Earlier this summer, we were driving home from a day at the beach and I started dozing off (hey, I never claimed to be a good passenger). Since I was nearly asleep and E. was playing a game on his phone, DadJovi got to play DJ. He decided to put on The Talking Heads’ Greatest Hits CD.
Somewhere during this time, it also started to rain hard, so we were going pretty slow. I remember hearing the song “Once in a Lifetime” as I dozed off. Then, what I swear was 20 minutes later, I woke up and the song was STILL on. To this day, DadJovi claims he wasn’t playing the song on repeat, but I don’t quite believe him. He claims I was only out a few minutes but I’m not buying it.
Whatever voodoo occurred in that car that stormy afternoon has stuck with me, and now I hear the song EVERYWHERE I go. I’ve heard it in the grocery store. At the gym. In restaurants. And now it’s even featured in a TV commercial. The song, which was released more than 30 years ago, is officially haunting me.
And really, it couldn’t be a more perfect song for this moment in my life. I don’t know if I was thinking these things first or if the song implanted them there, but I have had more than one sort of out-of-body experience lately where I think to myself, “How did I get here?”
You may find yourself in a beautiful house with a beautiful wife
You may ask yourself, well, how did I get here?
Substitute “wife” for husband and child, and you get the drift.
Does anyone else experience these odd moments of “holy shit, when did I become THIS old?” For whatever reason, these thoughts usually filter into my brain while I’m doing the most mundane of household tasks — washing dishes, folding laundry, making beds, signing parental permission slips for school. It just sort of hits me like a ton of bricks sometimes that I’m an actual grown-up with a shitton of responsibilities.
And then I find myself saying things to my daughter or husband that I never thought I’d say:
- Because I said so.
- Don’t sit so close to the TV. You’ll ruin your eyes.
- Don’t point a flashlight in your eyes. You’re going to ruin them.
- Don’t read in the dark. You’re going to ruin your eyes (apparently I’m a bit obsessed with eyecare)
- I don’t care if everyone else is doing it. You can’t.
- That outfit is not appropriate for school.
- I don’t know why there are only two teams in a game. Ask your dad.
- If you stick your tongue out one more time, it might get stuck like that. Then you wouldn’t be able to eat PB&Js anymore.
- Can you please stop making that noise? You’re making my/Mommy’s brain hurt.
- I already told her no. You can’t just tell her yes and undermine me like that.
- Why did you say she could have dessert this late? Now she’ll never go to bed.
- Is it that hard to put your dirty clothes in the hamper instead of on the floor NEXT to the hamper?
- Top shelf of the refrigerator on the left. Your other left.
To quote David Byrne, “You may ask yourself, am I right, am I wrong? … my god, what have I done?”
That doesn’t mean I don’t love my life right now. I do. There is very little about it I would change (a few extra hundred-thousand dollars wouldn’t hurt). All in all, it’s better than I could have ever imagined.
But that doesn’t mean it doesn’t still take me by surprise sometimes that yes, I am a 35-year-old wife and working mother with high cholesterol and too many bills living in the suburbs. Wasn’t I JUST 22 years old, fresh out of college and ready to conquer the world in our nation’s capital? In those halcyon days, my biggest concern was, ‘Can I still rock this happy hour then hit a couple more bars in Georgetown (hell no I’m not trekking all the way to The Hill) tonight and not have a killer hangover that will make me late for my tomorrow morning’s 7 a.m. editorial meeting?’”
Those days were great and I fully squeezed every ounce of fun out of them, but they had their hard times, too. My first major heartbreak. Trying to get my first job. Then my second job. Dating a bunch of toads. Awkward bar conversations. My first layoff. Living without health insurance. And of course, watching the events of 9/11 unfold from a control room three blocks from the White House, worrying desperately about my friends in Lower Manhattan and my colleagues at the Pentagon, then not leaving the office for five days straight.
Nope, I have no desire to go back to those days.
If only The Talking Heads would get out of my head.
What song stalks you? And what most surprises you about your life now compared to 10 years ago? 15 years? 20 years? And does anyone know a chant or charm I can say to get David Byrnes out of my life?