Car Songs

I’m pretty excited about this:

I bought a ticket to see Springsteen.  Something is telling me I don’t have a choice about this one.  I absolutely can not afford it.  It’s fully twice the maximum amount I’ve ever paid for a concert, and that does not include the missed hours at work, or gas, or lodging.  I’m driving to Charlottesville.  On a Tuesday.

It’s the car songs, people.

I wouldn’t even categorize myself entirely as as Springsteen fan:  if I am blasting my Born to Run album heading down the road somewhere, like you have to do on the first part of a road trip, I skip to exactly four songs, every time:  Thunder Road, Night, Born to Run, and Jungleland.  And those four songs are sheer brilliance.  Jungleland, although not actually a car song, is a study in song structure, in expansion and release; Born to Run of course is a classic American anthem.  Night is one I’m sure I heard growing up, but it never registered with me until I bought a turntable this spring and heard it on vinyl, and it’s worth listening to about six times in a row even if you have to keep moving the needle.  It makes me want to quit my job and take up drag racing.  Or maybe be that girl on the tracks down by the river who waves the flag to start things off.  I haven’t worked it all out yet.  I skip pretty much everything else; most of it doesn’t resonate with me, but the car songs…the car songs make me completely irrational.

Hearing Bruce sing Thunder Road, specifically, is what’s on my Life List, so heaven help him if he doesn’t do it that night.  I can’t afford to see him again.  But, as I’ve written more times than is sane or healthy, it’s Thunder Road that I need to hear, even if he skips all the rest.  I need to hear him say, “so you’re scared and you’re thinkin’ that maybe we ain’t that young anymore…show a little faith, there’s magic in the night.”  Because deep down, I still believe in that.  That it’s not too late for any of us; that what’s holding us back is just our own fears, and that there may be a lot of magic in taking a deep breath and reaching out for someone’s outstretched hand, and saying yes, and climbing in.

Good heavens.  You can keep your fairy tale prince fantasies; that does nothing for me, but play me a car song and I am weak in the knees.  One of these days I could be entirely swept away by the first handsome man who shows up at my front porch with a fast car and a guitar, and we’ll blow out of here in a cloud of dust with the windows down and the radio blaring. Maybe just for a little while.  We’ll send you a postcard from down the road.

Until then, Bruce had better come through for me.  I can’t even explain why this feels important, right this minute, but it does.  You have to pay attention when something suddenly feels important, even when you don’t understand it.  I anted up.  I bought a ticket.  I’m going.

I suspect this particular investment is one I won’t regret.

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