now playing: air supply, “even the nights are better”
it’s at times like today, when i’m sitting here with a winamp playlist full of songs like this, that i wonder if every generation ahead of us will be as forgiving with their nostalgic tendencies as we’ve been thus far. i mean, seriously – if i were able to be totally objective about it, why on God’s green earth would i be sitting here listening to this song?
well, because when i listen to it, i remember the summer i started working for the “cool radio station” in my hometown – WKWX. there were two stations there, a country station (which i had worked for already), and K-93, which was what most of the kids in my high school listened to…and thus, the place i wanted to work. i wanted to be a celebrity with my classmates, and i saw that gig as my ticket to being famous, man.
in my high school, there was a pretty severe class separation between the farmer kids, the dirt poor, white trash trailer park kids – and the kids whose families were significantly better off than the rest.
i’ve found myself thinking about that particular time of my life somewhat more than i normally would ever since my recent trip home, and i’m not sure why those few summers stand out…probably for reasons no different than anyone else looks back fondly on their youth – the endless possibilities that lay before you, the abandon with which you live your life, the melodrama and intensity that encompass so many relationships and actions at that point in your short existence – it all combines to make those days one long rush of adrenaline and despair, sometimes with both rushing through your body simultaneously.
at that point in your life, it’s all written off to youth. at my current age, it would be suspected as insanity.
and yet, i use music as a tool for my sense of nostalgia…i find myself listening to air supply and being in the control room at K-93 for the first time and hearing music over those huge, amazing sounding control room monitors that they had there…and being a teenager again, and knowing with complete certainty that at some point, some day, i’d be leaving there to find something amazing to do with my life that was a perfect fit for all the things that i wanted to do with it. knowing also, though, that i somehow had to survive long enough to have that freedom and take advantage of it.
some days, that was easier said than done.
the sad truth, though, is that when you’re at that point in your life, the future is a precipice that you stand on the edge of…with virtually no choice but to fall. if you have a sense of purpose regarding what it is that you see as your destiny, you can’t wait to get to the edge and jump.
i couldn’t wait to jump, regardless of any sense of purpose i might’ve had, because i couldn’t imagine a future worse than what i perceived my present as being. in retrospect, my vision of where it was that i was supposed to be and what i was to do with my life was a little unrealistic – made so by my failure to consider a few basic truths. one, that the future wouldn’t wait for me to get there at my leisure – time would march on while i was taking the occasional (sometimes lengthy) detour from my path…and when i returned to it, i would find that the view from the road was a little more different each time i got back on track – and that times changed, people changed, music changed, and….yeah, even i changed over the endless parade of hours and days that somehow became years – and then, decades.
as would just about anyone my age, i look back over the miles i’ve accumulated with some definite ideas about what i would’ve changed if i could…but to think of life that way is to discount the importance of some of the things that happen as a by-product of some of those things that we can’t wait to go back and “fix”, given the chance.
for instance, if i correct what i see as my biggest mistake (my first marriage), then i eliminate one of my greatest gifts (jayda and dylan). keeping that in mind usually cures me of extended bouts of revisionism, but it doesn’t make me immune from it.
today, i seem to be content with reliving select moments from my first K-93 summer – driving around town in my mom’s 1976 two-door black monte carlo with melody and with my friends, playing in the great band i was in that year, engaging in my continuing crush on sharon cummings and downing many unnecessary milkshakes at the mug & cone as a result, and being a minor celebrity with all the people from high school who wouldn’t have spoken to me if not for my job.
it’s a very low-cost way to keep my mind off other things.