Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Passenger Story - Tu Ra Lu Ra

“Don’t worry about it,” he said. “I’m a really responsible driver,” he said, and the others backed him up because yeah, he was. I didn’t know. But I wasn’t the one who cared.

My mom said fine because, you know - she trusts me, and I trust me. So we pile into his car and my foot gets slammed under one of the seats somehow and I have to sit on someone’s lap and we set off, one big mess of motors and sweat and human bodies.

It’s dark out. I stare out the window at the passing Victorians. No one else does, because they’re talking amongst each other. I think, everything looks the same as it usually does. It’s what’s inside this car that feels different.

The darkness and the downpouring rain almost seem as if they’re purposefully trying to create a specific atmosphere. What sort of atmosphere, I’m not quite sure yet. Scary, perhaps. Ominous. Lively. Adventurous. Dangerous. Exciting. Sad. Careless. In short, the the pure, concentrated ambiance of the teenage experience.

I realize, somehow, the significance of this moment. I’m sitting there in someone’s lap and later on I won’t remember whose it was, and I also realize the insignificance of this moment. It’s a first, but it’s one of many firsts. It’s not me becoming anything. It’s just part of a whole, but a necessary part of that whole.

Rain splatters the windows. “Come On Eileen” starts blasting from the stereos and we all sing (or scream) along, even though the only words any of us know are “come on, Eileen” and “tu ra lu ra lu ra lu rai ayy.” It doesn’t matter. Jack accidentally takes a right turn instead of a left and drives us into the city of Chicago. We don’t make it too far before he figures out how to turn us around, but my heart is beating in a new kind of fast for those few short minutes as we drive through one of the most dangerous neighborhoods in the Chicagoland area and “Come On Eileen” is still blasting, and everyone’s laughing. When we get back into Oak Park, I realize, that’s it. That’s the thing, the significance: the laughter. The person whose lap I’m sitting on asks if I can shift my weight a little, because their legs are falling asleep.

I say sure. The song ends. None of us know the words to the next one.


  1. ...have you never driven through Austin before?

  2. I liked reading this so much (and it's super well written). It captures a true "teenage experience" and how paradoxical these times can be

  3. I think you capture the "ambiance of the teenage experience" quite well. This story reminds of "The Perks of Being A Wallflower" and maybe that's one way that media has impacted our perception of our lives. We now associate youth with a specific song, and mold our own teenage experience into the archetype portrayed by Emma Watson.

  4. I really liked your story a lot. I thought it was very well written and relatable in part because I really love that song and in part because the whole piling in a car thing is a very teenage like thing to do. And it reminded me to of "The Perks of Being a Wallflower" which is one of my favorite movies.