This little game I play




For almost every moment of my life worth remembering I guarantee you deep within my psyche there is a song intrinsically tied to it.

So occasionally I like to put the old itunes library on shuffle and play this little game I like to call, "When I listen to", the rules are easy, a song comes on and undoubtedly I can tell you the memory or feelings that pops up when I listen to that song.

In tonight's game of Russian Roulette, (I call it this because obviously some songs bring better memories while some can make you feel like an emotional cutter crying in the corner) but, alas tonight we've got a young and vibrant memory!  (whew)!

Reel Big Fish: Alternative, Baby

When I listen to Reel Big Fish's "Alternative, Baby" I am instantly 17 years old and I am sitting in the passenger seat of a sea green colored Toyota Tercel.  I am being driven around the suburban sprawl that is Aurora, CO.  The driver is a boy that was the cause of all of my holed up in my room listening to Sarah McLachlan sessions.  It was the 90's; he had sideburns and smoked cigarettes.  He was the stuff my Dylan McKay dreams were made of, except he could sing.  Everclear, The Refreshments, Reel Big Fish, you name it.

When the song would get to the chorus, "Hey little alternative girl, say don't you want to be my friend?  You know I'm singing all my songs for you but it's alright, you don't understand!" I would convince myself that I really was his little alternative girl, and when I wasn't zooming around town in his Tercel I would play the song in my room dancing all around high on the innocence and hope that can truly only infect the unjaded.

I can still see the way he would put that cigarette to his lip and ash it out the cracked window, he would inhale and blow his smoke to his left out the window.  In my memory it's always raining.  It's hard to remember just how he could smoke, shift gears, and keep singing every word to every song and looking at me on particular lines.  It truly was a private performance as we rolled through intersections where the green lights shined in the puddles on the road.

I remember when we were first getting to know each other and I was trying to impress him with all the "cool" people I knew, except in reality I was only a mere acquaintance to these people, he stopped me in the middle of my story and asked me, "Why do you care so much about those people and what they think?" And there it was.  An alternative.  A proposition.  Karstee, you don't have to try to fit in with these people, this is where you belong.  And from that moment I was free.  Free to be me.

The rest of high school is filled with memories of him.  And I'm sure that half of my music catalogue could bring up different memories of him... laying on the hood of the car looking at stars, swinging on the front porch swing in the middle of the night, our sleepovers that came much later after high school; but when Reel Big Fish's, "Alternative, Baby" comes on I am forever 17 and cruising around with him.