“Hey Jupiter” by Tori Amos

JupiterThis is the seventh in my “With Music” series, where I look back at a point in my life through a song.  The stories are diverse as the music I reference. The other entries included (with links to the posts) Ben Folds Five, Sheryl Crow, Beth Orton, Dean Martin, The Verve, and Barenaked Ladies.

There is a good chance that Jupiter was hit by lightning.

This happened when I was living in Los Angeles, which makes this story even more strange. For those that don’t know, when any kind of storm happens in LA, everyone freaks out. New stories are abound about car crashes and flooding. Growing up in the Midwest, you couldn’t help but see the overreaction as something rich for comedic possibilities. Heaven forbid, someone has to wear a rain coat. Can you believe it? What next? Snow and a winter jacket?

Cynicism aside, it was after one of those bizarre storms that I first noticed that something was wrong with Jupiter, my black Pontiac Grand Am.

Jupiter was not the first car I had owned on my own, it was my second. My first car was a cute little blue Pontiac that seemed to have a knack for getting in accidents. The first time I got in an accident with it, I was driving home from my job (with a college class scheduled for that night), when I slammed into the car in front of me. I was listening to They Might Be Giants at the time and you can actually hear the car crash on the tape.

It sounds like a hollow screech, almost as if someone with an owl interrupted a TMBG performance.

The accident was outside an Arby’s and I had to run across the street to the restaurant and call the cops (days before everyone had a cellphone). The teenager behind the counter looked put out by the fact they had to call 9-1-1. Personally, I couldn’t have cared less how they felt about it. I felt lucky to be alive. My car folded like a piece of paper and I saw my life flash before my eyes as that much-better made SUV got closer and closer to my face. I’m still alittle surprised I got out of that accident without a scratch or injury.

While waiting for a police car, to my surprise, one of my cousins pulled into the Arby’s and made some casual chit-chat about my very recent near-death experience.

“Hey, Scott, saw your car.”

“You mean the one in the middle of the road, flattened?”

“Yeah, wow. That is just… wow. So I thought I would stop in and see if you are okay.”

“I’m alive.”

“That’s great. Do you want me to tell your folks?”

“That I’m still alive? That would be nice.”

“Okay, see you later. I got to go, running some errands, but I’ll give them a call once I get home.”

Definitely one of the oddest little exchanges I have ever had in my life. Even the worker behind the counter thought it was weird and offered me a free soda.

I took the soda. Continue reading

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Random Thoughts While Getting My Car Fixed…

MechanicTalking to a mechanic or a car dealer is like talking to a Dr. Seuss character for me. Seriously, they could say anything and I would believe it.

The fop-whistle on the groaning plate is off by three particles.

Sure, I reply and nod.

Apparently, the peanut butter cup pancakes at Denny’s are only good in theory.

Who designs their menu? Is it just a bunch of guys debating over beers? This is how I imagine the discussion of their “master chefs” in the corporate offices:

“Should we add more chocolate chips?”

“Good idea, people love chocolate (Burp).”

“Good one.”

It’s been over 20 years since I have been in a marching band, so why is it that I still walk in tempo?

AND when I try not to walk in tempo a part of my brain seems to revolt in disgust. I just can’t do it. It feels like a success and a failure all at the same time. Continue reading