It happens when you’re driving home one evening and daylight savings is over so it’s already dark and for some reason it reminds you of your childhood. Maybe it’s because winter nights in your childhood seem more memorable for some reason. Driving when it’s dark and cold and you can use your breath to mist up the windows and draw pictures. And in this moment of nostalgia you find the frequency for ABC radio, which you listened to a lot growing up. Especially Norman the Quiz, with its distinct theme song, and sound clips that have etched themselves in your memory, like the way they said multiple choice.
So you’re driving along and it’s an especially cold and clear night where you can see the same stars you could see when you were little, and the quiz comes on. But it’s got a different host and a different theme song and they use a different sound clip to announce multiple choice questions and it’s this sudden reminder that you can never go back. Those memories of sitting around the dinner table with the family, listening to the quiz and getting excited when you think you know one of the answers. Never again will you hear James O’Loughlin’s banter, or count on your fingers how many you got right or wondering if you should call up because maybe, with your whole family as a brains trust, you could win this round, make it to the end with its iconic fanfare.
But instead it’s a different lady who seems lovely but just can’t give you what you want. And you try to listen for a while but it’s just not the same and it sets off that gnawing feeling in the pit of your stomach that you’re not too fond of, that somethings can never go back to the way they were. And while it’s exciting because it means there’s so many ways your life can change and become new and evolve, well, it’s sad too.