There’s music that’s fun to listen to. There’s songs that help set the mood. There’s lyrics that are poignant and noteworthy. Then there’s those certain tunes that set us down a road to moments that we thought we wanted.
Not too long ago, I laid in bed thinking of my top five 90’s songs. It was a fluffy thought that wasn’t supposed to have any long lasting implications. It was only when I reached my number one that I realized I was building up to a memory. My number one song was Motorcycle Drive-By, by Third Eye Blind. It never hit the radio, it’s not even one of their most popular songs among fans. Yet, it was an obvious choice. There was no debate in my head, the song appeared immediately. Of course, like most things, I couldn’t accept that I just liked it, there had to be a reason. I knew the reason.
I’ve always felt like I had the ability to understand things that were beyond my age. This may seem like I’m boasting, but really it’s only because I think about things far past what they should. This has given me a healthy dose of stress and digestive problems (I almost developed an ulcer at the age of 9 after convincing myself that an asteroid was going to kill us all. Thanks Michael Bay.) This ability often manifested itself in lyric interpretation. Every song I heard I felt the need to dissect and devour. This of course, happened with Motorcycle Drive-By.
My interpretation was as follows: Someone sees another. They love them, but they know that after their meeting, they’ll never see each other again. That’s the simple version that I’m giving. If I was talking to you face to face about this, I’d probably still be talking long after the time you took to read this.
The strange thing was that, after hearing the song, I found myself longing. I was far too young to understand the intricacies, the terrible joys, the heart wrenching moments and all the beauty that love comes with. I probably still don’t understand them. Nonetheless, I wanted what the singer had. Even though I was aware that it wasn’t necessarily a happy experience, it was an experience he had, and I coveted it.
Flash forward approximately nine years and I find myself, 18 years old, on a plane to Boston. I’m nervous, I’m excited and I’m questioning every aspect of the trip. I wish I could say I was running away, seeking out my own way, something more…writer-ly. But the truth was, I was going for a girl. I shouldn’t say girl, she was something like five or six years older than me. So, there I was, flying through the sky, going as far as I’ve ever gone.
We meet. And for the next four days I convince myself that I’m actually living for the first time in my life. I felt like an adult. The truth is, we spent most of the time laying around, smoking weed and having sex with a small tour of some landmarks. Although my inexperience made things awkward, at least for me, I can only imagine what she thought. But, in a way, it was perfect. It’s exactly what I wanted. When i think back the only word I can come up with, is saccharine. For a few brief days I actually had the carefree life I thought everyone else had, that always seemed out of reach. Not too long after the trip I began my journey into actual adulthood, with all it’s wonderful trappings, which may be why those four days are so sweet on my mind.
Eventually, I had to go back home. This is when I realized, that I was getting what I wanted. The way we sat on the steps leading to my terminal. The way it seemed like we were both pushing so hard for a romance movie farewell. It was all telling me that no matter how hard I tried, no matter how hard she tried, there was just no way the universe was going to let us see each other again. Those four days were too good. Anything more would spoil them. It was a singular event that didn’t need a sequel. We may not have actually realized it at the time, but we would. I boarded my plane and came home. She stayed there. We fell out of touch not long after. I still wonder how things turned out for her. I mean I suppose I could find out, with the socially connected world we live in now. But I most likely never will.
Eventually, I found actual love. With all the the intricacies, the terrible joys, the heart wrenching moments and all the beauty that love comes with. I’ve had countless beautiful days and soul crushing ones as well. I wouldn’t trade it for anything. I would never go back to those four days in Boston, if that meant losing the ones that came after. Yet, I don’t think I can ever forget about the time I got what I wanted, realized that dreams born in youth are tainted by age and that that isn’t really a bad thing.
It took awhile before I could listen to that song without reliving Boston. Thankfully, I can now. Because, it’s a pretty good song.