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Summer temptations

I was driving to a friend’s house last night for my once every two-weeks night out with the girls (and one guy) . It was warm and I had the windows down, the sunroof was open, and the radio cranked up, blaring out Lou Reed’s “Romeo Had Juliet”, and the afternoon sun was high and slanting in towards evening. I felt good. I was singing along — “…Romeo Rodriquex squares his shoulders, curses Jesus. Runs a comb through his black ponytail…” — at the top of my lungs and the college co-eds were looking at me like I was nuts.

And, to them, I must have been a sight. A 30-something overweight woman in a black VW Passat with a baby seat in the back, singing too loud some song that was released in 1988 (which was the year some of these girls were born).  But in my head, I was 21 again and thin and had on a new mix tape this hot guy had made me and the world was laid out in front of me like a platter of possibilities. And I never really thought it, but the Pike spooled out due west like a blacktop dream and the Pacific was just 3,000 miles away.

I’m naturally a person of habits — I like to travel but not too often, and I love coming home to my familiar sheets and my cat and I always have. Now that I’m married and have child, I often think that skipping playgroup is radical and I got really annoyed that I can’t go to my favorite breakfast joint on Sunday mornings anymore. (Same order every time: Texas French toast, banana chocolate chip muffin, bottle of water.) I’m terrified of earthquakes — they are my one phobia — and have no desire whatsoever to go to California, land of the beautiful and golden and slim.

But summer evenings have always been dangerous for me. Something about the golden evening light and the feel of the wind and the purr of the car reminds me that for every choice I’ve made, I had to decide against everything else. To be an urban wife and mother and writer, I gave up being a globe-trotting, bed-hopping CEO. Or a Parisian chef. Or a professor or a …. Not that I wanted to be those things. Not that I regret being who I am — I love my life even when I’m exhausted and want to kill everyone.

But when I hear some great song on the radio and it’s just right for windows-down driving, suddenly I wonder about the road I didn’t take. Hell, I wonder where the road I’m on will take me. And I just want to drive all night.

And swim in the Pacific.

Categories: Uncategorized
  1. karriew
    May 31, 2007 at 3:32 pm


  2. May 31, 2007 at 4:31 pm

    I’ve had similar feelings lately. There is something about sitting out on a warm summer night after a drink or two that makes me feel so young and reckless.

  3. June 1, 2007 at 12:25 pm

    I did the same thing the other night, and I think that every time it happens – when I’m driving alone – that there’s just this one percent chance I might drive off into the sunset and start robbing banks or something, and that’s the part that fills me up and makes me feel (however temporarily) free.

    And I also love my life, just so you know.

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