Middle of the Road

Today I was tooling around after lunch, enjoying springtime in Illinois. The trees are blooming, the birds are singing, the worms are wiggling deep in the earth. The drumbeat of nature coming back to life is beating loudly today under a bright, springtime sun.

I had the windows rolled down in the ol’ minivan, scanning the stations for a rockin’ tune. I know, it’s hard to be cool in a dark blue Chrysler minivan, but what the hell, I was having a good time anyway.

Then it came on. That song. The one I thought was so cool when I was 13 from the band with a lead singer I wanted to be, even though she looked a hell of a lot like my mom. What song? “Middle of the Road” by the Pretenders.

Remember that song? Let me remind you.

The middle of the road is trying to find me
I’m standing in the middle of life with my plans behind me
Well I got a smile for everyone I meet
As long as you don’t try dragging my bay
Or dropping the bomb on my street

Now come on baby
Get in the road
Oh come on now
In the middle of the road, yeah

In the middle of the road you see the darndest things
Like fakirs driving ’round in jeeps through the city
Wearing big diamond rings and silk suits
Past corrugated tin shacks full up with kids
Oh man I don’t mean a hampstead nursery
When you own a big chunk of the bloody third world
The babies just come with the scenery

Oh come on baby
Get in the road
Oh come on now
In the middle of the road, yeah

One…two…three…four…

The middle of the road is no private cul-de-sac
I can’t get from the cab to the curb
Without some little jerk on my back
Don’t harass me, can’t you tell
I’m going home, I’m tired as hell
I’m not the cat I used to be
I got a kid, I’m thirty-three

Baby, get in the road
Come on now
In the middle of the road
Yeah

As I belted out that line in the last verse — “I got a kid, I’m thirty-three, bay-beh!” — I stopped, almost biting off my tongue. Stopped breathing for second.

The first problem? Hello! I’m listening to a classic rock station NOT, my friends, to listen to the music of my parents’ generation, but because I stopped on a song from MY generation!

The second problem? When I sang this song at 13, yes, that would be twenty years ago, it was rockin’, yes, but hitting close to home? Not even a little!

When the hell did that happen?! Has this happened to you? Leave me some comments!

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