While in high school, one of my favorite hobbies was finding new music and listening to it for hours. God Speed You Black Emperor!, Death Cab for Cutie, Ani DiFranco, Modest Mouse, Dashboard Confessional, Ella Fitzgerald, Bright Eyes....these musicians and others make up my childhood. Many of my best memories revolve around music...like the first time I heard a Simon and Garfunkel song.
I was 16--a junior in high school, leaving my friend Alex's house in Dan's Aerostar van. We had time to kill before my 11:00 curfew, so we sat in his van and listened to "The Sound of Silence." Part way through the song I sat back with my head resting on the car seat, eyes closed, letting the music surround me. Later that year a friend and I took a road trip to Lincoln to visit Homer's Music Store downtown. We found the Simon and Garfunkel greatest hits, but neither of us had enough money to buy the album ourselves. So we did the only sensible thing: we pooled our money together to buy the album, and we shared it. A year later her dad died, and at his funeral my friend made sure the funeral home played "Bridge Over Troubled Water" though the cheap, crackly speakers didn't do the song justice.
My first "real" concert was a Rilo Kiley concert at Sokol Hall in Omaha. While visiting Homers in the Old Market earlier that year (notice a trend?!), one of the shop employees handed me Rilo Kiley's CD, The Execution of All Things. I fell in love and bought every album after that. When I found out that Jenny Lewis and her band were playing at Sokol, I loaded up my Taurus with three friends, bought enough Clove cigarettes to last us the weekend and had a beautiful evening dancing, singing, and smoking. That night we all crashed on a friend's dorm room floor and left the next morning with smoke in our hair and memories in our head, our feet still tapping to Rilo Kiley songs.
And tonight I feel 16 again. As I dig through a friend's Spotify playlists, I find myself resting my head on the back of my couch, my eyes closed as I let the music surround me.