanned the furrowed brows, took in the subtly played air guitars, and I'm here to tell you: that song was taking those guys places. I was being taken someplace myself, actually.
I spent the summer of 1997 in Wyoming, cleaning rooms at a hotel in the Grand Tetons. I was 19 and a terrible maid. Probably the worst maid that ever lived.
In May, my friend Kristin and I drove my 1988 Honda Accord out to Wyoming from Georgia, and you better believe we had a Plan: we were going to spend the whole summer practicing folk songs from the Rise Up Singing songbook on our guitar and banjo, and we'd most likely get a record deal by September. November at the latest.
So, we got to the hotel and settled into our dorm room which was cramped, dark and had a wide, naked view of the staff parking lot. We trudged through the snow to the staff cafeteria for dinner, and the first thing I noticed as I sat down with my plastic tray was this amazing looking man staring at me like he wanted to floss his teeth with my face.
(Excuse me while I pause for a bit of narrative housekeeping:
When I was a teenager and didn't know how to deal with a situation, this look right here was my default strategy:
I call this look the "I Knew That." For those of you who happen to be a teenage girl at the moment, a word:
When you're in a new situation and feeling insecure, the benefit of this low-effort approach is that you never have to say anything interesting: other insecure people leave you alone out of the assumption that you're either thinking something real good or judging them because you're better than they are. However, in certain cases the "I Knew That" can be misconstrued as the "Let's Make Out in The Corner," and can instigate more of a response than you bargained for. Please feel free to email me with questions.)
Anyway, this man: he appeared to be some sort of viking king, which isn't generally the sort of thing I go for, but whatever--when you're 19 and getting amorous eyes from Thor, you have like zero recourse. But while I'm divulging all sorts of personal information, let it be known that back at school I had just had my life ruined by a guy who always wore cowboy boots and who told me about a month too late that he thought he was probably in love with this girl he met in Montana at welding school. Which was such weak sauce. So in light of my fresh heartbreak, I decided to eschew the Norseman with a firm hand: I put on my best IGNORING YOU face, ate my dinner and left.