Jennifer Pickrell

YA Writer

Things I Love – Runaway Edition


Because Valentine’s Day is only a few weeks away, I thought I’d mention some things each Tuesday that I love.

I’ve never been one of those “Holy crap, it’s Valentine’s Day, buy me jewelry, flowers, etc!” types of people.  I’m more likely to demand candy, but that’s just because I want candy.  I demand it most days.

But one V-Day does stand out to me.

My friend and I stopped in this Amoco station to say hi to one of our friends who worked there and so I could eat a sub from the Blimpie inside.  We sat in the little dining area, complaining about what losers guys were.  We were both single and the guys we liked were oblivious or unavailable, and were off on some grand, band adventure (damn those musicians).

And since we were only about 21, the fact we had NO plans on this magic holiday of holidays made us feel kinda low.  To cheer ourselves up, we bought scratch-off lottery tickets from the ticket vending machine thingy.  It wasn’t about winning, it was mostly to annoy the guy we’d dubbed “lotto creep” who was this old man who was always in there and who practically guarded the machine, like he was the only one allowed to buy tickets from it.

We browsed the touristy postcards and laughed at this inside joke we had about how my friend had once looked at “Virginia, home of eight Presidents” and twisted it in her mind so it said “Virginia, home of BEEF Presidents” and we imagined eight people made of steak.  Even odder she’d misread it, considering she was a vegetarian.

So we were slowly cheering ourselves up, when the song “Runaway Train” came on over the speaker system and we completely lost it, practically on the floor laughing.  (Lotto-creep was not amused).  It’s obviously not a funny song, but if you were a teen in the 90s and heard it four million times, the song sorta takes on this mythical quality and loses its meaning.

Instead of an anthem for missing/runaway children, it became a sign to my friend and I that one day we’d look back on our night at the Amoco and remember it fondly.

We were obviously right.  Hearing that song makes me happy.  Unless I really stop to think about what it’s about.  Then I feel guilty for laughing.

Does anyone else have a song like that, one that makes them smile, even though it probably shouldn’t?


Author: Jennifer Pickrell

I write YA contemporary filled w/ romance, angst & family drama. Things I like: cats, snacks, baseball, green tea, taking pictures of trees & movies so bad, they’re good.

8 thoughts on “Things I Love – Runaway Edition

  1. Not one that I can recall. I’m *that girl* who cries while listening to happy songs on the subway because they’re just ‘so beautiful!’ and happy things are oh so rare! Oh my gosh. Anyway, what I meant to say before I admitted this, is: I love this story!

  2. Runaway Train! That song made me cry so hard in the 90s, whenever I heard it or saw the video. Then I started rewatching the video online, recently, and it’s kind of unintentionally hilarious. It’s just so earnest and exaggerated at the same time. . . . I’m going to stop before I sound like a heartless person. Runaways are not a laughing matter.
    Great story 🙂

  3. I totally understand this. Even to this day when I hear Soul Asylum, I kinda giggle. (And wish for flannel.)

  4. Your Valentines escapades remind me of that movie Reality Bites when they’re in the gas station belting out “My Sharona.” I love that part 🙂

    And I used to LOVE Soul Asylum. Not for this song, but for that song that had the video with Claire Danes sprouting wings in an outhouse. I thought the lead singer was so sexy for some reason. I saw them in concert once and it made my decade.

    I don’t think I have any sad songs that make me laugh, but I do laugh at a lot of sad things that I shouldn’t. It’s a sort of catharsis–at least that’s what I tell myself so that I don’t feel like a total jerk, lol.

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