The Cars – “A Dream Away”

When: Late August 2009
Where: Bayshore station elevator, Brisbane, California
Who: Nobody
Weather: Warm, clear

When I got back to San Francisco, I made two decisions:

1. To take French class. I already spoke Spanish, which I figured would make French a lot easier. Apparently, a lot of my old freshman floormates had the same idea. And apparently, we were all wrong. Luckily, I got to sit next to a sultry Australian, who I went on a date with before discovering she was completely insane. Then again, she <i>was</i> from Queensland.

2. To ride the T-Car. T was a relatively new line in San Francisco, running the length of the harbor south from Downtown by way of Third Street, and serving the mostly black neighborhoods of Mission Bay, the Dogpatch, Bayview, and Visitacion Valley. Having learned long ago that the best neighborhoods in SF were the ones you never saw on TV, I decided that there must be something to th area and went off one day to give it a look.

My trusty Cars album playing on my iPod, I set out. What I found was a few antebellum houses, abandoned warehouses, boarded-up old brick storefronts, and reedy swamps. T, as it turned out, was part of a plan to revitalized the waterfront; there hadn’t been anything there in the first place. Disappointedly, I waited for the next CalTrain to take me back to the center of town, but none came, so I walked back to T in a disappointed state.

Next: Fools on Parade.

The Clash – “Up in Heaven (Not Only Here)”

When: 2 May 2008
Where: Lake Avenue at Walnut
Who: Nobody
Weather: Warm, clear

Considering she lived 300 miles away, Jeannie was the perfect high school girlfriend. She wasn’t the kind of girl I imagined being with up to that point, but I hadn’t really known or cared until I met someone who loved Arctic Monkeys as much as I did. She introduced me to a whole new concept– one-season wonders. It was she who introduced me to Firefly, and Pushing Daisies was still on, but she was certain it would be canceled. It was just that good, she said. It had to go.

Another thing we had in common was Doctor Who– everybody at my high school watched it, but we were an unusual bunch. I hadn’t imagined that what had previously been a cult phenomenon in the US might now have a further reach. I didn’t have cable at home, so I went to my Bubby’s on South Lake to watch it. It was Series Four– not the greatest moment of the show, but a valued experience nonetheless. But it was late at night, and Pasadena was going through a crime wave.

I cautiously made my way home nonetheless, and as I was going through my Clash phase, Sandinista was my soundtrack of choice. It was just about perfect, walking among the empty bank towers, listening closely to some of the creepier lines…

Next: “I am Gopher Boy, pondering reality.”

Romeo Void – “Never Say Never”

When: 13 January 2006
Where: San Gabriel Boulevard
Who: Jason Sharkey
Weather: Cold, overcast

The last time I ever started a fight was with a guy in my biology class named Jonathan. He waved his crotch in my face and I went for him. But times had changed and with an additional six inches of height I became nicer. My sense of humour improved. Then one day in biology, he got down on his knee, looked me in the eyes, and said, “Sam, never say never.”

“Okay,” I replied.

“No,” he said, “Never Say Never.”

Again I said “Alright.”

S-Curve

It was exceptionally cold that day, nearly freezing, and I was going to take the bus home that day but I hitched a ride home with a family that lived up Lake from me. Between Boba Tea and a stopover at Huntington Hospital, we rounded the S-Curve on San Gabriel Boulevard and a strange song came on the radio. Never Say Never.

It was quite possibly the creepiest moment of my life.

Next: One of my best teachers, one of the best documentaries ever made, and the horrible math class that brought us all together.