Whenever I hear Bob Seger singing "Night Moves," the first thing I think about is: What does "tight pants points hardly reknown" mean? I know that the rest of the song is about making out in the full heat of adolescent passion, but I have no idea what those points are. Then almost as quickly I remember my own back seat memories.
What I remember most is that I wasn't there. Instead, I was such a good friend to my buddy, who was a year older but had not yet made the commitment to buying his own car, that I drove him and his girlfriend around the dark cul de sacs and mountain lanes of Boulder. I listened to the stereo while they steamed up the back window. Every so often I would get a command from the rear, like "Change the station," or "Hold my watch." These things I did dutifully for a pair of reasons. First of all, I was so desperate to please my upperclassman friend that it never occurred to me that when asked the question, "Will you drive me and my date around this Friday night?" I could answer "no." Secondly, I imagined that I was somehow involved in this tempestuous love story that had me as the go-between, the savior of their relationship. I was doing something almost literary in its nobility.
Or maybe I was simply being used. Looking back, it is the portion of my youth that I have the hardest time reconciling. I gave up plenty of evenings when I could have been pursuing my own companion for my own back seat. I could have been home watching "Fantasy Island." I could have found a job babysitting and been paid to watch "Love Boat." Instead, I was using my gas and spare time to drive this tangled mess of heavy breathing around the outskirts of town. It's a self-esteem thing, and I wish that I could go back and tell my sixteen-year-old self to get some esteem, but it turns out that it was one of those events that helped to shape me. And make me flinch every time I hear Bob Seger.