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G&B: Apologies to Sting

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Thursday, February 2, 2012

in 1997 i learned i could play the guitar.

It's one of those days. I woke up with Radiohead's Anyone Can Play the Guitar in my head. I cued it up on Youtube and let it crank. I loved this song when It was released. I played Pablo Honey every single day for at least a good couple of months. The album was my introduction to Indie Rock. I liked Rock music before that. REM, Duran Duran, The Stones, GNR. Radiohead was on another level, though. Not particularly a higher level. Just a level where they stood alone. My memories connected to Anyone can Play the Guitar are vivid.

Winter '93.

Movie dates on Fridays. Chilling out with friends on Saturdays at the library then hit Promenade Mall for early dinner at Taco Bell and girl watching at the downstairs food court. Yes. We were that cool. I went to School during the week, but I didn't really care about that.

Fast forward to 1997. Summer. Country Style Donuts. Richmond Hill.

I was sitting with a friend at our regular table. Left corner. By the window. Perfect view of the traffic and the Gas station and the Bowling alley at the back of the plaza. The sun was hitting our face. We switched from our regular coffee mugs to some fruit shakes. They were on sale. We were talking about our colorful tongues. I had a blue one. She was red. Then the song came on. I heard the riff. The long intro. My head started bumping. My hand went in the air. Gave the peace sign. Going to the beat. She did the same. We were rocking out. The couple beside us knew we had one too many. It was only 2pm. On a Wednesday. We were just lost in the music. The song. We both loved Radiohead. I hadn't heard the track in some time. Hip Hop had taken over my life. The closest thing to rock I was listening to that summer was Portishead's self-titled album. And that was even more Hip Hop than Rock. I didn't care. It was 93 again and I was rocking out.

As we calmed down and the melody took over, we went outside to get some air. We ran to the grassy spot by the gas station. I don't remember what I said, but she started to laugh hysterically. It went on for a good four minutes. We were both laughing. I wish I remembered. I guess it was funny. She hit my crossed legs and mumbled that I should show this side of me more often. I asked her what she meant. She told me that I was the funniest person she knew. That I was so fun to be with but I never tend to show it with others. Especially girls. Yes. I had friends who were girls but I was such a shy dork around the girls that mattered. The girls I liked. My friend gave me a lecture that day about confidence, and humor and knowing what you want in life. All qualities I had but never was man enough to showcase. She told me I had to be more comfortable around the other kind. That I was catch, but no one would catch me If I stayed quiet.

That was the best pep talk I ever received. Sitting there. Sun hitting our face. Colored tongues. Finding meaning in our lives. Living for the moment. The talk. The moment. The time was just perfect. We weren't afraid to tell the truth even if it hurt. A moment I think of all the time. 15 years later and I still get inspired by the talk.

That Wednesday afternoon my dear friend told me that I could play the guitar.