Oldest, 6. Youngest two, 3.
When Van Halen comes on the radio, it’s hard not to feel cool: Even if you’re a goober.
My wife was in the passenger seat and our twins were safely buckled up in their car seats behind us. We were on our way to a friend’s house, but needed to stop by the mall to make a payment at one of the stores.
It was a nice, warm, summer day and the windows were down. One of the kid-CDs was playing – as it was every time we got in the car. As we approached the stop light, the CD recycled itself back to track one. To be honest, we listened to the CD so often; it really never stops playing in my head. I quickly clicked over to the radio before anybody noticed. The light turned green and we pulled into the mall parking lot just as a Van Halen song came on: “Ain’t Talking About Love”.
Instinctively, I turned it up. I was 17 when that album came out – it’s in my DNA.
We approached the front entrance. Eddie’s guitar started churning. I turned it up.
My wife got out, closed her door, and went inside the store. David Lee Roth started snarling.
I turned it up again – my twins stopped what they were doing and looked blankly at me in the rearview mirror. I brought the car to a stop, just past the front doors; all the while playing guitar with my thumb and finger holding an invisible pick. I won’t say that I could ever keep up with Eddie on the electric guitar, but I do play a mean Steering Wheel.
“Ain’t talkin bout love!”
I was feeling cool.
“My love is rotten to the core.”
“Ain’t talkin bout love
Just like I told you before – be-fore, be-fore, be-fore!”
Just as Eddie ripped into his solo, I looked out from my chamber of cool-ness and saw something that startled me. We were parked in front of a long row of tall, darkened – very reflective – store windows. What I saw staring back at me was not something I envisioned as a 17-year-old. Me: behind the wheel of a silver station wagon, loaded with twin car seats. It was anything but cool.
My danger-level plummeted. I thought I heard David Lee snicker.
When my wife got back in the car, the kid CD was playing – again.
“I thought you were tired of listening that,” she said.
“I’m kinda getting used to it,” I said. (Truth be told; the guy on track 9 lays down an awesome steering wheel solo.)
Sorry – got to go. More later.