While strolling down Main Street toward the Seal Beach Pier to catch the sunset last weekend, I heard an old familiar song in its original form sung by Bill Haley and His Comets, “Rock around the Clock.” I turned my attention toward a show-case, candy apple red, 1950’s Chrysler at the corner which I thought was waiting for the light to turn green, but at a closer range, I realized that it had parked. I stood behind the lamppost and stared for some time, bewitched, trying to play coy as “You aint nothen but a Hound Dog” by Elvis Presley sprang from the passenger side window.
The gray haired man in the driver’s seat stared straight ahead. His left arm stretched out as his cigarette clutching hand rested on the steering wheel. His right hand held a “to go” coffee cup. I watched him take a drag from the cigarette, then a sip from the cup without losing his stare, as if reminiscing of the days past. Perhaps he named her Peggy Sue, where as a young rebel he’d cruise her down Ocean Avenue impressing the beachgoers. Or, as my imagination emerged, a name more menacing like Christine, possessed by supernatural powers. Whatever lingered in his thoughts, the music surely took possession.
The lights on the pier illuminated, and after the fifth rockabilly song blared; the sun sank in the horizon. I heard the engine purr and the exquisite machine pulled from the curb and drove away. I couldn’t help but feel a strange sadness. Perhaps this was a ritual, and I hoped the man behind the wheel had something more in his life than living in the past.
Causes Lisa Carlson Supports