Music memory no. 1 – One Headlight

A couple of days ago as we rejoiced in an online chat over cheesy reggaeton and Belinda Carlisle’s “Heaven is a place on earth”, my brother suggested we parallel post on the topic of music memory. There have been many times in the past when he has remarked on how the song that’s on makes him think back to a particular time in his life or to a person. You can read his first post on this here:

I haven’t written in a long while so I’ll do these as a series of short posts. Please feel free to play the song before, during or after reading…

One Headlight by The Wallflowers

This music memory is comparatively new. The first time I heard this song and fell in love with it was when I was in high school. The link between it and that time of my life exists but it is faint, like a lightbulb glowing on its own at the end of a long, narrow hallway. The real association was created 2 years ago.

I had backed out of our driveway, halfway out of our cul-de-sac when One Headlight came on. “Awesome!!”, I declared as I turned the volume right up. There are select songs whereby the moment I hear them I feel touched by an all-knowing, benevolent force, one who has decided to let me know that today is my turn for a great day.

Listening at full volume begets singing at full volume, and singing in the car is such a freeing experience that I generally never consider that another driver might be watching. This time however as I started to round a bend in the road I was given the idea that the person in the next car coming up would be looking at me. A second later a light-coloured car came into view, I made a point to look at the driver’s face. Nothing. He was looking straight ahead.

Eh, I focused my eyes back on my side of the road. A dark car zipped around closely after the light one.

Until the song was over I kept with the singing. Hard.

Some time later I received a text message from my younger brother, asking if I had been singing along to One Headlight. Yes I had! Had he been lucky enough to catch it on the radio as well?! How lucky were the two of us?? How did he guess I was singing along to it, had he been singing along to it too? He replied something along the lines of yes, he heard it on the radio and divined I must be singing along to it too.

When I got home I questioned him about this amazing event, to find him infinitely amused and laughing at my incredulity. He informed that he had passed me in his car, evidently during one of the “Hey, hey, heeee-ee-ee-ee–ey” portions since I had my mouth wide open at the time. Grapefruit-sized wide.

After a small delay it finally clicked: he was the dark car, that premonition to look because someone would be looking at me had been right but inaccurately implemented. I had not seen him but he had been there, listening to One Headlight when I rounded the corner mouthing the sounds he was hearing.

So now, whenever I hear this song, there are 4 directions my mind goes in:

1. Yay, this song!

2. Mmmmmm, Jakob Dylan the hotness.

3. That random moment of the passing cars and the missed mystical message; two mundane seconds of my life immortalised as a slow-motion memory.

4. My little brother’s laugh and smile as he is entertained by both my airheadedness and lack of shame. His Jie is a goofy idiot.


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