Summer of Dishwalla

There are some things I can remember with such clarity. Every odd detail preserved in my mind. I can feel those times, smell them. But then there are other times when I all I have is just this general sense of the time that is so strong yet vague that it means so much and leaves me wishing for the clarity. And yet I don’t want it–the feeling of it is enough.

The summer of Dishwalla fits both these descriptions. You could not go anywhere without hearing “Counting Blue Cars.” The radio, MTV, David Letterman, in my head . . . If my memory serves me well, this would have been the summer before my freshman year. Wikipedia does serve me well and confirms this as accurate. And although I choose to declare it the summer of Dishwalla, it was also the summer of Nada Surf’s “Popular” and Primitive Radio God’s “Standing Outside a Broken Phone Booth with Money in my Hand” and Tracy Bonham’s “Mother Mother” . . . maybe it was my age at the time, but it was a summer of very distinctive music that has stuck with me to this day. (Okay, now that I think about it was my first summer with cable. But not MTV. Canadian MuchMusic, eh.)

Back to the summer.

This was me that summer. The brunette.

What I remember is this:

I remember a day spent at a friend’s house. One of those friends I was very close with but didn’t spend too much at her house. But that day I was there. And I was spending the night. Which seems odd. But enough digression. I was there and we were in this sub room/living room watching MTV and Dishwalla was on. And then it was on again. And then we were outside. And there was a trampoline I do believe and definitely neighbor boys. And one of them did not go to our school so there was FRESH! And EXCITEMENT! And DANGER!

My heart was racing and there was Dishwalla on in the background of my mind and there was the prospect of someone new. He was wearing an orange shirt with a Reese’s Cup on it and I thought it was SO HOT. Or cute. Whatever choice word soon-to-be-high schoolers use to describe a boy who catches their eye.

And I remember we snuck out to meet the boys after dark. And then it was just him and me. Or at least that’s how it was in my head. We propped our backs up against a rock or a sign or SOMETHING and it was dark and there were stars and we were just looking UP and not saying anything. But everything was racing in my head. And at one point, at one magical point, he put his hand either on my hand or my leg and I’d swear there were falling stars. There weren’t, but I’d swear there were.

And then it was over. That was it–that one moment. With a boy from a different school in an age before cellphones and before Facebook (and even before myspace) and it was MAGIC. When would I see him again?! I DIDN’T KNOW! Who were his friends?! I DIDN’T KNOW! I did know of a recently ex-girlfriend who I’d heard stories from. Another local girl who didn’t go to our school. And I believe she was chased up a tree by devil worshippers. But I could be wrong about that.

To be honest, I pity kids of awkward ages these days for not being able to have these moments. Except maybe the Amish. Maybe the Amish kids can still of innocent. mysterious romantic encounters. But now I bet these kids of awkward ages can look up these kids from other schools on the inter webs and KNOW THINGS ABOUT THEM and EVEN TALK TO THEM. But we couldn’t! So it was magical.

And there were butterflies. Remember those? That faint, overwhelming feelings of their wings fluttering against your insides until you couldn’t bear it anymore?! It’s that feeling, that general and unconcrete feeling that I get when I think back to the summer of Dishwalla.

And one day, maybe one day, I’ll share the rest of the summer of Dishwalla but for now I want to keep that feeling of butterflies as my association with that summer.

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