Summer 2001: Analog Polaroids

Music is a time machine and a scrapbook. Three CDs made up the soundtrack of that summer: Frank Sinatra's standards, Foo Fighters Colour and the Shape, and The Misfits Static Age. That's it. When I hear "Witchcraft" my body inhabits 722 Forest St. Apt A. I can taste Carolyn's cheesecake. My nose burns with smell of ash in the air. My toes swim in soaking wet Chucks after a night closing the food court. I can see the chicken wing graveyard Tim and I made while playing Baldur's Gate until dawn. I can hear Tim shouting, "Blaze of glory! I'm a hero!!!"

Perhaps it's why I don't take photographs. The records that defined a time in my life might as well be statues erected in a public square. Analog Polaroids. They will belong to my consciousness for all times. Some break my heart, while others, like the one I'm about to play for you now, are songs unadulterated rapture. It is a three day mix tape I'll never get tired of listening to.

Moving into my first apartment took about 15 minutes. I owned practically nothing: band t-shirts, black Dickies, and a boom box I bought when I was thirteen. Everything else belonged to the rental company. Lime greens, daisy yellows and furniture that had no earthly business in this decade populated our home. A one bedroom apartment divided by two boys involves some funny math. Tim slept in the living room on a futon and I slept in the room. There was some arbitrary rent adjustment, but I'm sure it wasn't fair to Tim. How to do you put a price on a door? None of that mattered at the time.

This tiny kingdom was made possible by pizza. Slinging pies made us free. Ice cream for dinner? Yeah, we did that. Playing Super Metroid until your eyes bled on a 12" screen, we felt like kings.

It happened so fast. Just days after quitting my pet store job, I found a new one. I moved in with my best friend and starting dating the woman I would love for the next half decade. The bed the apartment came with was tiny and the springs pushed through the mattress. The comforter was fifty years old. But the first night I slept next to a beautiful brunette who was worlds smarter than me, my heart almost split a seam. I was surrounded by two of the finest models the good lord ever released to the public.

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