Good Morning Captain (or songs forever tied to something, part 2)

Good Morning Captain. 

When I was in college we went on a family vacation to Chicago. My sister was out of the country so I brought along my friend, Ileana. Though I was old enough to have many memories of the trip, I don't remember much about Chicago. Instead I remember a lot about the journey to and from. We started our journey in Charlotte and broke up the trip with one night's stay in Kentucky each way.

My family was never big on taking turns listening to the music the passengers wanted to listen to. The driver got to choose and that was it. My dad was a big talk radio fan so we got to listen to 12 hours of talk radio each way. Ileana and I sat in the back seat and exchanged mixed tapes to play on our Walkmen, which would drown out the talk radio. We had to bring both a CD and a tape Walkman to accommodate our music. Ileana had, and still has, better taste in music so I got the better end of the music sharing.

We shared Polvo, Zen Frisbee, The Sea and Cake and Tom Petty tapes and CDs, but I was stuck on Spiderland by Slint. And really, I was stuck on one song. Good Morning Captain.  


As we drove through North Carolina, Tennessee and Kentucky, I kept the song on repeat, occasionally switching to another tape or CD. I think I listened to it five times between every CD switch.   

When I hear the song I think about the winter weather. About riding in the car. About one of the last family trips where I still felt like a kid. 

It was the 1996/1997 New Years and since we were under the age of 21, there wasn't a whole lot we do. So what'd we do when we were in Chicago for New Years? We stayed in the hotel room and drank the case of Coors Light my parents bought. All of it. I still remember my dad opening the fridge the next day and saying at an excruciatingly loud volume "Connie, the girls drank all the beer." (Sorry for the online confession, Mom.) If you knew my father, you'd know that it probably wasn't said at a loud volume, that was just my impression in my beer-induced sleep.

As I tried to ignore the requests to wake up, Good Morning Captain was still playing in my head. We were eventually roused and clamored in the car to leave.

On the way home we stopped in Kentucky again and stayed at the same hotel. That night Ileana and I decided to sneak downstairs while my parents were sleeping. We were in our pajamas, smoking cigarettes in the lobby (what rebels). There was a debutante ball happening at the hotel. One of the guests of the debutante ball approached us for conversation. No alcohol was involved (on our end) but we still ended up going into the ball and getting our pictures professionally taken with the debutantes IN OUR PAJAMAS. 

I remember leaving the hotel the next day thinking about the events of the night before. We had the cd Walkman playing Good Morning Captain out loud as we walked out of the hotel. In my mind we were a bunch of toughies that had just crashed a debutante ball. 

In reality, we were just two dorks who are REALLY lucky the internet wasn't a big deal so the pajama clad photos of us with debutantes weren't posted all over the internet. (Though I would love to see them.)

I invite you to take an interstate car ride in the winter with Good Morning Captain playing. I'd like to know if your ride can top ours.  

 (Read Songs forever tied to something.)