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Thursday, October 22, 2009

"Call Me" (If You're in AP Calculus)

I loved Blondie as a kid. She was such a badass, and it didn't hurt that "The Tide is High" was the first single I ever owned. My father, who had a secret (ok, not so secret) crush on her, convinced me, age 5, that it was exactly what I wanted when we went to the record store. That single, in addition to "Hit Me With Your Best Shot" by Pat Benatar (which my brother, Sudhu and sister, Munni informed me I also loved), paved the way for my love of music, addiction to anything MTV and my adoration of women rockers who really knew how to sing like badasses while still looking pretty.

Call me - on the line

Call me call me any, anytime

Call me - my love
you can call me any day or night

The irony of my father introducing me to the early punk influence of Blondie, and her invitation to "Call me" made me hopeful that I would one day have someone I could breathily tell to "call me" while wearing a tight leather black dress and tips in my hair.

But as I grew older, I realized that I would never really be able to tell some guy to "Call Me" while trouncing in around in my punk black outfit and blonde hair with the black tips because:

a) I did not have blonde hair
b) I wouldn't be able to leave the house dressed like Blondie
c) I would later learn that guys did not want to call my house

The first two obstacles to my dreams of being Blondie, later Madonna, were obvious. But the third point is one that hit home hardest for me.

Let's just say I was no vixen in High School. Hard wired to be more dork than diva, I never really got past my awkwardness around the opposite sex or really anybody. I had friends, was not a social pariah - but I was definitely not the girl inspiring a stampede of men in the locker lined hallways.

But even then, I think I may have been able to have some luck with the opposite sex, HAD IT NOT BEEN FOR MY FATHER.

If I was out with my father and ran into male friends or classmates while we were out, when I would make the introductions, my father would stoically look them up and down and then pretty much ignore them. When I finally did start dating a really nice guy named Michael after graduating from high school, the first few times I brought him home to meet my family, I am pretty sure my father again a) ignored him and b) walked away from him in the middle of Michael's sentences - more than once.

My father, usually such a teddy bear, was just TOUGH when it came to his youngest daughter having any dealings with the opposite sex. If guys would call the house, they needed to have a story to call - you couldn't just call me because you wanted to chat. There would be a thorough screening and investigation to ensure that motive, intention, last two semester GPAs and college entry potential were all up to snuff.

Let's imagine that a guy was calling my house. The subtle inflections and pauses in my father's side of the conversation always hinted at his own hidden agenda during the conversation. One of these conversation would sound something like this:

Unsuspecting Boy: Hello - is Kiran there?

My father: Yes. Who is calling? (Hidden meaning - If your name isn't Sanjay or Rajiv, don't call again).

Unsuspecting Boy: This is Ben*

My father: And what do you want to talk to her about Ben? Hmmm? (Hidden meaning - last I checked, Ben wasn't short for Vijay so you better be quick)

Unsuspecting Boy (Now becoming Uncomfortable Boy): Um . . . . School?

My father: Do you want to talk about Math? Are you in her math class? (Hidden meaning - your name may not be Manish - but I can at least find out a) what level Math you're in and b) if you want to talk about homework or something FAR MORE sinister)

Uncomfortable Boy: Um . . .yes. I am in her Math class. And . . .um . . . I have a question about homework.

My father: Oh good. And what Math class are you in again?

Uncomfortable Boy: Um. AP Calculus?

My father: Wrong! Kiran isn't in AP Calculus. (Oops). Oh look, it looks like she's not home right now. I'll tell her you called (never). I'm sure she'll call you tonight (when pigs fly).


And with that innocent "Unsuspecting Boy" morphed into "Uncomfortable Boy" who was so disenchanted (or just scared) by the end of the conversation that he became "Boy Who Would Never Call Again."

Things like that happened more than I cared to admit - in the end it was easier to just avoid it all so I stayed focused on just getting the heck out of dodge so I could go away to school and just dealt during high school. Truth be told - it wasn't like the guys were banging down the doors anyway ;-)

But when my father brought me that first taste of Blondie, he should have known better. He opened up a can of worms and while I may have bided my time in high school, it was only a matter of time before the inner Debbie Harry was unleashed.

Because . . .

I'm not the kind of girl
Who gives up just like that
Oh no . . . .

*all names have been changed to protect the innocent (well, except Michael's because I still give my father crap about that).


Glennon said...

funniest yet. poor ben *.

Glennon said...

i had to comment again because i cant get the title of this post OUT OF MY HEAD. CALL ME ifyou'reinapcalculus. can't STAND IT. hilarious.

Anonymous said...

Great piece, Kiran! :)--Mona Banerji, WLP 1996

Anonymous said...

My friend and I were recently talking about how we as a society are so hooked onto electronics. Reading this post makes me think back to that discussion we had, and just how inseparable from electronics we have all become.

I don't mean this in a bad way, of course! Societal concerns aside... I just hope that as technology further innovates, the possibility of downloading our brains onto a digital medium becomes a true reality. It's a fantasy that I dream about all the time.

(Posted on Nintendo DS running [url=]R4[/url] DS NetBrowze)

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