I was both grateful and surprised that the karaoke started at 7 – but then I noticed the place closed at 10, so the early start time made sense. The sleepy suburbs of Rhode Island don’t end late.
Our day was spent driving around historic Connecticut and Rhode Island. Almost every house was adorned by a barnstar, looking so colonial. We stopped to walk around in one small town established in the 1770s and were probably the only ones not playing Pokémon GO.
We arrived around 6:30 and each ordered the all-you-can-eat $5 pizza. Sure enough, by 7 the show was ready to begin. KJ Jim Jammer, dressed in a tie-dye shirt complete with peace sign, had cued up all the regulars as they came in, so the list began long. Most karaoke places welcome everyone, but this place took that reputation to an extreme. Singers included older men, middle-aged women, and a developmentally disabled woman who kept going up to see when it was her turn again. Once she sang Margaritaville with the bartender, giggling every time she sang “Damn.” In the crowd were a family who played cards to the music and a table that included a blind man and a woman with an oxygen tank (I think those two were the loudest cheerers). The energy there was a constant, low-level fun.
But my favorite and most unanticipated singer, was an eight-year-old girl dressed in a soccer uniform. With the support of her adult companion, she went up to the KJ and carefully chose her songs. First, it was Taylor Swift’s Blank Space with questionably age-appropriate lyrics:
Got a long list of ex-lovers
They’ll tell you I’m insane
‘Cause you know I love the players
And you love the game.
It was hard not to laugh, but I did my best. I didn’t want to seem unsupportive. Then it was time for So What by P!nk:
I guess I just lost my husband
I don’t know where he went
So I’m gonna drink my money
I’m not gonna pay his rent (nope)
I got a brand new attitude
And I’m gonna wear it tonight
I wanna get in trouble
I wanna start a fight
The best part might have been that the girl outlasted me at the pizza parlor that night.
- Location: Indigo Pizza, Coventry, RI
- Miles traveled: 156
- Songs sung: You Make Loving Fun (Fleetwood Mac), Sister Golden Hair (America), If Not For You (Olivia Newton-John)