Friday, March 10, 2017

Back to the Past via Back to the Future

When I signed up for this challenge, I wrote a list of blog ideas. I haven’t used them that much, but last night I was “tagged” from a lifelong friend, we’ll call her Birdie for anonymity, on Facebook. She wrote a post about driving own to Bloomington, IL, where we went to college for the first time in many years. Her post was reminiscing about how the drive had changed over the years.

I grew up with Birdie. We were in a cooking class together when we were three and then in the same classes all the way up to 8th grade. Because her family moved across town, we went to separate high schools, though I would go see her in musicals and she probably would come to my school, as well (I just don’t remember now!) We ended up going to the same college, and, wouldn’t you know it - we were assigned to be roommates! So we’ve known each other forever.

Birdie had a car and would drive home frequently, and I would go with her (Central Illinois did not suit me!). We started out college as music majors in voice, so we basically had a “Carpool Karaoke” two-hour ride each way. Grease, R.E.M., Evita, Arlo Guthrie, and a rather eclectic series of mixtapes would accompany our trips. I loved it because I enjoy singing in the car and you can’t do that if the other people don’t join you. I find people do not usually like being confined for two hours when I’m singing at the top of my lungs.

One of my favorite memories of our carpool jams occurred on campus, actually. We lived off-campus senior year, and were driving back to our apartment in January. We were in a “Back to the Future” soundtrack phase (this was many years after the movie had come out) and we came up with lyrics to go along with the theme, which went something like this:

I’m going back to the future now,
I am going back to the future today!

So this part repeats and then you sing about seeing your old friend Doc, mom, and such. We were singing at the top of our lungs when we came to a turn in the road. The music was exciting, appropriate for time travel, and I went to turn my steering wheel and….

Nothing. No turn. We kept going straight.

Now this turn in the road was for the reason that there was an apartment building in the way. The music is building, and we’re careening for the building because we were so into singing along with the stupid lyrics we made and didn’t think about the possibility of black ice.

Driving my old 1988 $800 Chevy Nova, as we came within 5 feet of the building, I pump the brakes. Nothing. Then I pull the emergency brake and….

Finally. We stopped before we hit the curb. The next stop was the side of the apartment building.

It was a terror-filled 2 minutes. Happened really fast, very surreal. Luckily, there wasn’t a lot of foot traffic around us, so we weren’t noticed, which was a relief. My college crush, who I nicknamed “The Cute Boy”, lived in that building.

I reversed the car, slowly turned the steering wheel, and we drove back to our apartment slowly. At the time it was super embarrassing, but after that, it became quite comical, considering we were both singing along to this theme at the time.

So when my friend posted that her drive down to Bloomington wasn’t the same without our sing-a-longs, I thought it was a sign that I should tell this ridiculous story of two girls who averted disaster caused by too much enthusiasm for singing in the car.



  1. What a great memory! James Corden probably has nothing on you two. Glad you are okay- your description had me pretty worried!

  2. This is great - love the action sequence! You captured it well, and I appreciated all the backstory before we got to that climax! Sometimes I struggle how much backstory to tell and what to leave out - I think you found a great balance here.