The year was 2000, and the Mayne family clan was off for another trek in the Washington woods to take part in the great out doors. Camping is a supposedly “fun” activity, but not when done in the Northwest. For my family it consisted of driving a really long way to a patch of woods that was strikingly similar to our own backyard, for an uncomfortable nights sleep in a soggy tent. We could have just stepped off our porch, lit some pine cones on fire and officially be camping, but there was apparently something more special about waiting 2 hours via car ride for this to happen, that appealed to my family. There was always the packing of an un-Godly amount of goods to ensure our survival: a barrage of tents, tarps, sleeping bags, sleeping bag bags, sleeping mats, air mattresses, air mattress pumps, food, food bins, things to cook food in, plates for food, kids to eat the food, and toilet paper to… well, you get it. We would spend hours packing all this junk into a minivan then set off for the “fun.”
This particular camping trip was the age of the discman, when Pop music was running rampant and tweens everywhere where trying to hold still so they could hear every beat of those hits without them skipping. Myself, a recent 6th grader, had just discovered a young singer by the name of Britney Spears. Every song from “…Baby One More Time” to “E-mail My Heart” were engrained into my head and on constant repeat on my boom box.
We arrived to our campsite at last, then proceeded to do an hours worth of set up. My older sister who had brought her best friend Bethany, set their tent up, then swiftly made it clear to me that I would not be sleeping in it. I was crushed. Partly because I liked to be included, but largely because Bethany always came with a guaranteed mother load of candy, teen Pop music, and Bubblicious gum. This time however, it was especially disheartening because she boasted of being in possession of a new album by THE Britney Spears. I of course had not heard it yet, because I had no wheels to get to the record store, and all computers were good for in that day was aol and playing Oregon Trail.
I burned with longing to hear what magic Britney would unveil with this recent creation.
I writhed with my begotten circumstance as I watched the two girls, discman in hand, disappear behind a zippered door. I sat outside the door to the tent like a sad wet puppy, being careful to not alert them to my presence. The crinkling of candy wrappers and tittering about Hanson brothers, was almost too much to bare though.
“Um, guys?” I bleated. “Can I hear your new Britney Spears cd?”
“…NO!!” in unison resounded from the tent and followed by a barrage of various “Aubrey go away, you’re weird” type statements.
I was weird, and a little sister to boot, but that wasn’t going to stand in between me and my eardrums hearing the sweet rhythm and beats that Britney had for me. I beseeched my mom to make them include me but was denied because “my sister and her friend should be able to have some privacy and to not always be tagging along and blah blah blah… some other crazy talk.”
I went back to my spot outside the door. “Hey guys, it me again, Aubrey, outside your tent…do you think I could just come in and listen to one song, then I will TOTALLY leave you alone and do my own thing?” Then I went on to list my admirable qualities, and what I thought I could contribute to the group. I was swiftly shot down again, yet this time, to my chagrin, they decided to taunt me.
“Let’s listen to this awesome new Britney Spears cd!” they said to one another. “‘Cept lets put it on the headphones, so Aubrey can’t hear it!” “Hooray,” they thought, “we have foiled her and all her little sister advances.”
Little did they know I was super pathetic, and had mildly resourceful ears so when the treble from those foam headphones snuck its way through that nylon tent and into my ears, I had won. “Oops!… I Did It Again” was heard by my very ears. It didn’t even matter to me that most of what I heard sounded like “Cchh Cchh Tsst Tsst Cchh chhh ttsstt psh!” They were Britney’s Cchhs Tssts and pshs.
The fact that I was already camping in Washington could have been the thing that was wrong with this story, but this torture of withholding Pop music from a 12 year old was far worse. I’m glad I made it out of those woods sane.
(And maybe I snuck in and listened to the cd while they were on a nature walk later…)