For the duration of my short life of 40 years, my biggest greatest love has always been music. I played guitar (poorly). I was a listener. My high school sweetheart was a musician. Music has, and still does soothe me in my most stressful of times. When I was pregnant, Voodoo Child (Slight Return) by Jimi Hendrix would actually stop my heartburn. There is no memory I can recall without music.
Do you remember where you were, when you found, Nirvana?
In 1992, my ship was in port in Bahrain. I hated my job. I was locked indoors for 12 hours a day inside a communication “shack” on the ship. A big change from my last ship where I was in “Deck” Divison. Sure, it was long hours of chipping paint, sanding, priming and painting again- Which explains my hate of rust, but I digress. I was outdoors all day. My job was to work on a small boat mounted on a big ship floating in the middle of the ocean. Being in the shack all day made me wish for those days outside, chipping paint.
While our ship was in port in Bahrain, I would go on base to the pool. I’d swim laps, spend an hour in the gym, shower and head to the only club on base. It wasn’t terrible. I had weird hours and worked nights frequently, leaving some days free to get my outdoor fix. I found my routine.
One day at the club, I was standing in line to order my usual shrimp, fries and Miller Lite combo. I was coming off of a night watch so I was there at lunchtime. No sound of the song, “Jump! Jump! Jump!” seeping in from the outside that was the norm on those Bahrain nights. It was just like lunchtime at the local pub. Suddenly, I heard this wonderful sound coming from the TV over the bar across the room. It was not very loud, so I had to leave my place in line and cross the room. The sound was gritty, it was raw, I could feel it; and it was fucking beautiful. I would hear no sound as beautiful years later, when I first heard the sound of my son’s laughter. (Okay, let’s not get carried away here. But that was poetic. I dare you to tell me it’s not.)
I just stood at the bar and watched. I only remember scattered parts of the black and white video, but do I remember just sitting there, listening in awe. At the end of the video, I went to the store and bough the CD. I don’t remember if I even ate that day.
Today, millions of people say hat Nirvana’s music, changed their life. Nirvana re-opened my mind to the world of music for me. I had grown so tired of the new music that was coming out, that all I would listen to is David Bowie, Jimi Hendrix and “old” Metallica. I could finally join the 90’s because the heavens opened up, a chorus of angels sang delivering Nirvana.
Today, I’m going to watch the Nirvana special with my 7 year old son on MTV. I will tell him about the bands, the clothes and the days when MTV used to play music. Of course he will ask about the smoking and if we ever really showered. Maybe he will finally understand the blue flannel shirt I wear while I’m writing. I bought it in 1993 for $5.00. It still looks good on me. I call it my thinking flannel. My little piece of those days gone by, when I had hands that could make a chord on the fret board of a guitar.
It’s a little familiar because when I was his age, my dad made me sit down and watch a documentary about Jimi Hendrix. Some families have religion. We have music, and I’m going to share Nirvana with my son. Here we are now, entertain us.