(Originally posted 7/24/2019. Has it really been less than a year? Back when you could travel and Minneapolis wasn’t a burnt husk. Not really a ‘playlist’ but links are provided nonetheless.)
“You had to be there” takes on a whole new meaning when you’re at the intersection of mood and experience. For me it started as a teenager listening to Lake Shore Drive (Aliotta Haynes Jeremiah) while driving on the aforementioned. It sounds so trite to say it but it was transcendent. Windows down, wind in my face, I felt connected to something larger than the road and bigger than myself.
A shared experience perhaps?
Maybe something bigger than that?
This feeling was duplicated driving on Ventura Highway (America) and in New York, New York (Frank Sinatra). Since then I’ve created a sort of bucket list of sorts for driving experiences. Recently I was fortunate enough tick off my number one song/city as I blasted the WKRP Theme song while driving through Cincinnati. Maybe it’s just me but it was special. (Why WKRP? You can read about it here.)
Yesterday I got to cruise down Wilshire Blvd with I Love LA (Randy Newman) pumping out the speakers and it was great. Don’t get me wrong, there have been a few duds ((Don’t Go Back To) Rockville/REM springs to mind) and a few blown opportunities (how did forget to play Viva Las Vegas/Elvis? So regrettable) but overall some of my favorite moments in life have occurred doing something as simple as being in a car listening to music. Being there in that moment, in that location, and letting it wash over me.
What I particularly enjoy is this road has so many more places to take me, physically and emotionally. From the expected elation of Take it Easy (Eagles) in Winslow to the angst of Wichita Lineman (Jimmy Webb) in, you guessed it, Wichita. Mirroring life in all its ups and down.
Why do I mention this?
Well first, to get you to stop worrying about so much about traffic and caring more about what’s on the radio. It’s not just about getting from Point A to Point B, it’s about appreciating every damn minute.
Life is a highway.
And second, and more importantly, today I am in Minneapolis and moments from driving downtown so I can listen to the Mary Tyler Moore theme song. Why? Because I once had a Mary in my life but, like the show, she is no longer on the air. As I pull up to a crowded intersection I will be looking for her. She’ll be the one wearing the woolly cap despite the fact it’s 80 degrees out (she was like that).
And for 52 seconds she’ll be with me. Everyone else around me will be driving. I’ll be having a moment. I might laugh or I might cry but I know I’m going to feel something powerful.
Not bad for a short drive.
I know I left out a ton of famous driving or city songs but they don’t connect to me the same way. Maybe they do to you. So make a fucking list and starting living it out. Make the effort. I guarantee you won’t regret it.
It might create your favorite playlist.
It will improve your drives.
Maybe life is nothing more than deciding what you want playing when you’re in the hearse, because that’s really your only ‘destination’. Everything else is the journey.