one benefit of growing old – the memories
A couple of days ago I realized that I remember the very beginning of the Spice Girls.
I was eleven at the time, and going to school in a village half an hour’s drive away from Oxford, UK. The school had beautiful grounds and an recess-outside policy. So every time the teacher would announce a break, the following would happen: 1) spontaneous fission of girls into groups of five; 2) yelled-out bench auctions; 3) frantic running about – and then the show would begin.
Imagine your typical 1997 eleven-year-old British girl. Now imagine five of them. Imagine them standing on a bench in the school yard and screaming ‘SO TELL ME WHAT YOU WANT WHAT YOU REALLY REALLY WANT’ on the top of their relatively spacious lungs. They had this whole routine worked out: there was an elaborate sequence of jumps on and off the bench, exclamations and shout-outs as each ‘Spice’ presented herself, and ultimately – heaps of glee.
They took this very seriously, those girls. They took it seriously every single recess for the three months I was there. Seriously enough to have fights over the unlawful use of benches and to have memorized all the lyrics and all the steps from all the videos the Spice Girls were popping out. Actually, I tell a lie; there probably weren’t so many. At least, my pop-conscious classmates only had two or three routines.
So when it was time to leave, I, the reserved child who had only listened to music my parents had picked out prior to that, knew the phrase ‘I really really really wanna zig-a-zig-AHHH’ so well that it has stayed with me to this day. And then soon after we returned to Lithuania, there appeared Britney Spears. If pushed, I may still remember the dance we created to ‘Hit Me Baby One More Time’.