Oh, Gentle Penguin! Road trips are sometimes when I find my best inspiration.
This weekend, my youngest daughter and I made the hour-and-change drive to watch our favorite MLS soccer team play and had a great conversation. We talked about things we’re discovering as spring slowly shifts our habits. We talked about our meal plan for the week. We talked about soccer. And Russian politics.
At the game, we huddled and yelled, creating new words to express our excitement and frustration. Our team lost, but we enjoyed the game nonetheless.
Then it was back in the car for (warmth and) the hour-and-change drive home. Meg asked if instead of talking, could we just put music on? Sure! As long as it was my music.
She thought about it for a minute, obviously weighing her options carefully, then agreed.
As if by the hand of the Fates, the first song to bubble out of the musical roulette was one of my favorite Air Supply songs. (Yes, “favorite” and “Air Supply” in the same sentence.)
“What is this?” emphasizing “this,” Meg asked with a look on her face that may have been delight at hearing new music or dread that she had made the wrong decision. It was getting dark in the car, and I was driving, so it was a little difficult to tell.
“You’ve heard this before,” I told her quite certain Air Supply has been played many times…in the car, during dinner or just around the house when I’m in a good mood.
She turned to look at me. I was pretty sure then she wasn’t delighted to be exposed to this new music. But I only laughed.
“Air Supply used to be my favorite band—probably when I was just a little younger than you,” I told her, obviously hoping that would make them more interesting. “I used to roller skate in the basement to their albums—and Barry Manilow’s—and sing into my hairbrush like a microphone, Of course, I was always Russell.”
That is the exact moment inspiration hit me.
I gasped sharply, then squealed with excitement. “WE could be Air Supply!!!”
My daughter didn’t even blink, but her look grew less like dread and perhaps a bit more skeptical…or fearful. She even raised an eyebrow.
“I could sing all of Russell’s parts and you could be Graham,” I continued on eagerly. “You’ll have to learn to play the guitar…or I could and you can be the finger symbols. I can teach you the words; I know them by heart. I’m pretty sure Russell handles all the vocal harmonies, so that shouldn’t be a problem.”
I glanced over at her again. She hadn’t moved. She also hadn’t objected yet, so I pressed ahead.
“You know, we even kind of look like Air Supply,” I noted getting even more excited.
By now my imagination had not only conjured up this very blog about how Meg and I bonded over an iconic band of my childhood, but my imagination had granted us a prestigious award for saving music from hip-hop droning. My imagination granted us loads of celebrity fans, including Jimmy Kimmel who invited us on his show. He then asked us to pretty please sing one of our favorite Air Supply songs. Demurely, we agreed.
I decide I would have to learn guitar and Meg would chime in perfectly in time with the finger cymbals. She’d launch into “Lost in Love.” I’d wink at her encouragingly. Then I would join her as we sang back and forth, me filling in the harmonies.
Of course, that tricky Jimmy Kimmel would have lined up the real Graham and Russell to surprise us so that somewhere in the middle of the song (probably the musical interlude) the four of us would smile and embrace, then sing together to a standing ovation from the audience.
Air Supply-like songs would become popular again; I wouldn’t have to worry about whether my clients paid their bills on time, or whether my printer was about to run out of ink, or whether my daughters would ever fall in love…with real music. Perhaps Meg and I would win a Grammy or an Emmy for the performance; world peace would finally result (because everyone would agree it was a fantastic song), and both my daughters would FINALLY think I’m cool!
My imagination is better than a fairy godmother!!!!!
I was so wrapped up in my daydream that I’d forgotten my daughter hadn’t answered me yet. I glanced over again. She was staring straight ahead smiling and nodding her head in time with the music.
I could feel the dream starting to percolate into reality. I felt a tingle of excitement and fought back the tears brought on by verklemptsia.
“This is your part,” I told her. “I’ll feed you the lines.”
I told her the words. Silence. I backed the song up and noticed that her head continued to bob to the musical beat. That was strange—the lead in was much slower than the song.
“Okay, here we go,” I said again and gave her the first stanza. Silence.
“Hey,” I said a little irritatedly. She didn’t budge. I punched her arm lightly. “Are you ready now?”
She pulled an earbud out of her ear and looked over at me, “I’m sorry, did you say something?”
As she smiled fake-innocently at me and put her ear bud in, I burst the bubble of my Air Supply fairy tale.
I still think we look like them though. Maybe tomorrow after I show her the picture…