Monday, August 13, 2012

Making Sweet Music

"How sweet it is to be loved by you." -James Taylor

One night this summer, My Director and I went to a James Taylor concert. I had bought her the tickets for Valentine's Day. Attached to the tickets, I wrote a note with the lyric I quoted above. Aren't I just a peach? Ah, but that love does indeed need to be sweet, in so many ways... and especially in times of stress.

As we drove to the concert and exited into the venue, the gas light dinged on the dashboard. Unlike My Director, I am never concerned when this happens. However, unless you arrive super early, the traffic getting into the parking lots at these events is always maddening. We inched along for twenty minutes, burning fuel like it was nothing. I opened the windows and turned off the air to save gas.

"It's rare that neither of us looked at the gas gauge all day," I offered. I knew that one would come back to haunt me eventually. After all, My Director had not driven at all that day. (For the record, after reading up to this point My Director stopped and insisted she DID suggest we pull off for gas before the light went on. We agreed to disagree. You can believe whom you choose.)

NOW I'm worried
The needle crept dangerously close to the last line before E. Now I'm worried.

So I devised a plan. An exit strategy. We would leave the show early. An hour and a half after he starts playing. That way we won't sit in traffic on the way out and run out of gas.

We sat on our beach chairs on the lawn and enjoyed James Taylor like we always do. During the intermission we used an app to find the nearest gas station. It was three miles away, off the first possible exit. We bolted three songs into the second set. We jumped into the car, which was smartly parked right by the exit, and with the air conditioning still turned off I made sure not to gun it. Even on the Garden State Parkway, I didn't go above 40 mph. I was a turtle-paced menace hugging the right lane with my hazards flashing.

As soon as I coasted off the exit, My Director stumbled with the directions that she was reading off her iPhone. (She disputes this too.) As a result, I missed the first turn. Now I'm mad. And totally spaztastic. And the best she could offer was a panicked, "Now we're driving aimlessly on this random road." I knew it wasn't a random road. It was a somewhat major highway in New Jersey, the state in which I've lived my entire life except for my four years in college. A gas station was inevitable. (Turns out, there was one on every corner.)

"Don't tell me anything anymore," I barked. "I'm taking over." Then I actually used a work/blog analogy to bolster my new-found position of authority. "Sometimes the producer needs to just produce and the director just has to follow along, trust him, and keep up." As a point of reference, My Director doesn't take any lip from anybody, especially me.

Now here's where my comment from four hours earlier finally comes back to haunt me:

"YOU started it when you said neither of us checked to see if we were running low." And there it is. I KNEW she would bring it up. It was just a matter of when.

I had little defense. So I offered, "You're always checking the gas gauge from the passenger seat."

"I can't even see it from over here."

"You lean over constantly to check the gas." (And see how fast I'm going.) "That's your job as My Director." (Now I'm back to letting her direct.)

We eventually found a station, filled up, laughed at our lunacy and fell in love all over again by listening to some classic James Taylor on our way home. No matter what life throws our way, especially minor spats over running out of gas, the one constant is always us. How sweet it is to be loved by you:
I needed the shelter of someone's arms.  
There you were. 
I needed someone to understand my ups and downs. 
There you were.

Please take some time to catch up on some DKL you might have missed. I've been doing this on summer Mondays, telling a new story and then following it with links to a list of posts about that subject. Previous topics included My Director, Christmas, our Disney trip, and our swagger wagonThis week, I'm featuring songs, AKA "The Soundtrack of our Life." Enjoy:

Earlier this month I wrote how Thunder Road became Peanut's lullaby of choice.
There is a song from a movie that helped me through the toughest time in my professional career. It's called "Little Wonders."
A few months ago, Peanut and I were obsessed with a song by Rihanna of all people. It was perpetually The Song in My Head. (There's crazy Peanut-dancing video in this one.)
Whenever we're in the car, it seems a song by one particular band will always come on the classic rock station I listen to. It's important to me that Peanut Hears The Who.
Here's another Springsteen song that got me thinking about the role we play in the dreams of our children. He tells a story during a live performance that made me realize we are their Dream Keepers.
The story of how I came to call my wife "My Director" starts with our struggle to pick a wedding song. It's all in "Allow Me To Re-Introduce..."


  1. Dude there is always an extra 30 miles in those tanks... and beside you are never more than 2 miles from a gas station in NJ. I always wait until the needle goes BELOW E before I start to worry.

    1. Thank you. Finally a voice of reason. This is what I say every time. But I have to admit we were below the E line when we rolled into the gas station.

  2. I used to panic. Then we bought the new car and I have one of those fangled gadgets that tell me EXACTLY how far I can go in miles.

    I rarely even look at the gauge anymore.

    1. That's one of the few features my swagger wagon lacks. I know when that light comes on I have a good 20-30 miles. But it's maddening when you're sitting in traffic burning gas. You get paranoid.


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