Talk about a time when you were driving and you sang in the car, all alone. Why do you remember this song and that stretch of road?
Somewhere along the way, I lost my voice.
Not literally, but you know that feeling when you go to open your mouth and it feels like whatever sound you’re trying to make gets stuck in the back of your throat and won’t come out.
When I was a child, I was always singing. My best friend was my tape player and I’d sing along for hours to the things my mom taped off of records and CDs for me, and then I’d go to school and sing my heart out in music class, and in chorus, and I’d get picked for solos and everything.
Sometime in my adolescence, I stopped being able to do that. I couldn’t just sing whenever I wanted. I’d get choked by self-consciousness. Singing became my little secret that I became afraid to share with the world because I was afraid I’d be told to shut up, that I was ruining the song.
My slight reprieve came when I got my license at age 19.
I could hop into the car by myself and crank up my radio and just sing along at top volume without having to worry about a soul hearing me or judging me. I was never much of a driver for pleasure, I was far too nervous for that, but those moments alone in the car were pure bliss that I could never achieve at home with my parents or in the apartments I lived in with my ex.
It was a frequent enough occurrence that I can’t recall what I sang, though I assume it was probably early 2000s pop and 1960s tunes, and often I would choose to drive the New Hampshire back roads instead of taking the numbered routes.
All I knew was that for the length of a car ride, my voice was free.