One of my favorite things to do when driving somewhere with my kids is to put on “My Name is Jonas” from Weezer’s Blue Album. My wife and I have a long history with Rivers Cuomo’s band. She has fond memories of going to see a concert with her dad, who had just come off a very long shift. I remember they were popular when I was in High School right about the time when my friends and I got driver’s licenses and started hanging out with people from other schools and parts of towns. “Buddy Holly” and “Island in the Sun” featured prominently in the soundtrack for our summertime drives, where we would drive too fast around the Salt Lake Valley late into the night, eating junk food and looking for something to do.
In the summer of 2002 I was heading for my Senior year of High School. It seemed like my social life had slowed down a bit, a huge tragedy for a 17 year old. I decided to visit my grandparents in a small town in Eastern Minnesota. While traveling I read (Heart of Darkness as I recall), sketched in my trusty notebook, and listened to Pinkerton. The traveling on that trip was pretty memorable. September 11th had happened the year before and airport security was out of control. Somehow my ticket got picked for their random security checks and I was pulled out of line for special searches at the security line, and the gate, and then again at the gate in the next airport (in case I had acquired some sinister tools while in mid-flight I guess). This happened flying to and from Minnesota. The trip was great, and I still think about it from time to time.
I don’t think it’s unique that my life had a soundtrack in my teenage years. It’s not really that way for me anymore, but every once in a while I hear something and it sends me back. It seems nostalgic and I catch myself missing the wasted nights driving that Saab around with the windows down. Then I remember what it was actually like being a teenager, and am grateful that it only gets further behind me. I didn’t know it at the time but listening to those songs was a form of time travel, I’m just stepping into the time machine today.