I was cruising down the cereal aisle at the grocery store the day before yesterday, lavishing in my moment of freedom (I'd had a sick six-year-old home all week) when I suddenly realized the voice overhead crooning "Bring my baby home" was Melissa Etheridge. And the earth shook under my feet as I realized lesbians had become part of the universal "we" that is muzak.
Because everyone in Fred Meyer between the ages of ten and seventy must know that the "Baby" she was singing about was female, even though the song was about bringing troops home from service and we all know Melissa's baby is raising their twins and Melissa's kids from her first marriage, not wielding a gun or driving a tank in Afghanistan.
Not that I'd doubt Tammy's ability. She seems a sensible, hard-working gal.
But we're there. We're with her. She's us. We're her. And we want her baby home. Her yearning (in the song) is universal, genderless, and boy-oh-boy that's progress.
Remember when all pronouns were "he"? And all people were assumed heterosexual unless accused otherwise? Maybe Melissa is the great uniter we needed socio-politically. I'll buy it. And her holiday CD. And any progress we can get toward a 2010 with less prejudice.
And it was nice to hear a little Melissa. Despite being a fan of sorts (seen her three times in concert and she's the only performer I've seen in concert in twenty years, so that says something besides I need to get out more), I don't get to listen to her very often. Our kids have put a ban on "M" music in their presence: No Melissa, no Madonna, no Mary Chapin Carpenter. No kidding.
On the up-side, they've introduced us to their music (some of which was "our" music: Depeche Mode, Queen, long before they were twinkles in their mothers' eyes), and we like it. It's dark, it's alternative, it reminds me of my bar days...
But it's nice to have some "M" music once in awhile, even when shopping for cereal, and listening to that woman wail.