July’s month of play is dragging on, and it’s complete drudgery. This weekend, I forced myself to go joyriding in my dad’s Firebird. As you can see from my expression, I was miserable.
I have it on good authority that Prince was a master of joyriding. My scientific evidence is a casual chat I had with a woman in a store here, who told me that her husband was a police officer who had once pulled over Prince for speeding. He walked up to Prince’s purple prowler and said, “Can I see some identification?”
“My music is my i-den-ti-fi-cation,” Prince replied, stretching out each syllable.
God love him. He was always on-brand.
People think of Prince as a nimble, shape-shifting creative genius, and while certainly, that is half the picture, Prince also was someone who bore quite a lot of responsibility on his shoulders. Photographer Steve Parke, at an Edina book signing for his “Picturing Prince” (Cassell; 2017), shared that during the video shoot for “The Greatest Romance Ever Sold,” Prince opened up to him. Prince told Parke that before a video shoot, he wouldn’t eat for a few days so that he would have enough energy to perform at his best on camera. (Thus, the theme for my first month of living like Prince — fasting). As Prince looked around the room at all the individuals working on the shoot, he told Parke about the pressure he felt knowing that he was paying those people’s bills.
When you have a lot riding on you, it’s easy to become anxious and worried. It’s easy to find yourself trapped in the grown-up drudgery of jobs and mortgages and everyone else’s needs. You might have a job where expectations are high. Or a new baby (the worry about that and resulting inability to sleep nearly did me in, lo these many years ago). Heck, even this blog, a place that is a writing playground, can stress me out if I let my perfectionistic tendencies take over.
Prince knew how to light himself up and connect with his playful side. He’d hop in his purple Prowler and squeal out of Paisley Park. Sometimes he would cruise westward for a couple of miles, until he arrived at the sylvan paradise that is the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum where, according to Arboretum folks, he would cruise the back roads.
Joyriders don’t need a destination. Joyriding, my friends, has no purpose other than joy. There’s no agenda and no to-do list. Pull over at a Dairy Queen (this is Minnesota, after all, home base of that venerable soft-serve institution, and there seems to be either a Target or Dairy Queen on every corner). Stop at a farmers’ market or a secondhand store. Why not!