Thursday, September 10, 2009

Forget about clean underwear, if you're in mangled in a horrible accident, your playlist is all that really matters.

Most people relate certain songs to certain points in their lives - high school dances or college parties or holidays or their parents. Much like my uncanny ability to remember exactly what I was wearing while getting hurt, I also remember every song that was playing while I was getting pulled over for speeding.

For your consideration:
March 1984 - Chambers & Colfax - 1974 Plymouth Duster - 45 in a 30. J. Giles Band: "Freeze Frame." (Was ditching school at the time, and had somehow, magically, actually asked my mom's permission to do so. Which was awesome because she said YES, which was a damned good thing because when you're under 18 you have to take your mom to court with you when you get a ticket and it woulda been awful hard to explain why I got a ticket 35 miles from English class. I digress.)
April 1985 - State Hwy 79 - my friend Karyn's '75 Le Mans. 98 in a 55. Prince: "Delirious."
June 1986 - State Hwy 36 - Again, the Duster. 7am. Howard Jones: "Like to Get to Know you Well"
July 1987 - Canyon Blvd., Boulder, CO. 1980 Mustang. 75 in a 30. Orchestral Maneuvers in Dark: "Locomotion."

And so on. This was only a sampling of my offenses, I was quite speedy as a youngster.

I think that patrol officers should be required to ask you what you were listening to and record it on the ticket so that later on in court, you can plead, "FUNKY" or "DANCEY" or whatever. "You know how fast you were going? What were you listening to, "Hot for Teacher" or something?" Because really? It is not MY fault that Prince was getting me all worked up like that. Duh. It is Prince's fault. And there's not a judge in the world that would try a person for speeding, with the windows down, on a boring highway...once they knew said person was bopping to "girlyougottatakemeforalittlerideupanddowninandoutaroundyolegsigetdelirious."

Along the same lines, if I'm ever in a fatal accident, I'd really like someone to carefully comb through the wreckage and figure out if I was listening to a CD or the radio. If the radio, please figure out what station and contact them for that day's playlist. Carefully coordinate with investigators and program directors to determine the exact time of the crash and discover the last song I ever listened to. I will do this should anyone I care about die in a car. Because I would HAVE to know. Were you careening out of control to Celine Dion? Because that would be totally uncool. Were you lulled to sleep by Sade and flew down the embankment totally at alto-induced peace? Or were you thumping your foot on the brake, jamming to the Phil Collins' drum solo in In the Air when you were rear-ended by a semi?

It is for this reason that whenever I drive treacherous roads (which is pretty muchly every Thursday of the winter) that I only listen to totally hip CDs. If I am to be found splattered across the highway and/or embankment, I want the people scraping up my innards to be impressed. "Wow. She was a shitty driver, but for a 42-year-old she was into some sweet tunes!" If, for some reason on Thursdays I'm feeling all high schooley and take along REO Speedwagon-Hi Infidelity, the Best of Rick Springfield and Pat Benetar's Crimes of Passion...well, you won't know it unless there's a hell of an impact because I totally sneakily put the disks in different cases. Or hide them when on the slippery-cliffy parts of the road.

The other reason I keep a good selection of cool music in the car is in case I'm at a stoplight and a limousine pulls up next to me. If I am not listening to cool music when there's a limousine next to me, and say, just for example, I'm listening to "Wait, Wait, Don't Tell Me" on NPR or I don't know... "Total Eclipse of the Heart" by Bonnie Tyler... Well, that's when my awesome acting and lip synching skills come into play. It's important to look like I'm singing something really current and with very few words. That way, if the limo contains say, Mick Jagger looking for a new background talent, or Steven Spielberg looking for the next middle-aged hot chick to play the wise-cracking mother of Shea Lebeuf, then I'm all ready for my closeup.

Did you know Edie Brickell was totally just a normal person who sang outloud in front of someone famous accidentally in a bar one night and NOW SHE'S MARRIED TO PAUL SIMON? I know, right? That's why you must always be prepared when a limo is next to you.


  1. 1972 Buick Skylark, Iowa City, IA (University of Iowa campus, 1985) - Scritti Politti "Perfect Way" playing on the GHETTO BLASTER in the front seat. Now technically this was not a speeding ticket example but it was the song that was playing right before the car broke down in front of Burge residence hall. In front of all the cute freshman boys. 1981 maroon Honda Prelude, I-80 (also in 1985) Dire Straits "Money For Nothin'". I can't remember my actual speed but it was something like 20 miles an hour faster than I was supposed to be going on the interstate. God, I suddenly want to go get in my car and drive fast and listen to Rick Springfield. I bet if you start driving East from Colorado and I start driving West from Iowa we could both get a ticket by midnight. Awesome!!!

  2. Oh my gosh! I was laughing so hard I was crying and then had to stop and wipe the tears to finish. Then I got to Tracey's reply and it started all over again. You two are both very talented writers and I would buy anything you wrote.

    Back to the topic... This probably makes me sound like a goody-two-shoes but I have NEVER gotten a ticket or been in an accident in my whole life. (Knock on wood)

  3. Tracey...put all your best cassettes in the ghetto blaster, fill up a cooler and let's make a plan to drive as fast as we can to Jules' house!

  4. Girl, you rock. Literally and figuratively. I remember a college housemate who drove like a maniac. He would give me rides to the library on campus, his whole car shaking with Prince beats, and when we got there we would dance for an hour on the top of his car blasting Prince, before going inside to read John Locke or somebody. People would stream out of the library at 8 a.m and join us dancing.

  5. Memories, music and the illusion of immortality behind the wheel... brilliant!

    En route to visit a bunch of college friends, in not-my-father's Oldsmobile, 81 in a 45mph. The culprit: Depeche Mode. I was having such a good time, too.

    In case you haven't seen it, the literal video version of Total Eclipse of the Heart is brilliant. Will you laugh til you're incontinent? It Depends.



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