KTNQ – Jack Armstrong – May 4, 1979 – Gordon Skene Sound Collection –
May 1979 – You’re seventeen, and the lines to get gas are rumored to be 2 miles long in some places. Some people are waiting for two hours, only to be told there’s no gas. People are pissed.
But you really don’t care. Because this week you passed your drivers test and you’re official – you have a license. And you got your first car yesterday; a 1965 Plymouth Baracuda. Yellow with Black interior; automatic, white-wall tires and an AM radio. First thing on your list of things to get is a cassette stereo with FM. You want to listen to KROQ, but you have to settle for 10-Q and Jack Armstrong while you wait for gas. Your car – your wheels – your tunes. You can go anywhere and do anything you want, and you don’t have to wait for a bus, or wait for your friends. You can go out on dates and be alone and not get crammed in somebody else’s car with seven other people, trying to make out. The possibilities are endless with this new-found freedom.
And so is the line for gas. A station attendant walks down the line of cars carrying a strangely scribbled sign; 5 gallons maximum. People groan and yell at the kid with the sign, like it’s his fault. You know him – he’s in your English class. His dad owns a liquor store – you shake your head and shoot him a grimace of sympathy. It’s not his fault – besides, he’s your source for Mickey’s Big Mouths and Bud Lights.
You really don’t like Disco much – you wish they would play The Clash. But it’s music and it’s taking your mind off waiting – you see the pumps 5 cars away. You think about the weekend – you wonder how far 5 gallons will get you. The Attendant with the sign walks up to your car carrying another sign – he sticks on top of your trunk. Last Car.
You feel lucky. Being seventeen is not so bad after all.