Performer: Pat Benatar
Songwriter: Billy Steinberg
Original Release: Precious Time
Definitive Version: None.
When it came to video channels in the early Eighties, Pat Benatar was everywhere. It only seemed like every other song was one of her miming on stage while wearing almost impossibly tight pants (which did nothing for me, by the way).
Jin loved Pat Benatar; I didn’t hate her, but I certainly wasn’t as into her as seemingly I should have been. This song was different. The first time I heard Precious Time—and I’m sure it would have been on MTV—its more-bluesy sound pulled me right in, and it’s been one of my favorite songs since.
When we first started to date, Beth and I didn’t waste much precious time in the summer of 1982. After our first date in June, subsequent dates came fast and furious.
Watching fireworks at Northam Park—the site of baseball triumphs—on the Fourth of July was particularly memorable, not only for the location but also that we spent most of it making out. In fact, that’s pretty much how all of our dates ended after that that summer.
Beth’s curfew started out at 10 and quickly went to 11 but went no later. (Beth was 15 after all.) There would be heck to pay if I didn’t have her home by my deadline, but it turned out that all that mattered was that Beth was home by the appointed hour, not necessarily that she was in for the night.
Sometimes her parents would be awake waiting in their family room, and on those nights, after checking in, we could steal a few minutes together on the wrought-iron loveseat on the front porch. But sometimes Beth’s parents wouldn’t be waiting up at all. Beth was given a strict curfew, but she also was left on her honor. As long as the only question that was asked was “What time did you get home?” she didn’t have to lie.
That slack oversight wasn’t enough to push trying to sneak into the basement, but it made the front porch fair game. We’d go out, I’d bring Beth her home by 11 and then we’d sit on her front porch—out of sight to any prying eyes—for the next hour or so “saying goodnight.” Every night we’d push our affection just a little bit further—hold the kiss a little longer, use a little more tongue, move the hands a little closer to the bounty beneath her blouse. It was all new and delightful.
Inevitably, those late nights ended up with me pushing something else—my car. The street where Beth lived had a slight incline, not enough to make much difference if you wanted to go bombing down it on a bike or a skateboard, but enough that if you put your car in neutral and gave it a shove, you could get it to roll slowly down the hill.
On nights where we might even have crossed into the next day, we didn’t want to alert Beth’s parents to exactly when she was coming in for the night. So, I’d put the Fart in neutral, pull the parking brake and give it a push from the door and frame. As soon as it started to move, I’d jump in and let it roll a hundred yards or so before I’d start the engine and drive off.
Now, I suppose this is the part where I tell you that hilarity ensued one night when I slipped and my car went rolling unoccupied into a cop car or something typically sit-comical. It never happened, even in the winter.
Later, after Beth and I had been dating a while and Beth’s curfew became nonexistent, we’d reminisce about the crazy days of our youth when I’d have to sneak off in my car—both of us floating on air and thinking that Beth’s parents were none the wise about when she was coming in for the night.
Which, of course, they were.