Monday, February 19, 2007

Perfect moment

Mom picked me up from school every day in the grey station wagon. Its motor had a distinctive sound. I could always pick it out before it came into view, rounding the circular driveway and passing the other moms' cars to pull up to the curb alongside me.

I was proud of the car. It was a new Datsun Maxima, and it spoke. A woman's voice would tell you if the door was open, or remind you to fasten your seatbelt. That was cool. Not as cool as Kit, the talking Trans Am on Knight Rider that had full, sentient conversations...but still cool enough to impress my classmates at St. Eugene's. That was good, because there wasn't much else they liked about me.

Every day I would see Mom driving the car around the circle at 2:45, her big Jackie O sunglasses perched on the ethnic nose she hated and tried to hide. If prayers could transform flesh, my Mom would have had a ski nose.

I would jump into the car, greet my mother, and turn to the back where my dog Turbo was waiting to greet me. Soft fur, softer heart, big kind eyes that let me know I was wanted and loved.

We would pull out onto Farmer's Lane after the traffic cleared, and Mom would ask me about my day. Or sometimes we would turn up KZST and just listen to the radio, discussing our favorite music. On the very best days, Billy Vera and the Beaters would be playing.

What would you think...

The sad song from Family Ties when Alex P. Keaton's soulmate Ellen, the liberal girl with the heart gold, left him for being a jerk.

Mom loved that song. It brought out all her drama queen tendencies. She would crank up the volume, something she otherwise hated because of her noise sensitivity, and she would bring her right hand up off the steering wheel, twist it into a fist and shove it to her face to sing. She would rarely make a noise, but she mimed passionately; head lolling, eyes furrowed.

...With tears in your eyes...

I would follow along, giggling, though lip-synching was too hard for me. I'd always end up leaning in next to her microphone hand, singing at half-voice.

...Trying to tell me you've found you another...

Turbo in the backseat would raise his head to sniff the wind, and bark along.

...And you just don't love me no more.

The song would end with a big, dramatic flourish, and we would sigh and turn down the volume, knowing it had been a good trip home.


ecogrrl said...


That was beautiful.

Lynda said...

Was Brent Ferris the morning DJ then too? We lived in Sonoma County for 20+ years and I think he has ALWAYS been the DJ. My mom still listens to KZST.

That is such a great memory of your mom.

Heidi said...

I am so glad you put this up. Beautiful.

Christina said...

I knew it was the Datsun when I saw the radio. That radio is legit. It was my first car!! And the woman would say, "the door is open." Used to scare people. Hope you are well and I enjoyed this post, truly.

Kid Sis said...

Thanks everyone. Means a lot to me.

Yup, Brent Ferris. Scary stuff, that KZST. :)