Illustration by Kaitlin Vracin-Harrell

Four minutes of Funk on the Freeway

A highway performance, with robots

By Taylor Vracin-Harrell, Contributor

Illustration by Kaitlin Vracin-Harrell, Contributor

I was on the 405 North, crawling through traffic in what seemed to be the busiest part of L.A. My car is an old Volvo station wagon named Marv, whose stereo system consists of a broken cassette player and radio. Marv is a gas-guzzling Swede, so in an effort to save gas, I try to keep the A.C. off. As a result, the windows are often down as I drive around.

There’s not much to do by yourself in heavy traffic other than listen to the radio, so I did just that. I was skipping through FM channels when I hit upon a special song — “Get Lucky” by Daft Punk. For some reason, I decided to activate my theatre kid nature and put on a show. I opened my windows and blasted the song out to my fellow stalled cars, singing along at the top of my lungs.

Look, I’m sure someone out there was not enjoying it. I can neither sing with the ease of Pharrell Williams nor make cool robot sounds like the robo-dudes of Daft Punk. But the lyrics, with themes of having fun in the moment, spoke to me. Singing and dancing along in the car felt like a real moment of unity. People turned and looked with smiles on their faces as I yell-screamed “WE’RE UP ALL NIGHT TO THE SUNNNN.” A group of young guys in the carpool lane turned back as they passed me with surprise and delight on their faces. I locked eyes with a woman who shot me a bemused little grin.

For four minutes, I was in a musical. Whenever I rode in my parent’s car as a kid, I always liked looking at the other people on the road and wondering what they were up to. This time, I knew what we were all doing together: Sharing the experience of being in traffic and listening to this wild person screaming along to, “Get Lucky.”