I am often told by Spaniards, experts on all things American, that Americans only eat hamburgers and pizza (they obviously never heard of Taco Bell). I think that makes me un-American because I eat maybe one or two hamburgers a year (and have never been to Taco Bell before), but last night was one of those hamburgers. For no reason whatsoever, I felt for a good burger. Because even a decent burger is hard to come by in Spain, I opted for the only mediocre burger joint in town — Hard Rock Cafe. Hard Rock was a mistake: while my stomach still hurts from the over-sized burger, my head still aches from the annoyingly loud music.
The music was so loud, in fact, that I could barely hold a conversation, let a lone enjoy the joyless pseudo-rock lovers ambiance. As you can imagine, the place was plagued with American and British ex-pats and tourists looking for an overlit, obnoxious drinking den populated by chubby-legged short skirt wearing waitresses and mid-level students of the English language waiters.
Then out of all of the noise, distortion, E.S.O.L., rosy beer-bellied Brits and obese “Oh, my God” Americans, arose “Silent Lucidity“, the only commercially successful song by Queensrÿche. Perhaps it was the fact that I had just gone to see the high school film Juno or that “Silent Lucidity” came out in 1990, my first year of college, that I got to reflecting.
I have already spent seven and a half years living in Spain — that’s almost twice the time I spent in college. And I only spent two years living in the dorms where I’d stay up all night with my eclectic group of buddies discussing scatology (and that great debate between scatology v. eschatology) and listening to better Queensrÿche albums like Operation Mindcrime.
Back in 1990 I would have been confident that by 2008 I would have had things pretty figured out. But there in some cheesie Hard Rock Cafe, an 80s throw back in itself that feels more like a Chuck E Cheese’s for ex-pat cheese balls, “Silent Lucidity” offered me a momentary break in the noise and lack of clarity. Could 18 years have gone by already since “Silent Lucidity’s” release? What am I going to do when I get older, because I ain’t getting any younger? Then the music changed, and shortly thereafter, I had a stomach ache.