Monday, April 29, 2013

Me Gotta Go Now

The weekend I turned seventeen, my friend Chris, her boyfriend, Fra, my then-boyfriend, Louie, and I went for fondue at St. Gregory's. While we were switching through the radio stations on our way to the restaurant, we heard the song "Louie Louie." I love that song, so I'm sure we left it on, but I don't remember the exact circumstances surrounding our listening to it. We either got to the restaurant before the song ended or switched radio stations as soon it was over, and the reason I still know that now, more than 20 years later, is that it wasn't until later in the night that we realized "Louie Louie" was the only song being played on that radio station at all. After dinner as we drove in whatever direction we were headed (most likely toward the beach or down US-1), we heard it again.

Hey! "Louie Louie" is on again! I said.That was in 1992, back before the days of on-demand anything, and to hear a song twice in one night that I liked but barely ever heard demanded notice.

I think they're having some sort of "Louie Louie" celebration because I heard this song earlier today, too, Chris said. We definitely didn't change the radio station that time, and as a result, we heard "Louie Louie" over and over and over again.

It turned out that a new radio station had come to South Florida, and to mark its beginning, "Louie Louie" was played twenty-four hours a day, three days in a row.

ALL LOUIE ALL THE TIME, the DJs exclaimed for three days straight. Since my boyfriend's name was Louie and I was seventeen and a fucking idiot, I thought it was the neatest thing ever.

Did you know there are over 1,000 versions of that song?

Well, there are.

I didn't hear them all that weekend, but I heard plenty, among them The Kingsmen's original version, a big band version, a marching band version, a gospel version, a country version, and a metal version by Motorhead. (I know there were more, but  in my old age, those are all the versions I can remember.)

I remember Louie saying, I've never been so sick of hearing my own name because, as we all know, I'm a crazy person and being a crazy person, I refused to change the radio station.

After the first few hours of ALL LOUIE ALL THE TIME, of course the song got kind of tiresome, but no matter how tiresome it became, I just could not bring myself to turn it off. Maybe it was because the song playing over and over shared my boyfriend's name, maybe it was because the experience was just so surreal that I didn't dare interrupt it, or maybe it was because I have a tendency to get attached to certain things and can't bear for them to be away, but despite the protests of whomever happened to be around me that weekend (mostly poor Louie), I kept the Louie Louie station on around the clock.

For three days straight, I heard, in part, this:

Me catch a ship across the sea
Me sail the ship all alone
Me never think how I'll make it home

Funny how life works.


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