songs to learn and sing

The Passenger

This one is for Renae.

In 2000, Renae and I headed off to Europe for a coach tour (you can read about it here.) It was cramped, close quarters as we rolled through January in the frozen European countryside. Renae’s long legs were best seated in the aisle, and my motion sickness was best suited to the window, so we spent hour upon hour, riding and riding and riding, and riding some more, and then riding some more whenever the driver would get lost. I’m not sure how many times we circled St. Goar before finally landing in their gingerbread village, but it was long enough that I was bouncing my forehead against the window, hoping for the salvation of unconsciousness. There is a picture of me sprawled across the bed of our Inn there. It is an excellent representation of just how I felt by the time we arrived.

Frequently, we would spend six hours on the coach at a time. As you can imagine, those of us who could, would sleep. I would get into my toque, which was about two sizes too large for my head, and pull it down to my chin like the cover on a birdcage, and nod off. And, like everyone else who could sleep, I would lurch into wakefulness with a start every time Midgie-the-Tour-Guide would turn on Iggy Pop’s, The Passenger, at an ear-bleeding volume of 11. This was how Midgie liked to announce we were rolling to a stop. By the end of the tour, I wanted to find Iggy Pop, pick him up by his ankles, swing him like a bat and knock Midgie into the bleachers. I hated them both.

Now? Now, The Passenger numbers on my personal hit parade. I hear it and I remember how much fun Renae and I had together, and separately. I remember how we started a snowball fight in front of our hotel in Germany, then went inside when it was clear our Australian counterparts meant war, and watched from the window in our room as those same counterparts were rounded up by hotel security and reprimanded for the display. I remember how much fun it was to watch Charlie’s Angels in a Parisian theater, and the goofy things we did at the expense of fine art in the Louvre. And, I remember how passionately we both felt about strangling Midgie. Good times.

Nothing wrong with being the passenger.

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