Today we drove from Phoenix Arizona to just above Grapevine Hill north of LA. On the drive, I put in some old tapes that brought back memories. It amazed me how vivid the feelings returned. I’m not talking about high school, I’m talking about 4th grade.
In 4th grade, Wendy Page (or was it Wendi Paige?) lip-synced ‘Straight-up’ by Paula Abdul at a talent show. I totally had a crush on Wendy and her performance was spectacular. I can still remember quite vividly how I felt watching the song and all of those feelings come right back when I hear the song. I don’t want to be misunderstood; I haven’t seen Wendy in at least 20 years and if I did see her, I wouldn’t recognize her. But I certainly remember the feeling of being completely infatuated with a girl.
Also at that talent show, Cheryl Weaver asked me to go out with her. I also had a crush on Cheryl (a guy really can’t have too many crushes in 4th grade). Cheryl went to the same bus stop as I did. I would make sure to get to the bus stop as early as possible every day so that I could spend time with Cheryl. I would wait at the bus stop for a long time, eagerly anticipating being able to stand around and talk with Cheryl.
At the 4th grade talent show, Cheryl worked up the courage and asked me to go out with her. Really this made a lot of sense since we both had crushes on each other and had lots of opportunities to hang out together and do whatever dating 4th graders do.
Not only did Cheryl ask me out, she didn’t do it through a friend, she did it in person, face to face. I remember how excited I was at all of the opportunities and the realization of my dreams. And then I said, “no”. Not only did I say no, but I said it in a tone of voice that said, “no way, why in the world would you ask me that?”
A few minutes after I said no, her friends came and asked me, ”So, what did you say?” I told them that I told her no. Then they asked why… I don’t remember what I said. I don’t have any good reason to having said no. On one hand, this is a major regret in my life. My actions contradicted my true feelings. Every time I hear that Paula Abdul song, I feel those feelings of complete infatuation and the feelings of regret and denying my true feelings.
At the same time, I look back at that event and think of how different my life would have been had I started dating in 4th grade. I wonder if I would still have ended up with the wife that I have. In that regard, I am extremely happy that I said no. There is no other woman that I would ever want to be married to. My wife is really the woman of my dreams.
Also, I think of a kite ballet in which I participated. I flew a kite to the music of Paula Abdul. I won. That was a monumental moment in my life. (not really).
So those were my thoughts as I drove through the desert between Phoenix and LA. I had these great plans of how to get through LA. I was going to stop at a rest area or truck stop and sleep for a few hours before heading through LA at about 9pm. Evidently I missed the last rest area. I entered LA at 4pm. I got out the other side of LA at 7pm. I will number that as something that I have now accomplished and never have to do again. I have driven a 15-passenger van pulling a 30-foot trailer through rush hour LA traffic. My life is now full.