Wednesday, September 7, 2011

The Foo Fighters are my co-pilot

A few days ago, the kids and I were taking Robby home. I was driving my beloved “soccer mom” minivan. The children know the rules of the van—no throwing stuff, no screaming, no milk products, and no talking while I’m listening to the Foo Fighters.

After we hit the road, I turned on the radio and “All My Life” was about half-way through. Veronica lives to listen to her pop music in the car. I’m fine with that, but if my song is on then don’t even think about asking me to change the station.

Veronica immediately starts screaming from the back seat, “Please change the station to Kiss FM!”

Robby assumed I would change the station to suit her, so he was surprised when I said, “no” as my free hand cranked up the volume a little louder.

I looked at her in the rearview mirror and said, “Who is singing right now?”

Ladies and gentlemen, the Foo Fighters
I hear Jude’s little voice say, “Foo Fighters.”

Veronica was mad. She wanted her way so she began to scream, “Please change the station!”

In order to drown out her plea for pop, I turned the music up even louder. She got louder, too. So I turned the knob again and then started singing along. For those of you who have heard me sing, you realize that this is the worst punishment I could ever inflict on my children.

Later that night, Robby laughed about the entire scene. He seemed surprised by my reaction. I really hadn’t put much thought into the whole episode—it happens often and I always react the same.

I am generally pretty lax with my children and they know that. But music is a big deal to me and I refuse to let anyone ruin that for me. The “Foo Fighters rule” in the car is one of those unbreakable laws. It’s one of the few times when I draw a line in the sand and establish my boundaries with the children.

Music has always been a big deal to me. My sister and I inherited my mom’s old record player/stereo when I was about 9 years old. I would sit in our room for hours every day and listen to records and the radio. When I got older—maybe 11 or 12—I started putting together one of the most awesome cassette tape collections in town.

My sister and I would scour the flea markets in the summer looking for cheap bootlegs. I loved everything from Metallica to Milli Vanilli (gasp), but I never cared much for country. As the years progressed, my collection expanded. I had my stereo running all the time—even at night. I couldn’t sleep without music. I couldn’t focus without music. I couldn’t ride in the car without music.

When I was 16, I saved up my money and bought my first CD player from Radio Shack. The first CD I bought was The Cure’s Disintegration “Pictures of You” never sounded so amazing.

My brother Luke, who is a brilliant musician, once told me that I was one of the biggest musical influences in his life—I was the first person he knew who owned a CD player and I always gave him my extra CDs when I needed to make room on my shelf for new ones.

I gave him Collective Soul, Pearl Jam, Nirvana, Green Day, and Stone Temple Pilots—he loved them as much as I did.

I loved good musicians and I loved terrible ones. I had a life-sized poster of Sebastian Bach from Skid Row on my closet door for about 8 months when I was a freshman in high school. I wanted to marry both of the Nelson twins when I was 15—I didn't think I could "Live Without Their Love and Affection."
I’ve been known to do a chest bump to Milli Vanilli and did a few fist pumps to Metallica—I now hate both groups and rightfully so—they disappoint me on a personal level. I spent the entire summer before my freshman year in college watching “Pure Country” and listening to George Strait—he almost turned me on to country (almost is the key word here).

But I’m also quick to point out that I am no music expert. I know this and I gladly accept it. Music snobs bother me. They act like you are stupid for liking pop music. I enjoy pop music—and yes, I can hear you chuckling.

There are many times in my day when I need to turn on the music and lose myself for a while. Sometimes I need music that doesn’t make me think. But sometimes I need music that makes me feel something.

Foo Fighters carry me through my 6 mile run on the treadmill. Red Hot Chili Peppers cheer me up on the long rainy drive to school in the morning. The Beastie Boys keep me company during my lunch break in the library. The Black Eyed Peas make the kids jump around in the living room which makes me smile at the end of a long day. And Robby’s classical music soothes me to sleep when we get the chance to spend the night together.

So if you pass me on the road and you see me singing while the kids look distressed, then you will know what is up—the Foo Fighters are on and I don’t feel like putting up with anyone’s crap today. And no, I will not turn it down.

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