Saturday, September 12, 2009

Mom, Porpoises Were Bound to Come Up.

This post is probably one of the most random I've ever had cause to write. It's also a few weeks off, but hey, college.

I don't know if you could call it a college road trip tale, but it was a trip to college. That's 5 and a half hours of quality car time with my mother.

Let me tell you a story.

It's a trip, so things are going to go wrong. Maybe in this case, so wrong it's right. About half an hour out and we discover that the iPod speakers aren't charged. Now, I was armed with my iPod and headphones anyway because I don't particularly enjoy my mom's music, which tends towards the extra folky, feminist-type style. But I'd choose that over what we got any day.

We're on the way to Pittsburgh and subject to hours of good ole pan-and-scan radio. That's through Western Pennsylvania.

What does that mean? Some weird shit. And a hell of a lot of country.

I think I've had some of the weirdest conversations of my life in those few hours. It's funny how a certain song or sight sparks a conversation. And also leads you to strange and comical places.

Conversation #1: Alison Sees a Boy with a Dog By the Side of the Highway

A: "There's a boy playing with a dog."

M: "How Americana."

A: "It was a German Shepard."

Conversation #2: Alison Stops Scan on a Kings of Leon Song

A: "Oh, wait. This is Kings of Leon. This station might be good. It might not, though, they've recently crossed over."

Radio: That was Kings of Leon, and now, Lady Gaga!

M: *Eyes*

A: "Okay, yeah."

Conversation #3: 70's Porn Music

M: "God. That sounded like something from a 70's porn movie."

Alison hears "Porpoise" in there somewhere. Pictures Porpoise with 70's pornstache.

M: "That was pretty bad."

Alison tries not to giggle.


A: "You don't even understand why that was so funny. I need help."

I so do.

There's something about my brain that just has to put things together. But I guess it runs in the family.

Maybe that's just one more lesson learned. The other? The hits of great bands are not always the best of the best. But you knew that. I think I heard the Kings of Leon's "Use Somebody" about 400 times on that trip. Don't they know that "Closer" is loads better? It's about vampires. Even "Sex On Fire" lends itself for Eric Northman mistaken identity. (Racerback.) I've done this at least twice.

Pan-and-scan is good for one thing, and one thing only: Amusement at the absurdity.

In the same block I heard a radio ad for an event that was described as fun for everyone, and I quote, "country to rock to clowns and magicians." Those clowns know how to party.

But the best radio find had to be this gem from the 80's. Yeah. That's right. "Sunglasses at Night." Please watch this video. It's even better than the song itself. The earrings. The lady cop uniforms. The singing into pay phones. Random thy name is Corey Hart.

The country, the swinging 80's hits and synthesizers, it was a little excruciating. But at least I have a story to tell.

One thing's for sure, I didn't expect the "Porpoise" conversation to come so soon. I should have known. A 6-hour drive. I guess porpoises were bound to come up.


  1. please tell me that you knew of sunglasses at night before this road trip.

  2. I did not. My mom did. She laughed when it came on. I'm not up on the 80's hits, my friend. Let me hide my shame.


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