Day 1: A song that reminds you of your first car

“And She Was” — Talking Heads



If it was good enough for David Byrne to start a hit song with, it’s good enough to start my 365 Day Challenge, too. As anyone who’s been on the receiving end of a “Hey!” will tell you, it’s a good way to get your attention.

So, a song that reminds me of my first car…

Ah, that first car. I didn’t own it, but I drove it for so long it seemed like it. What memories! It was a light blue 1982 Chevy Mailbu Classic…

…Station wagon. <insert sound of record needle scratching here>

Now, I realize that I am not the only teen to have suffered the fate of the family wagon. But when you read “Malibu” you might conjure images of the Malibus of the 70’s, when they were powerful and cool.

This car was neither of those. In fact, my friends and I called it the Power Wagon. Because it had none.  You could put your foot to the floor and it would literally take two or three seconds before anything happened. So, despite the name, it was not a classic. At least it didn’t have have the fake wood side panels. Because, y’know, that would have made my friends who drove Mustang GTs really, really jealous. As it was, they were only really jealous.

Or something…

But back to the amenities… Finest vinyl seats money could buy. Useless “air foil” over the back window. And its best “feature”: the windows in the back seat didn’t go down.

That’s right. A car with no air conditioning and the freakin’ back windows don’t go down.

By design!

In my younger days when it was our primary family vehicle, it was not uncommon for those of us in the back seat to lose about 60% of our body weight from sweating. Moaning and dehydration fueled hallucinations were common. Whoever designed that car should be shot. Or better, made to ride in the back seat on a 95 degree day.

At any rate during my senior year of high school, my parents upgraded to a newer, nicer car  and the Power Wagon sort of fell into my hands. And as we all know, when you’re in high school/college and free wheels come your way, you can’t afford to be choosy. You can barely afford gas.

Despite its myriad faults, it did have one redeeming quality: a tape player. (Cassette tapes. Remember those? Anyone under 25 who’s reading this, ask your parents what those were.) Even then, I had a pretty good music collection, so, I made mix tapes. A lot of them.

Fast-forward to junior year of college. I got a co-op job with a thirty minute commute one way. I had one particular feel-good kind of tape and I listened to it over and over, to the point where the tape actually broke. “And She Was” was the first song on side A. David Byrne’s bizarre tale of the girl flying over everything may have been lyrically bizarre, but it was damn catchy.

The world was moving and she was right there with it. And so was I. Dozens of times. So the Power Wagon and “And She Was” kinda go together for me now and likely, forevermore.

And she was.