Friday, February 22, 2008

No, That's Peter Gabriel

Usually when we get in the car, the girls immediately shout out requests of what music they want to hear. However, the CD player isn't working and we were in a rush to get to swimming yesterday and I didn't have time to coordinate "the map," so we were listening to the radio. (Silence maybe, you ask? Unthinkable!) I turned on this station where you just might get a good 80s song, and oh, I was not disappointed. About the second song in, I had to burst out laughing because it was "Shock the Monkey" by Peter Gabriel (and no, to this day, I really don't know what it means, but that's not unusual with a lot of his stuff).

My freshman year at Moody I lived on Houghton 4W. I had come from a fairly conservative background, but Moody was definitely a bit "more" than I was used to. There were a lot of rules, and one of them was that if you were going to listen to secular music in your room (and somehow this didn't apply to classical) that it should not be played loud enough so others could hear it out in the hall. That was actually fine with me because it wasn't much different from home and hearing my dad yell any number of times a day, "Turn that racket down!"

We had a meeting on our dorm floor the first day of term to go over all the various rules. For some reason and to this day I have no idea, one of the RAs took an instant dislike to me. I didn't talk, I didn't ask questions, I didn't raise my hand, I didn't smirk--I can't explain it, but she did not like me. For my entire first year there, she made it her mission to put the smackdown on me, and usually it was about music. We all used to laugh that she was standing with a glass pressed against my door to see if she could hear any music out in the hall. Almost not one day went by without her irritated knock and then thinly veiled polite request that my friends and I stop talking/laughing/turn down our music etc.

Now I had the sweetest, most laid-back roommate, Tonya, who was also possibly the world's heaviest sleeper. Her bed was near the door; mine was on the far side near the window. One morning, my clock radio, which was right by my bed, went off. It was Peter Gabriel singing "Shock the Monkey." I lay there in a stupor, half sleeping, half listening--it was pretty early. All of a sudden: the irritated knock (I promise, you could tell her knock from anyone else's). This couldn't be happening. Tonya slept on peacefully, and I lay still, hoping she would go away (you know, like Randy in "A Christmas Story"--"Randy lay there like a slug: it was his only defense.") She didn't go away; she burst into our room, angrier than she had ever been before (apparently the strains of "Shock the Monkey" totally pushed her over the edge).

She walked over to Tonya's bed, shook her rigorously by the shoulder, flung her arm in the direction of my bed/my radio/Shock the Monkey, and demanded, "IS THAT CHRISTIAN?" Tonya raised herself up slowly and looked over through half-closed eyes and said, "No, that's Alice," and rolled over and went back to sleep.

Yup. It's still funny 21 years later. So yesterday as we're driving to the swim club and I'm laughing, I see in the rearview mirror two little blond ponytails, bobbing up and down in time to the music. I turn around and see her clapping her hands, kicking her feet, and jigging for all she's worth in her carseat.

Yeah, "Shock the Monkey" is pretty good, baby girl. But just wait until you hear "Sledgehammer."


Ann-Marie said...

Houghton 4W? So, I'm guessing they made you take the stairs all the time? I'm a Houghton 9 Wester, myself, and if there were enough of us upper floor dwellers on the elevator, anyone living on Floors 5 and below were told, "Take the stairs!"

Ah, dorm life!

Every student must have to go through at least one obnoxious RA (I know I did!). Sounds like your roommate was an absolute gem.

Alice said...

Yeah, I lived on 4W and 5W--stairs ALWAYS. Then I moved over to Smith because there were bathrooms in each room and AC. Oh, and TV on our floor. What luxury!

Ann-Marie said...

Yes, the lack of AC in Houghton made me appreciate that there were only two or three hot months before winter.

Not a big fan of the shared bathrooms, either!

You Smith girl, you!

Alysa said...

aaahhhhhh, perhaps the greatest moody story ever -what ever happened to Tonya? very, very funny.

Missy said...

Oh Alice...that's SO Tonya!
Don't you remember the morning she had me come in and wake her up...she had no more cuts for English - and if she overslept, she'd lose a grade.
I woke her up (or tried) and tried and tried...and she kept saying "unghh)...and finally sat up and said "Go away!" and flung herself back down. I got mad and said FINE! and left...and 2 minutes later Tonya came racing out trying to get ready...

she is more of a morning person now...with 4 kids...she has to be. She said God is taking revenge on her!
:-) But your story brought back memories....wonder whatever happened to TR? *(that is the RA you mean?)