I spent the summer of 2007 working at a bank, living at home, and hoarding all my money for my impending semester abroad. As a floater teller for a local bank, I bounced between the eight or so branches being, well, a teller.
Seven years later, all I remember is a drunk homeless guy coming into a branch, drinking all our coffee, telling us Starbucks has better coffee (because they were our direct competition, duh), and then leaving in an almost literal tornado of straws that his trenchcoat had knocked over. I also played lots and lots of Minesweeper until my permissions were revoked, and on occasion pretended that the money I shuffled through the automatic cash counting machines was mine.
For some reason the song that not only sticks out in my memory from that summer, and then months beyond, is the “Wipe Me Down” remix.
In short, I was a wee young ratchet, before I knew what the word “ratchet” even meant.*
That following semester–once I ditched my Minesweeper duties–found me halfway around the world. In Rome we were part of the doe-eyed, confused Americans that were sitting in the courtyard that was tucked in the middle of John Cabot University. Our disorientation stemmed from the sheer temperature over there because it was hotter than Dante’s Inferno, which was only exacerbated by that language barrier thing.
I did what I could, though, taking some Italian classes before leaving. I was by no means fluent, but I could hold a basic conversation. I had studied Spanish for years, so that allowed me to pick up Italiano.
One of my prouder moments came early on. On the long walk home, I stopped off at this hardware store and somehow communicated enough rudimentary Italian that the old man was able to understand that I needed a power converter. Obviously, I walked out of that store and hit that “shoulders, chest, pants, shoes.”
Nah, not really, but I probably did celebrate with gelato because our favorite store was practically next door. All the cute Italian guys would give us girls heaping mountains of whatever we wanted. It was nothing short of glorious.
I also like to think that besides the obvious changes that studying abroad gave me, it really introduced me to clubbing, and that whole lifestyle. For as much of a square that I am, I’m always down to try new things and open up my little world, and I have to admit I loved just about everything about clubbing. Taking the time to get all pretty, rolling up with my name on the list, and dancing all night long. I still cringe thinking about how I spent 15 euros on one drink, though, and didn’t think anything of it.
It’s not like the Italians that I ran into were messing with Boosie. Or really any street rappers. Plus, nothing about “Wipe Me Down” really applied to my life in Italy, or back home. I will say, though, that the hoes they rap about sound as thirsty as all those Italians who’d purposely hit the clubs catered to American students, and that us ladies would spend forever getting ready for the evening and feel like hot sh*t when we pulled up to the club.
Instead, whenever that song played through my computer, or headphones, or whatever, it was more of a welcoming, comforting thing to listen to, along with eating pizza, pasta or gelato, and drinking cappuccini or vino. I don’t remember, but I’m fairly confident that I never actually heard it in any clubs there.
* — I’m not really a ratchet, but I have been accused of having THOT tendencies on a couple occasions by dear old Gotty for some alleged thirsty comments I may or may not have made toward a particular rapper (or two) in our group email threads.