The Crush

We bought a Toyota Prius last week. We just moved to Los Angeles, and we needed a means of transportation to get us from point A to point B. I wanted to buy a bicycle built for two, but the husband said “no”. You know how people say you can never forget how to ride a bike? He did.

When the saleswoman was outlining the many features of the Toyota Prius I was half-listening. If I couldn’t get my bicycle built for two, I didn’t really care what we got.

“And it comes with Sirius Satellite Radio.” She said, super casually. So casually, in fact, that it hardly registered.

We wrote the lady a check and took the keys for our new car. As I drove home, the husband fiddled with the audio system. “And it comes with Sirius Satellite Radio,” the husband said.

“Uh, I know. I was listening. I pay attention to things like that.” I said, but he and I both knew it wasn’t true.

He continued to fiddle. Then, suddenly, something wonderful happened. A Pearl Jam song came on the radio. I don’t even remember what song it was, but it struck both a metaphorical and literal chord with me.

“Pearl Jam has their own Sirius Satellite radio station.” He said, super casually. So casually, in fact, that it hardly registered.

But then it did, and I braked hard (which you are not supposed to do for the first 800 miles with a Prius).

Some people know that I am a bit of a Pearl Jam fan. My sister introduced me to the band in 1991, shortly after “Ten” was released. I have all of their albums, I have seen them in concert a dozen or so times, and I have followed the trajectory of their 23-year career with great interest. The group members: Jeff Ament, Stone Gossard, Mike McCready, Matt Cameron, and Eddie Vedder are brilliant musicians with a talent for making music that inspires and delights.

There was one member in particular that stood out to a young Kimberly Manky (me). His name was, and is, Eddie Vedder. He sang with such unbridled enthusiasm, and he was, and is, easy on the eyes. He was my inamorato, my heartthrob, my fake boyfriend: my Rushmore.

When I was a teenager I had several large posters of Eddie Vedder tacked up on my wall. Before bed I would kiss each Eddie Vedder face goodnight. Sometimes, with tongue.

It was just a harmless little crush. It didn’t mean anything, and it most certainly did not affect my subsequent relationships in any way, shape or form.

I mean yes, before we got married I had my husband sign an agreement saying that if Eddie Vedder ever propositioned me, I had permission “to make out with him a little and do other stuff, within reason”. My husband was, and is, totally okay with it: he trusts me.

And sure, when Pearl Jam played in Vancouver on September 2, 2009 I had my husband watch for security while I stalked the halls of Eddie’s hotel and looked through a bag of garbage that I thought might be his. It wasn’t, and isn’t weird, because my sister was right there with me, and her husband was also watching for security.

And okay, I got a tattoo of Eddie Vedder’s face on my chest, which my husband does find a little awkward, but only when I undress.

It’s not like I still have a crush on Eddie Vedder. It’s not like I think about him, or dream about him, or drive by his house when I’m in Seattle.

Crushes are just crushes. You outgrow them, you learn from them, you move on.

“Honey.” The light was green. “You can go.” I put my foot on the gas, and the car accelerated, slowly, because it’s a Prius.

I knew it would be the last time I would drive the Prius.

I knew it was safer to ride solo on a bicycle built for two, than drive a car that has Sirius Satellite, because I would only ever listen to Pearl Jam radio. And there was a definite risk of getting swept away with Eddie Vedder’s unbridled enthusiasm… and having a daydream where Eddie Vedder is driving in the car next to me, and I purposefully swerve into his car so we can exchange phone numbers and insurance information.

Point A and point B aren’t too far apart. It’s better/safer for everyone if I just walk.

In my daydreams, I'm Carrie Brownstein and this is real.

In my regular daydream I’m the one on the left.


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