I was driving down Democracy Boulevard in Bethesda yesterday, listening to a retro-compilation CD of early 80s Scottish indie-funk boys APB. It was a warm day, so the windows were down. At a red light, a pick-up truck stopped to my right. ‘What Kind Of Girl?’ was blasting out. The bloke in the driver’s seat was staring at me, not in a hostile way, but like he wanted to ask me something.
“What year’s that?” he shouted, pointing vaguely.
“1984, I think,” I shouted back.
He looked baffled, began to mouth something, and pointed again, this time at the car. Then I realised. “Oh, you mean the car?” I said. “Passat, 2003.” He looked relieved, began to talk something auto-technical, I switched off immediately, then the light changed and I sped off (I was running late).
That’s the ridiculous mental world that I live in. I genuinely believe that when someone in a pick-up truck stops next to me, he may have enough knowledge of an obscure early 80s band from Aberdeen to not only recognise one of the songs, but to be genuinely curious about what year their biggest hit came out.
This is the same mentality that has seen me waste much precious life-time making compilation tapes and CDs of music I think other people ought to know better. And that they will come to love that music and thank me for culturally enriching their lives. Occasionally it works, a little, but never as much as I think it’s going to.
If it had been a film, the pick-up truck driver might have been into APB. In scripts, characters are supposed to say things that surprise us and confound our prejudices. In real life, though, it doesn’t happen quite so often. Not that this is something I’ll ever learn.