I have a weakness for Chicago ballads. Ever since those wildly romantic Karate Kid movies started coming out, I have been in love with the Peter Cetera-era Chicago ballads. As a kid, I sung them into my hairbrush every time one came on the radio. Later, I learned that one of my very best college friends, Meg, was also a Chicago ballad junkie.
One of my fondest college memories is of Meg, Erin, Mary Ellen, and I sitting on the floor of one of our dorm rooms, hunched over a pizza, various books and papers scattered everywhere, probably during a finals week sometime. Meg may or may not have had a bottle of Boone's then, too. Anyway, Meg popped in the Greatest Hits 1982-1989 album and I think the rest of the evening was spent singing into beer bottles instead of hairbrushes.
Still another Chicago ballad memory I have is from one summer when I visited the Cape with a certain former boyfriend. One afternoon we drove to Boston, listening to the very same Hits album in the car. Honestly, I can't remember who brought this traveling music along - he or I - but it made for an interesting car ride, nonetheless.
At that time in the relationship, I knew in my heart of hearts, that things were not going to work out. That was our last vacation together and I knew it.
We rode up Route 6 in his 1993 Geo Metro Convertible ("formerly-pink-now-painted-red-because-I'm-not-gay"). I got a little teary listening to "Hard to Say I'm Sorry" and "You're the Inspiration." We were not soulmates afterall, and it turns out we had a pretty messy breakup when it eventually happened seven years ago. We don't speak to this day, probably because I sued him for back rent.
And now, I am in the midst of the demise of yet another relationship - a marriage coming to an end. Finally. Thank God. The irony is overwhelming. The day the divorce papers came in the mail, the first song I heard in the car on the way to practice that night was "You're the Inspiration."