American Girl

I don’t remember what I used to think of this song, but a few years ago I saw Silence of the Lambs for the first time. This was something I thought I would never do because for a very long time in my life I was painfully averse to anything deathly or scary, especially movies, and I was under the impression that this was the scariest of all scary movies. Turns out, it’s mostly just incredibly, deeply, marrow-curdlingly creepy. I had never eaten fava beans before but I’m not sure I could stomach them now. Also: this song. Like I said, I don’t know what I used to think of it. But after that scene where what’s her face is driving home at night, in the dark, alone in her car, thumb-drumming on the steering wheel and singing along to it, and Buffalo Bill (do you even know his name, or his game, at that point? I don’t remember) is clearly creepin’ on up behind her in his creeper van—that is where my mind goes when I hear this song, now. And on one hand, it’s great. Driving alone and singing along to whatever’s on the stereo is actually one of my favorite things in life, and seeing that character in that movie have that kind of moment with this song made me love the song, or made me realize I already loved it. But also now every time I hear it, like I did today when I was running errands at lunch and it came on my car radio that miraculously decided to start working after a while of not working, and was still stuck on 97.1 THE RIVER, ATLANTA’S CLASSIC HITS from last time it was working, I am overcome with this total cloud of sickly dread and this OH MY GOD, GIRL, DR. VAN CREEPENSTEIN BACK THERE IS GOING TO KILL YOU, TAKE YOUR TOM PETTY CASSETTE AND GET OUT OF THERE, LIKE SERIOUSLY, YOU COULD MAYBE GUESS HOW HORRIBLE YOUR LIFE IS ABOUT TO BECOME, BUT YOU WOULD BE OFF BY ABOUT 5000% (IT WILL INVOLVE LOTION IN A BASKET) (ALSO A DUDE WHO WANTS TO MAKE AN OUTFIT OUT OF YOUR SKIN) (SORRY FOR THE SPOILERS BUT THIS IS YOUR LIFE) (ALSO ONE DAY YOU WILL END UP ON GREY’S ANATOMY) (YEAH SORRY ABOUT THAT, BUT SERIOUSLY, DON’T GET IN THAT VAN). And that lasts for three minutes, or however long, and then an Aerosmith song comes on and I become filled with a different kind of bad feeling entirely.