I have a fraught relationship with music and driving. I mean, of course I love music and I listen to it constantly when I’m in the car (no dry talk radio here). But I seem to have an uncanny knack for finding myself in trouble just as a song’s playing that’d make you go, “and isn’t that ironic, don’tcha think?” (I will pause now for you all to wail along to Alanis’s logic-flawed but bellow-perfect chorus.)
Back? Feel refreshed? Excellent. Onward!
Example 1: I was about 10 years old and my mom was driving the twins and me somewhere on the highway. We’re grooving to “Roxanne” (the meaning of which utterly escaped me for another 4 years or so, I’m happy to say), when suddenly, sirens, lights, and we’re on the side of the road. Mom has a short conversation with the police officer, who probably lectures her on speeding while transporting her “precious cargo” (this phrase has actually been used in reference to child passengers, ew). And then as soon as the police officer turned back to his car I make it SO MUCH BETTER by saying, with utter lack of facetiousness, “Mom! Mom! Isn’t it funny that The Police were on the radio, and the police just came to our car? Mom, isn’t that hilarious?” I do not think she found it hilarious.
Example 2: The universe got me back about 7 years later. I was a few days shy of my 17th birthday, when my driver’s license would go from temporary to permanent. I was driving around my hometown, hand delivering invitations to my 17th birthday party, which was to be in the theme of the original Star Wars. (Raise your hand if you’re surprised that this is the kind of party I would throw.) I slowed down for what seemed a respectable amount of time at a stop sign on a residential street and carried on to a main street, where I was promptly pulled over for not stopping at a stop sign. My first ticket, my first time crying in front of a cop, and what’s on the radio? “Free Bird.” No joke.
Our latest example came last night, an instance of Instant Karma Gone Wrong. It was pouring on my walk home from the train station, and I passed a woman giving terrible directions to a couple of guys with guitars and travel backpacks. I corrected the directions after the woman walked away, but when they said thanks and they’d start walking now, I said, wait, that’s almost 3 miles away, let me give you a ride. So I drove them to their friend’s house and wished them well. On my way back to my house, rain drummed on the roof, the radio played “Classical Gas” (that instrumental that is clearly made for cruising along in a car), and I started to plan dinner in my head. Then I heard a rumble and it wasn’t thunder. My front left tire blew out, and I rolled along as the wheel moved farther and farther off its axle, til I got to a tire place that was actually open. They fixed it quickly and I headed home, $60 poorer and wary of any song even remotely referencing driving, or freedom, or law enforcement.
Next time I hear “Crash and Burn” by the Bangles on my car radio, I’m pulling to the side of the road and just running.