Yesterday I took a wrong turn, disobeying my GPS on a whim. I hoped it would take me in the general direction of home, but this was rural PEI, pavement leading into red dirt roads without so much as a sign, only the imprints of treads telling us somebody had been there before, somebody would be there again. I never found my red dirt road yesterday, but I did I find a meandering secondary highway heaved by frost and chiseled rough over time. It dipped and veered through country that was sweetly unfamiliar. It took me past some farms and houses that seemed centuries old, in various states of disrepair, with an array of equipment and stuff scattered about the yards, as if every decision was based on practicality. The tiller goes under the tarp next to the garden because that is where we till.
On the same drive, around the same wrong turn, I turned on the radio. With Spotify and Podcasts always competing for my attention, I never seem to default to “wireless telegraphy” anymore, choosing the script for my spare time. But yesterday I opted, at about the same time I disobeyed my GPS, for a local radio station, Ocean 100.3. And as I drove new country in a province where I lived most of my life, Bryan Adams arrived with a voice like caramel sauce, sweet with a burning finish. A voice that reminds me of sentimentality and summer.
And baby, you’re all that I want
When you’re lyin’ here in my arms
I’m findin’ it hard to believe
We’re in heaven
Next was Taking Care of Business. I tapped the steering wheel as I drove, never one to keep good rhythm but nobody was there to judge my middle-aged self.
Then came Everybody Hurts. It seemed to me like a strange, introspective choice for the dinner hour. A Thursday, the weekend right there, the country trying to ride out of a pandemic. Yet the song, an old favourite, gripped me in a way I was grateful for. I felt no hurt, just the sweet sense that life comes with all manner of feelings and emotions. That it’s okay to be glum or thoughtful or sad, that those feelings deserve celebration, too. That blind happiness is not the only emotion deserving of praise.
It was a rainy night,
When he came into sight.
Standing by the road
With no umbrella, no coat.
As that long song neared its end I thought about turning off the radio, to have some quiet time, that Ocean couldn’t possibly top that song in terms of mood, and anything that came after would abruptly ruin the mood.
I was time travelling. I remember being a teenager, listening to that same song, transfixed by it, feeling like it was portal to the adult world. I remember how it filled me with shame and illicit excitement, how I felt embarrassed when it came on in the car driving with either of my parents, but my love of it persisted so I listened anyway, since that was not the era where basically every song known to humankind was accessible in a manner of seconds.
When Heart’s All I Want to do is Make Love to You ended, I needed quiet. I couldn’t let myself be disappointed by whatever came next—turns out I wouldn’t have been, Manfred Mann’s Earth Band rocked out to Blinded by the Light.
This is a long way of saying this world is full of surprises, and sometimes we should open ourselves to them.
Yesterday I was blinded by the light of wrong turns and radio.
Revved up a like a deuce
Another runner in the night.