Whenever I listen to the Indigo Girls, I am transported to a time in my life in which my mind and heart were changing so rapidly, I am not sure that such speeds of transformation are safe for anyone beyond the age of 18. I was away from home for the first time in any permanent way, missing my friends from home like something fierce, and learning to question everything. It is important for me to note, too, that this was a time in my life when my husband did not know me. He is only acquainted with my Indigo Girls incarnation, whom I believe was probably preparing her mind and heart to meet him. Soon.
My friend Sopia was probably the first bona fide IG fan I knew, especially since she had older sisters who probably bought IG albums when they were first released, not just the 1200 curfews - was it 1,200 curfews or many midnight curfews? - and her sisters probably put them on mix tapes for one another, which I still did when I was 18, but only because I was not hip to the newest in CD burning devices.
I had heard the song "Galileo" several times, especially when I was looking at colleges and the inevitable pixie-looking soprano in every college a capella troupe was bound to cover "Galileo." There's always something that grips me about that chorus,
How long 'til my soul gets it right?
It's the rhetorical question of every young woman, I'm sure, who falls for the right guy at the wrong time, or someone very wrong who's conveniently right there when she wants someone. During my first year of college, I was pining after someone whom I was sure walked on water. And after tredding water in one place around this quasi Second Coming, I was bound to tire and sink, and that year I sank to a new depth in my life and could not pull my own anchor for anything. Over and over, in my solace of sleeplessness and eating Saltines for days, I listened to 1200 Curfews. Something about the interplay between Amy Ray and Emily Saliers on that album which is recorded live - their wise narrative, their learned guitar strummings - was so comforting to me.
I was in a play that year with a brilliant senior actress, Shauna, who said she loved "Least Complicated." We bonded over the lyrics as we applied our stage make-up,
The hardest to learn is the least complicated.
It was a long time after my freshman year of college before I could listen to 1200 Curfews without being consumed by memories of that year. Occasionally, I will hear an IG song and it will try to prick my 18 year-old heart, but my heart is not a college girl's heart anymore. It doesn't believe that people walk on water, and it doesn't really have time to lose sleep or even to listen to a whole double decker album. But it's still trying to get it right, and sometimes that involves mastering the least complicated.