Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Texas state of mind

It's 10:30 a.m. and I am driving down the "highway of death" (aka I-35); I'm just south of Austin on my daily commute to San Marcos. My mind is racing, thinking about school and an issue that I have to deal with. My brain wanders, thinking about what I will do after I finish grad school. As I play out various senarios, I suddenly realize that ZZ Top is on the radio. The song is "Tush," and at this point I have to crank up the stereo. The song takes me to a completely different state, the state of Texas, where being is all that needs to be. A smile crosses my face and my problems seem to fade. I look at at the road ahead of me and I notice what a blue, clear sky it is today. At this point, I crack open the vent on my sun roof; I don't even mind that there is still a nip in the air; temperatures in the 40s feel nice, especially as it will warm by the afternoon. I am happy and content. This is what is great about living in central Texas. This is what I would miss if we ever moved.

My mind begins to wander again, this time thinking about how great a band ZZ Top is. I have loved them since I was a teen, but appreciate them more now that I am older. You hear parents today talking about bad lyrics in songs, but let's face it, ZZ Top was the worst. Not that parents ever knew it. Heck, even as a teenager we had no idea what they were talking about.

I remember when my friend Mary first told me what a pearl necklace was. I think we were seniors in high school. After I spent a minute thinking about it, I asked Mary "do you think that's what the ZZ Top song was about?" Mary answered that she wasn't sure. Of course the next time we were in the car and the song came on, we turned it up and sure enough, that was what the song was about. We thought that was so cool.

I don't remember how old I was when I realize that "La Grange" was about the Chicken Ranch. I must have been in my 20s. Even today I get into discussion with folks about the lyrics. I'll admit, part of the problem is that they are singing "home out on the range," and unless you know the title and know about the history of the Chicken Ranch, you don't put two-and-two together.

I'm tapping the beat with my fingers on the steering wheel when the song ends; I come back to reality. I don't want the Texas state of mind to leave, so I start punching the buttons on the radio to find the right song. Nothing works. The CD has John Mellencamp -- mid-western boy is just not the same. I realize that the Texas feel-good moment was fleeting and now it's gone. I turn down the radio, as what is on is not worthy of being blasted through the speakers, and I close my sunroof. I slip back to thinking of the issue of the day. Tomorrow I have to remember to grab a ZZ Top cd and put it in the car.

No comments: