What is Love on the Drive to Monterey?

Driving down to Monterey with my CD player going the whole way, I listened to the oldies but goodies — the Beatles, James Taylor, and Kenny G. Back in the olden days, before the internet, ipods, and all that, we would put on a record and listen to the whole thing — the number one hits, the side B songs, and all the rest. It didn’t matter if we had to hear eight songs before the best one came on.  We practiced deferred gratification. We knew if we listened long enough, that great best song would come on.

These days are not like that. Everyone has their own playlist and only listens to the hits. I have to say, I am even sick of Uptown Funk. It has been played to death.  There’s not an eight-song wait of anticipation. Sometimes the deejays cut off the introduction, which is the best part of the song, where a person can anticipate it coming. Even the deejays can’t wait.

In the 90’s my high school daughter made me a mixed tape version of a CD with Napster before it went belly-up. She downloaded all of my favorite songs, from New York, New York, to Here, There, and Everywhere, to Buttons and Bows.

I found it in my CD case today and put it on.  90’s music is hilarious. What is Love is hilarious. I can see Jim Carrey’s head doing the neck jerk thing on SNL with two others (don’t ask me who).  Watching them bob their heads in unison to What is Love will always be an SNL classic. I imagine those three guys needed chiropractic adjustments the following Monday morning.

The mixed CD had some real classics on it.  I sang along to Mr. Big Stuff, Barry White’s Can’t Get Enough of Your Love, Babe, and Seal’s Kissed by a Rose. Then nostalgia crept in as I remembered those days of carpooling my own and other people’s children as we all belted out Kissed by a Rose together, me singing the loudest.

As I left the connector highway 156 to get to highway 1, I watched out the window for my first peek of the Pacific Ocean. Would it be turquoise today or sapphire blue?  The clouds overhead meant it might be a silvery gray. I looked past the fields and sand dunes and caught my first glimpse – the water was pale shimmering aqua.

The first time I saw the ocean, I was 19 years old. I’d grown up in Iowa and worked one summer in California as a door-to –door book saleswoman selling glorified dictionaries.  It was a hard job, but I made a lot of money and got to see Big Sur, Yosemite, San Francisco, the Nut Tree, and other fun places. We mostly wanted to eat on our Sunday get-togethers, so we hit a lot of buffet places. The sales manager, Herb Somebody, was our biggest cheerleader, getting us to chant and yell about how great it was to work for Southwestern book company.

My childhood friend in Iowa makes fun of me having a house near the beach.

“You don’t even like to swim!” she says.  “And you have a house in Monterey.”

You don’t have to swim in the ocean to appreciate its vastness, to listen to the waves and to hear the seagulls. Being near the sea is peaceful, relaxing, and it slows down the mind, which these days, is a good thing.

It’s funny how two hours of driving and listening to music can clear the cobwebs out of the brain and slow it down to a place where there is room to reminisce, think, and enjoy the art of not constantly changing my activity from minute to minute. I answered no emails, no texts, and no phone calls in that two-hour window.

I just drove.

And sang.

And remembered.

Couldda Wouldda Shouldda

I should’ve given up CD’s long ago, but I am old school, I guess.



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