I am Beyond Cool
Today I heard a song on the radio that I had never heard before that I really, really liked. I went to Amazon to buy it as an MP3 download but I had to look it up with key words because I didn’t know the band. Apparently I am one of the last people in the world to hear this song for the first time because it was originally released in 1998. It’s by Semisonic. You know them, right? The song is so old that Amazon sells a karaoke version.
I stopped listening to music on the radio a couple years ago when I got the CD player installed in my Dodge Caravan Sport gold minivan. Talk about cool! That car even has its own song!
The vehicle is loaded with options but the selling point was the entertainment center with the pull down screen in the back. Never mind that it was already five years old and had over 60,000 miles on it. We had to have a way to keep the boys from driving us nuts on long trips. We might upgrade it from VHS someday too!
Thumbing through a popular entertainment magazine recently while waiting for the van to get its annual checkup that would undoubtedly set us back another thousand bucks (and did), I was struck by the fact that the names and faces of the people I am supposed to idealize now are completely unfamiliar. But the interesting thing to me was that I could care less whether I know the difference between “LiLo” as in Lindsay Lohan or “Lilo” as in the cartoon character. I am SO OVER that whole scene. Because I am beyond cool.
There are still a few oldie moldy goldies around that the mags seem to like – Tom Cruise, John Travolta, Kirstie Alley. Do you think that it’s significant that all three of them are Scientology devotees?
Ok, so coolness might be passing me by. Now I know why so many old people listen to talk radio. The only familiar music we hear is when we make a call to the doctor and have to sit there on hold for half an hour. One time I caught myself humming along with those geezers The Beatles and I totally forgot who I was calling by the time someone finally answered!
Being beyond cool doesn’t mean you can’t still flirt with the concept now and then. One day I was in the drive-thru lane at a Burger King and the car behind me had the volume cranked up to emphasize the point that HE was cool. I was feeling kinda frisky that particular day so I cranked up the radio on my mini-van to match him decibel for decibel. The speakers in that van put out some great sound and they came standard.
We were only a few cars away from the drive-up window and when I got there, being beyond cool but also possessing good manners, I turned off the radio. When I glanced up at the twenty-something employee I saw that she was flanked by two others who were all grinning at me broadly. My interpretation at the time was that they thought I was cool because I was playing this little game with the kid in the car behind me. I suppose there could have been another interpretation.
You may have come to the conclusion that I am not happy about being beyond cool. This presumes that I had at some point in my life actually been “cool.” Frankly, I don’t believe the term was ever ascribed to me. Still, I did my part to maintain a high degree of awareness of cool culture. And yet, I do feel a twinge at sensing that what is currently cool is not my idea of cool.
Still, I don’t want to go lightly into geezerdom, at least not yet. So I have developed ways of swimming against the tide that would seek to pull me down into the netherworld of the un-cool.
If you’re driving along and you see a fifty-something woman in a gold mini-van wearing earbuds that are plugged into a BlackBerry, it might be me. I have Semisonic and Feist on my MP3 playlist. But when Queen comes on with “We Will Rock You” – especially when The Steelers are in the Super Bowl — I tend to get an uncontrollable urge to play backup drums on the steering wheel and dash board. I do not resist the urge.
Because I am a mature driver, I have pretty good insurance. And I don’t care what anyone thinks about me rocking out to Queen in my Dodge Mini-Van. Because I am beyond cool.