Driving home alone after performing in Maine last week, I decided to spend the last hour of my four-hour drive with the windows down and the music up.
Music blasted. Springsteen. Tom Petty. Tesla. The Ramones. Guns N' Roses. The Stones. The wind roared through the car. It was fantastic.
As I roared down the highway, I looked around, taking note of how others were driving. Searching for my proverbial soulmates. Here is what I noticed:
Almost everyone drives on the highway with their windows up. Actually, almost everyone drives everywhere with their windows up. The vast majority of people travel via automobile in their own climate-controlled bubbles of air and sound.
What a shame.
Part of this may be generational. When I was first learning to driving, air conditioning was far less prevalent than it is today. In 2017, 99% of all new automobiles came equipped with AC as a standard feature.
But in 1970, only 54% of cars were equipped with air conditioning.
In fact, the first three cars that I owned - all built in the 1970's and driven by me in the 1980's - did not have AC. Instead I drove with the windows down. Allowed fresh air to flow through my car. Offered my musical tastes to the world.
It was glorious. It still is glorious.
If you haven't done this in a while, you must. The next time you are driving on the highway or any place of any distance, lower all the windows. Choose some of your favorite music and turn it up.
I drove for four hours from Maine to Connecticut. For the first three hours, I listened to books and podcasts and stopped for breakfast, but can't remember a dam thing about the drive. It was like every other long, forgettable distance drive.
But that last hour, heading west in Interstate 84, wind roaring through the car as Thunder Road and Satisfaction and I Wanna Be Sedated blasted from the speakers - I remember it well.
I smile when I think back on that final hour.
And when I finally arrived home, I was energized. When I stepped out of my car, I was almost running to see Elysha and the kids. Part of it was the excitement of seeing them after a night away, but a bigger part was that I was excited and happy and filled with music.
What a joyous, riotous feeling.
Escape your climate-controlled bubble. Let the wind mess up your hair. Blast your music in the way you did when you were a teenager and understood the power and importance of song.
Grab hold of a some of that primacy again.