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Wednesday, March 30, 2005

The Symbiotic Relationship Between Music and Memories

1) A couple Novembers ago, right around the time scarves and gloves are unpacked and returned to dresser drawers, I visited my g/f in Pittsburgh. We’d been dating long-distance for a while, and I was completely in love w/ her. I think you know where this is going. During my three-day visit, she admitted, “I don’t know if I wanna do this long-distance thing anymore.” We both knew she’d be leaving the Steel City in a couple months to take a job that consisted of living somewhere new every two months. Needless to say, even a fool like me realized the end could be approaching. Of course, I prefer to ignore problems (like the time I dislocated my finger) and pray they’ll disappear. This one didn’t.

On my long drive home (nine hours to NH, if I remember correctly), I listened to my latest Dave Matthews CD, which I’d gotten a month earlier. Still absorbing the album, I inadvertently conjoined the songs with that moment. One song in particular, Stay or Leave, stands out with lyrics such as: “Stay or leave, I want you not to go, but you should. It was good as good goes…” The song always reminds me of driving across Pennsylvania’s lonely center, wishing I could go faster and faster as the suddenly bare trees lining the road watched silently from a world much colder than the interior of my car. Regardless of the heater blasting warm air throughout the car, I was cold and numb in disbelief. I realized I still had to face the long, looming New England winter. Whenever I hear that song, I feel just as cold as I did that day.

2) While in AmeriCorps out west, my team was stationed in Sacramento for four-and-a-half long months. To cope w/ the drabness of Dirty Sac, my Ameri-brothers and sisters and I became regulars at a nearby dive bar called Harvy’s. The adopted AmeriCorps bar was also home to local mullets and the coolest bartender ever. The fact he had no more than six teeth made him even cooler. Every Wednesday nite and weekends, the bar featured Karaoke hosted by a small Asian woman. I, of course, am not one to turn down an open mic. What started as a one-time event transformed into legend. Although the group changed slightly from nite to nite, my buddies Charlie and Keelsford never missed a nite w/ me. Our setlist gained fame faster than Jessica Simpson’s untalented sister.

Pretty soon, we began every nite (after each consuming a couple pitchers) with The Bloodhound Gang’s The Bad Touch. You may know it as the “You and me, baby, ain’t nothin’ but mammals, so let’s do it like they do on the Discovery Channel” song. We would dance around like idiots (on purpose), grab Ameri-girls and grind all over ‘em (against the pool table), and let fans sing a verse or two. We’d then throw back more beers before our second number, Eiffel 65’s Blue. At this point in the nite, we’d be too drunk to care about the words and relied on making up our own lyrics. During the chorus, “I’m blue bah-da-dee, dah-da-da, da-bah-dee, da-bah-da,” we’d all make our own gibberish sounds. I would usually stick my lips out and strum them with my finger (a la talking underwater). We, of course, also danced like idiots and grinded on girls we had no interest in (all three of us had g/fs). If there was time for a third song, and we were still conscious, we’d choose one of our closers for the finale, usually Welcome to the Jungle or Livin’ on a Prayer. I don’t remember much from our finales. I do, however, always think back to those simpler days whenever I heard The Bad Touch or Blue. If this doesn’t sound like a great time, you’ve never been in AmeriCorps*NCCC.

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