My eleven year old niece has recently joined me on my Sunday drives.
It actually was something I was considering bringing up to her parents, but Drew and Reba beat me to it.
We’re just getting started, and already have a routine: I drive up. She runs out. We go tooling about for two hours.
The week prior to last was a river road drive, splashing the Jeep in the oversized post-rainstorm puddles. I won a few cool points there.
Last week we stopped into the museum (her suggestion, which I secretly wanted).
This Sunday, if she gets her way, it will be a late lunch of her choice.
Spending time with my niece is one of two reasons I moved here.
The first was to finally heal and recover the lost me, four years after a very public breakup.
Second was so that gem of a person would know me more than the Aunt she sees on Thanksgiving.
Both reasons were the bravest and purest changes I could have made for my sense of self and life balance.
My niece is a friendly cat. A little bossy. But a good egg.
And I’m a challenge to her smarter brain because I can drive and she can’t. This fact, she decided, she’ll give me, for now. Though she wants to know the fuel level and often asked why I don’t use GPS.
We’re striking a pleasant compromise.
Well, sort of.
Mensa, as I call her, has informed me that whilst she’ll defer the driving to me, my tunes absolutely need work.
332 albums and she’s happy with Blondie and Queen. She passed on all new country. Was snarky about Rush. And completely taken aback that I don’t have any YES (oh yeah, that’s Drew daughter alright).
Of note: My brother inexplicably loves YES. Of note: I, rightly, f*cking hate YES.
So, being the super hip Aunty, I told her to give me 3 albums and I’ll add them to my collection for next time.
And I meant it with all my heart, when I said it.
Well, tomorrow’s our day, and after spending a good portion of this morning sampling Taylor Swift, Madonna and Michael Jackson … Yeah, I totally lied to Mensa.
And now I’m wrestling with hell.
Here’s where I’m at:
The simple idea, just the hint, of spending two hours listening to Tay Tay, Ester and MJ? Every Sunday?
I don’t want to.
Please don’t make me.
I get it.
They’re mad talented artists. Lover? Annie? Vogue? I’m aware. MJ was my first ever album.
And who can pronounce the word that means quadramillionbillion albums sold?
Also, talented, because no way can that many people be wrong about a label?
Okay, in my defence, very much like Elvis, I respect stadium filling mega stars.
I just don’t want any of them in my house. Or, in this case, as the tunes going through my Jeep’s speakers.
And it doesn’t help that the red guy on my shoulder keeps whispering: Don’t do it, she’s not your kid.
Man, this blows.
Aw, who am I kidding anyway?
I know what’s about to happen.
I’m going to sacrifice the sanctity of my bespoke, precious music catalogue collection because that eleven year old, in three tries, out-manoeuvred me in the only game that I alone commanded.
If holding onto the integrity of my lyrical preferences is a losing battle, then I’m going to fight it all the way ’til I pick my niece up tomorrow afternoon.
Then, and only then, will I acquiesce.
After all, what else am I supposed to do?
I’m up against Mensa.