Archive for November 4th, 2009
When I was 15, I decided to ride my bike during the summer. I’m not really sure what prompted this, I was already taking driver’s ed and would have my license in just a few months before going back to school in August. Plus it’s not like I was very athletic or that I had anywhere in particular I had to go. We lived in the middle of the country and besides the main highway and a few county roads, there wasn’t even a suitable place to ride. Of course being 15 and pretty much in my own world, these minor points didn’t factor in to my newfound dedication to the world of cycling. My aunt had given me some biking gloves and accessories, so armed with my accoutrements and my trusty Walkman, I ready to take on the world on my flimsy 10-speed. There was just one thing that was missing. Who could have imagined that missing piece was Billy Idol?
Idol’s “Charmed Life” album was in heavy rotation for me that summer. I’d flip the tape from one side to the other and back again as I rambled around. “Cradle of Love” blasted through my headphones as I pedaled through the cut across, over the highway and into the town that most wouldn’t call a town. Along with all the words to the song, I remember it being a very hot summer, yet I pressed on, struggling down the washboard gravel roads and headed to Cindy’s house. My best friend Cindy happened to live more out of the way than I did, which at the time hardly seemed possible. So Billy and I huffed and puffed our way along, back and forth until mid-August, when my bike was relegated back to the shed, and I hit the road in my boatastic Chevy Impala. I don’t think I ever rode my bike again and it probably rusted into oblivion, while my copy of “Charmed Life” just might still be floating around here somewhere, packed in a box of cassettes I just can’t bear to throw out, even though I know I’ll never listen to them again, either.
Thinking back, I have to laugh about that summer. It all seems so random, but maybe it was symbolic… me and a rebel yell, testing the road and the limits of my freedom — in bike shorts — filmed with sweat and dust from the Indiana backroads.
Years later, at my future cousin-in-law’s karaoke birthday party, I decided I’d sing “White Wedding” and dedicate it to Marc. Although we were very much a couple, marriage wasn’t really something on our horizon at that point. Still, it never hurts to drop a hint and what better hint delivery method is there but drunken karaoke in front of family and friends? I thought my rendition was quite charming and I’ll never forget my future mother-in-law later telling me, in all sincerity, how nice it was that I sang “that wedding song” to Marc. Of course a few years later, we did have our own “White Wedding”, complete with more karaoke and a happily ever after. As for Billy Idol? Well, I’m never quite sure where he’s going to pop up next, but maybe I’ll cue up “Dancing with Myself” and see where my next Idol-laden adventure will take me.