We're All Damaged

Wednesday, April 20, 2016


The other night, after we got the kids to bed, my wife remembered that she forgot to fill her car up with gas on the way home from work. The fact that she was saying this aloud—and saying it with some concern—was alarming. When it comes to things like gas in her car, she likes to live dangerously.

“How much do you have?” I asked.

“Not much.”

“How not much?”

She shrugged.  “I’ll get it in the morning.  I think I have enough to make it to the gas station.”

Like a lot of modern couples, our division of marital labor is pretty egalitarian. She takes care of anything to do with math. I cover all recycling- and garbage-related issues. She handles the indecipherable monstrosity that is our cell phone plan. And, I’m in charge of car stuff.  So, technically speaking, this fell under my purview.  After five minutes of looking for her keys (they were in a jacket she didn’t remember wearing) I was off.

The gas station is about a mile from our house, and I made it without incident. On the way back, though, I got snagged by the red light outside our neighborhood. It’s a famously long light, but I didn’t really mind. The windows were down. It was one of the first truly warm evenings of Spring. The stereo in her car is nicer than the stereo in mine, so I had the volume up. The station was set to 80s on 8 on SiriusXM. 

For a while I just zoned out. Then a song started that I kind of recognized. It had a dance vibe. The intro was catchy and fun—a little silly. It took me until just before the chorus to realize that I was listening to It’s Raining Men by the Weather Girls. It took me until just after the chorus to realize that I wasn’t alone. A car had pulled up beside me, a Cadillac. An elderly man was driving. His wife, I assume, was in the passenger seat. Their windows were down, too, and they were both looking at me.

“Hey there.  Lovely evening we’re having.”


  1. I did something similar once. Same scenario, windows down at a stop light, song kicking off and singing along. As I hit the chorus I'm belting it out for all it's worth. I look over and there are two police officers smiling at me. Mind you, I work with those two smiling faces. I immediately stop singing. The song you may wonder....I Touch Myself. It was a long time before anyone at work didn't hum that in my presence.

  2. Classic. I sang that at a karaoke bar in Baltimore once.