01 August 2006

United in Voice

There was background music, I remember, in the store. I don't recall the tempos, the artists or the lyrics but I'm certain there was music.

Then, as I flipped through rows of denim, the unmistakable sound of Queen's "Somebody to Love" came soaring through the store. It wasn't any louder than its predecessors but something about the song cut through the aisles and wrapped itself around my ankles. I couldn't resist singing along softly.

There was an older, African-American woman across the racks from me, and she was singing, too. As was the kid restocking tried-on-but-refused garments, a young mother pushing two toddlers in a stroller and a heavily tattooed Lemay dweller bearing more ink than teeth. Everyone subtly sang along with Freddy Mercury and all paused respectfully but with appreciation during the arena rock, shredding guitar solo.

How did so many different kinds of people know the words to a 20 year old song? Why did everyone feel so comfortable, singing among strangers while shopping for clothes?

After the tune was over, it was like the whole event had never happened. Silence ensued and folks returned to their regularly scheduled conversations, scoldings and, in the case of Tattoo-deep sniffling/snorting.

I can't get it out of my head, not the song and not the experience.