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Living in Chicago, by way of Dayton, OH and Havertown, PA. Contact me at atozpod@gmail.com.



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Wednesday, April 30, 2008

from Hopscotch to How Do You Like...

Day 679, Session 125:
Tuesday April 29th - At the desk scoping Craig's List for work and then running a hard mile around the neighborhood.
First song: Hopscotch by Mothfight!
Last full song: How Do You Like the Sound of That? by Amplified Heat
Progress: 2007-2031 of 5907
Total Songs Heard: 1613

After my senior year of high school I finally moved to Ohio to live with my parents. (I think I mentioned that they moved after my junior year, but allowed me to stay back and finish high school. My parents are smart.) This was not a good summer. Everyone I knew (at least everyone I knew that I wasn't related to) was an 8 hour drive away. Now-a-days this wouldn't be such a big deal, I'd be able to hop online and e-mail, chat, even game with those folks no problem. I'm not much into going out, so interacting with friends that way would suffice. But... this was 1994, the internet was still in its nascent stages. At least at my house it was (we had Prodigy.)

So yeah, I was pretty miserable. To compound matters, I had to find a job. My previous 3 high school summers had been spent volunteering/working at a camp for handicapped kids. I loved it there. I knew of no place like that in Ohio, so I was reduced to going door to door at a local shopping mall filling out applications. After about a week of that I was hired at Famous Footwear. Yep, I was spending my summer at a discount shoe store.

I'm pretty sure I was hired to fill a stock boy role, but before long I was moved out onto the floor where I got to spend a lot of time looking at stranger's feet. Have I mentioned I was miserable?

The store featured a never changing line-up of muzak designed to lull the suburban mind into purchasing an additional pair of sandals, or maybe (and this was big if you could get people to buy this) some shoe cleaner (which I took to calling shoe-poo.) I went through most of the day paying no attention to the muzak (truthfully most of my focus was going towards trying to entertain an attractive co-worker (I don't think I need to say that this didn't work.)) There was however one song that consistently drew my attention every time it came on (which I think was once every 6 hours:) House At Pooh Corner by Loggins & Messina.

Every time that damn song came on I went from miserable to disconsolate for the length of the song, longer if it was slow and I could take time for some self-pity. The strange thing, I like the song. I'm a big Winnie-the-Pooh fan. I had a stuffed Pooh Bear of my own that was one of my favorite "guys." (The "guys" were the assorted stuffed animals that made up my band childhood friends.)

Hearing this song in the middle of a long shoe related day made me look around and wonder how exactly I had wound up in the middle of nowhere, er Ohio, so far away from so many of the people I cared about. It also made me sad that that particular era of my life was on the verge of passing on. I was now based out of Ohio. Even when school breaks would come, I wouldn't be going back to Philly and to my friends there for anything more than a visit. I could go back, but I wasn't ever going to be part of that place in the same way.

Sigh (it all seemed very dramatic at the time.
Of course many people who would go back faced the same thing, but hey, I was 18, I wasn't looking at the bigger picture.)

In the interest of making this perhaps the wussiest post ever, I will admit there was also a secondary sadness in the song. Despite the fact that I was 18 and didn't exactly play with the guys anymore, that didn't mean that I had completely forgotten them. In fact, that summer, having no other friends in the area, I had taken to talking to some of them when I needed someone to talk to (including Pooh.) I knew that this was not going to be acceptable behavior in a college dorm setting and I would thus be leaving the guys when I went to school. The idea of leaving the guys behind? Also sad.

Stupid song. (Muntz would have a field day with this.)


Mike said...

You need to put up a poll asking whether you should have your man card revoked after this post.

Just kidding - your emotional honesty was very touching.

Good luck with the job hunt!

Bob said...

Props to Mike for the Scrubs reference (if that's what he was eluding to).

Also, I wanted to start the discussion on the parallels to Al Bundy since he now lives in Chicago and worked in a shoe store miserably (miserably relating to his mood, not his work ability, and I have no problems with using a dangling modifier in a comment).

If this comparison goes anywhere, I hope to isolate it to matt since Laura is definitely not Peg and I don't want her to hurt me.

matt said...

You'll notice I did not include a poll asking if my man card needed revoking. I think we all know the answer to that.

And if I'm going to be Al, is it too much trouble to get Christina Applegate to come over and hang out in tight clothing?