The street was lined with bricks, and the car, being from the Mesozoic era, made special noises driving over them. Riding in the car with my father, I sat in the front passenger seat, no seatbelt. I opened and shut the metal rectangle attached to the door handle – the ashtray that my parents never used because it was too small. It was not the usual way home so the car didn’t often make the sound. But sometimes it did because the street or streets were nearish enough. Bumpy bumpy, the car went, but it was musical too. I set my ears up like a dog to a whistle.
I sat in a diner booth with my father on the bumpy street. He gave me a coin to put in the mini-jukebox that sat against the wall on each table. Each table could have its own concert, and the diner would be awash in noise if everyone did so. But we were the only ones interested in the music. It was morning, I think. It was early in my reading career. I flipped the flipper to find it, the song I loved, You’re So Vain by Carly Simon. I pressed the letter button and then the number button to indicate my interest. I willed the music to enter my body as I stared out the glass plate window ahead.
The waitress worked behind a counter that was separate from the booths. She could press the lever and make soda pop appear. It was like a dream come true. When the song was over, I told my father that I wanted to be a waitress when I got older. “Why is that?” he asked, blowing his nose in his cotton handkerchief.
“So I can drink as much soda as I want,” I said, my eyes not leaving the dispenser.
When we moved out of our house to another one, maybe a year later, the streets offered up different sounds. Not so melodic.