The other day I was driving my truck to Hy-Vee and, since I had forgotten my iPod, I did the unfathomable and turned on the radio. There are a handful of central Iowa radio stations that are pretty much variations on a theme, but the station that I tend to gravitate toward on those rare occasions that I listen to the radio is 100.3 The Bus. According to their web site, they "play anything." And they usually do! I remember the first time I ever heard the original version of "Train Train" (which Dolly had given the bluegrass treatment to on The Grass Is Blue) was on The Bus when I was working overnights about a year and a half ago.
Anyway, while I was driving I heard the 10cc song "The Things We Do For Love." I often say that music always takes me back in time. Hearing the song didn't take me back in time to when it was popular (I was Anna's age), but rather to the summer of 1995.
The summer of 1995 is the one that I frequently refer to as the summer of my discontent. It was the singularly worst summer of my life, bar none. I was 23 years old, just graduated from pharmacy school, headed to grad school in the fall, and stuck in a limbo for the entire summer. All my friends had left to start their lives as pharmacists, getting new cars, new clothes, new jobs. I was staying in Iowa City, ready to continue the poverty that was the pursuit of a higher education. And I underestimated the effect that would have on me. I was lonely, adrift and wasn't sure where I was headed.
Couple this with the fact that I had decided to continue living with one of my undergraduate roommates. During those years, there had been three of us: me, another guy and a girl. We were kind of the inverse of Three's Company. We were all pharmacy students although the girl was a year behind me and the other guy. He and I had a very odd relationship, mostly it was antagonistic and competitive, although at times he was really a good friend to me. The girl I had known since grade school although we had never been close. We made a pretty good trio for roommates. I wish I could say the same about when she and I decided to continue living together afterwards.
I won't go into all the details on the infinitessimal chance that she might stumble across my blog and recognize herself, and before your minds all head to the gutter, no, it wasn't like that. For whatever reason, we just didn't see eye to eye on a lot of stuff. In hindsight, I recognize that I was at least half to blame because I was in full avoidance mode. I didn't want to talk to her, I just wanted to wallow and be left alone. But she played her part well though, being very difficult and high-maintenance. Heidi will attest to her shrew-like behavior, as we were dating during the spring of 1996, just before my roommate left for Phoenix and my brother moved in with me.
Anyway, after a summer of dealing with my own personal demons and the demands of a Queen on her throne, I had just had it. My friend Kelly who I have also known since grade school (one of her first memories of me is in the 3rd grade when I was reading The Amityville Horror) came down to Iowa City one weekend in late July/early August quite on a whim. She called up Saturday morning and that afternoon, she was there. I had had a really trying week with my roommate who had been constantly ridiculing the choice of friends that I had managed to make over the summer (not many, but a few.) Once Kelly arrived, it played out like a scene from 9 to 5, when Violet has been passed over for the promotion and the office lush asks her where she's going and Violet says "I'm gonna get drunk!" Yuri, fill in the response here, you know you want to. ;)
What happened next, while not the stuff of legends, is burned into my mind. We went to the Airliner. We ate world-famous Airliner pizza. I drank entirely too much beer and proceeded to get very sloppy drunk. And I bitched. Non-stop. About my roommate, about the summer, about where I was going in my life because I wasn't sure that it was the direction I wanted to go in. She was a dutiful friend and listened without passing judgment. She recognized the vent for what it was -- a vent. It wasn't a call for her to solve my problem. It was me just wanting to be heard, after a summer where I felt like I was screaming and no one could hear me.
I thought of this event again today, for reasons I don't quite remember. But I realized, 13 years after the fact that I never really properly thanked Kelly for her friendship that weekend, when I really needed a friend. So I e-mailed her tonight. I haven't e-mailed her in ages, and it will likely come right out of left field, but she's used to that with me.
And what exactly does this have to do with 10cc?? (named after the volume of the average human male ejaculate! I had no idea!) Well, probably the next weekend one of the radio stations had an all 70s weekend. I made an entire 90-minute mix tape from taping off the radio that weekend. And "The Things We Do For Love" was the last song on the tape. I think it even got cut off.
Talk about a mix tape I wish I could find. I called it K-Billy's Super Sounds of the 70s, as I had just seen Reservoir Dogs for the first time. Yeah, real original Dan.
The weekend before classes started, I went to back to Carroll to a friend's wedding. And at that wedding, I caught the garter. I remember writing in my journal that I didn't expect anything to change despite the fact that the guy who catches the garter is the next to get married. But guess who showed up that November?
Ah pop songs, they are never as simple as they seem.