So you wait and wait and wait
Mi abuelita* would have adored American Idol, in fact, she pioneered a ghetto living room version of the show in the 50s. Every now and again, starting with her eight children and then later with their progeny, she'd stage talent shows in the living room and rate the performances. She wasn't a Simon or even a Paula; she blatantly played favorites and based her decisions on whimsy rather than talent. Which is why my hilarious but practically tone deaf cousin Alejandra usually won. I always weaseled out of participating**; I was a reader not a performer. It was more fun to watch.
One day, during one of my yearly childhood visits to Chile, we were alone at her house and she asked me to sing her a song. I chose a number from an import tape I'd bought from back home: a girl singer from swinging 60s England who teamed up with the Reid brothers and Morrissey/Marr for a late 80s comeback.
Song to seek:
Girl Don't Come/Sandie Shaw (mp3)
Buy The Very Best of Sandie Shaw by Sandie Shaw.
Girl Don't Come isn't the song I warbled*** but maybe I should have, it's my favorite of hers. Shaw's vocal manages to be both chiding AND sympathetic. It's almost as if that tsk tsk narrative tone comes from having been stood up herself many times before and being way past the experience, coolly observing the humiliation from a distance. Perhaps she's learned not to even bother trying anymore. A familiar sounding attitude, no?
* * *
Despite my best attempt at a heartbreak quaver, Grandma shrugged it off with a proto-"it was a'ight Dawg...not your best performance." She asked me if I wanted un tesito before her telenovela. I accepted and went back to my book.
* Never met my paternal grandmother. She disappeared or was made to disappear. That's all I know.
** I found out that moms perfected the talent show slipperoo when she was an adolescent. Well played, mami, well played.
*** It was the Reid bros. number, Cool About You.