Modest Mouse – “Dashboard”

When: August 2007
Where: My mom’s car
Who: My mom
Weather: Hot

The pedigree was undeniable, the beat inescapable. Johnny Marr’s guitar shone with distinction. I realized what I was hearing right away. In future period pieces, it was inevitable, I imagined, that this would be the song that says to the world, “Hey, it’s 2007!” Just listening to it made me feel effortlessly cool. School was coming, senior year, and I was certain to have the adventure I was dreaming of. Or maybe I was just thinking too hard.

Next: Returning to the Strokes.

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Modest Mouse – “Float On”

When: 10 April 2004
Where: San Marino Pool and Patio parking lot
Who: My mother
Weather: Warm, sunny

In April, it became clear that I was going to Don Bosco Technical Institute. Applying for Catholic high school is a lot like applying for college: I had my top choice, the preppy La Salle, and my second choice Bosco, where I really wanted to go. Knowing I would go there was an enormous relief. I could go to school without having to worry about girls, avoid all the rich proto-frat boys, and be a nerd, which wasn’t cool yet.

But back at Barnhart, the pressure had only become greater. My crush on Alex had gotten worse and got me nowhere, but I couldn’t stop having feelings. I confessed it all to her at an inter-school dance, but it didn’t make me feel any better.

When I say it was sunny, I mean California sunny. There was not a cloud in the sky burning electric blue, there was not a spot within miles where the sun did not touch. It was under this sun, the day after the dance, that my mother pulled in to buy patio furniture. I don’t remember why I came in, but this song came on and I opted to stay in the car and listen. And I felt a lot better. I quit guitar lessons.

Next: Making drama and picking sides.