It turns out that no matter how good a vocal stylist you are, some audiences just won’t appreciate it.
I learned this lesson yesterday in Houston, where my son was swimming in NCAA Div III Nationals. My wife Linda and I were downtown, running a bit behind and having some trouble during rush hour finding an entrance to I-45 for the short trek to the University of Houston. We found ourselves in a long line of drivers who seemed to have a better sense than us of how to accomplish this, but as we got to the entrance we realized the only option was getting on to the “high occupancy vehicle” lane. Which we, at my urging, did.
We found ourselves heading south trapped between two impenetrable walls of concrete. Soon, we passed our exit. Several miles later things started looking bleak – by now we were heading well away from our destination with no exit in sight. To make matters worse, traffic heading in the opposite direction – the direction we’d eventually have to head, God willing – was stopped. Though we had started toward the pool plenty early, it was fast becoming possible that we’d miss our son’s first event, a relay with a legitimate shot at first place.
It was about this time that I broke into the opening lines of the Glen Campbell hit Galveston. This was prompted by the interstate sign indicating that that’s precisely where we were headed, a lovely town by all accounts, but about 50 miles south of where we wanted – no, needed – to be.
Suffice it to say, my audience did not appreciate my talents at this moment. In fact, had she not needed to keep two hands on the wheel, Linda might’ve used them to strangle me.
Epilogue: After another ten miles or so, the fine engineers of the I-45 HOV lane allowed us to exit and turn back. Traffic was slow, but we made it to the pool in plenty of time to see the St. Olaf 200 medley relay team take 2nd place.