5 Songs and the memories they jar

I time traveled the other day while I was washing dishes. This happens quite a bit actually. You see the only way I can wash dishes (or dust, or mow the lawn, or do any household chore) is to listen to music. But every so often while I am washing dishes a song will come on and throw me back in time. It’s crazy how just hearing a song can send you back to a very specific time and place. There are certain songs that do it for me every time and here’s the top five songs that are guaranteed to send me hurtling through time.


The Song: In the clouds by Under the Influence of Giants

The Memory:

This is easily the worst memory that could be continually brought to my mind but for whatever reason, the band Under the Influence of Giants never fails to remind me of Math 1010. I think the reason for that is because math didn’t come easy for me, so not only did I spent three days a week in the class but I also went to tutoring and met with the teacher during her free hour at least twice a week.

While I was doing this the music that was in my headphones or in my car was Under the Influence of Giants particularly the song, In the Clouds. So while I still love this band, when one of their songs comes up on my list I have a very hard time not wanting to start spouting off the quadratic formula all while getting really nervous about a test that I took seven years ago.

The Song: Jump by Van Halen

The Memory:

When I was growing up I was in love with classic rock but for whatever reason, I really loved the Beach Boys. I mean really loved them. I had (and listened to regularly) every one of their albums. Even the weird stuff from the late seventies. I couldn’t get enough of them.

The other Travis was weirdly, sort of jealous. I guess he wanted to find a band that he could have an equal level of passion about. So we set out on a quest to find him a band of his own. Me being a classic rock type of guy, I figured he would find his love there. We bought albums from Styx to Beatles but nothing seemed to stick.

Through it all though, there was one album that we really did like: Van Halen’s greatest hits and the song we played the most was Jump. Driving in Trav’s crappy blue Dodge truck we would listen to Jump with the same level of devotion that Wayne listened to Queen’s Bohemian Rhapsody. We rocked our heads and jumped up and down and just had a great time but we had to be extra careful because on sharp corners the passenger side door of the truck would just pop open.

This led to several times where we were rocking to Jump, taking a corner and suddenly poof, I was hanging on by the strap of a seatbelt outside of the truck until we straightened out again. Was it deadly? Yes. Did it make the song seem even cooler? Double yes. Can I listen to Jump without imagining the amazing yet scary sensation of driving in Trav’s old truck? Never.

The Song: Intergalactic by the Beastie Boys

The Memory:

The dancing done in vehicles was not limited to Trav’s old blue dodge. Steve’s White Toyota was also a fertile dancing ground as well but was even more crazy because if we were in Steve’s car that meant we were on a triple date. Now it was well known throughout Dick’s Market, the grocery store where the other Trav, Steve and I worked, that a Travi-Steve triple date was quite the experience. We meticulously planned each event from top to bottom.

We each had things we liked to do, Steve always offered up a trip to the Mayan restaurant. The Mayan restaurant was full of disgusting food, long lines to get in and strong men in speedos who jumped off a ledge several stories into the water below. It was this last thing that made Steve feel like the Mayan was a great choice for dates. “It’s all about the experience”, he’d say when we asked why he wanted to go to a restaurant with disgusting food. I always felt taking a girl to a place with hot men in speedos seemed counterproductive to my end goal of getting a girlfriend but the place did have a guy you could tip to make your lady a balloon animal so there was that. Though, several times he would take the money and make one for the wrong girl and claim you weren’t clear with him. Yeah, I was right, this place sucked.

But despite our disagreements about dining, Steve, Trav and I had one thing we did agree on. Finely timed dance moves to planned songs in the car. The way this would work was, we’d choose a song in advance and plan (and practice) dance moves for it. Later on in the night, the unsuspecting girls would be sitting in the car listening to what they thought was random music then suddenly a track would come on and timed moves (and shouts) would happen between us revealing our secret choreography plan.

Obviously, the song that we used most frequently (and why it’s on this list) is Intergalactic by the Beastie Boys. It’s difficult to describe the dance moves but suffice it to say that they were pretty impressive. Of course in later years, I’ve realized that this, in the car, unsolicited dance party was probably more detrimental to my goal of getting a girlfriend than a thousand hot guys in speedos would ever be.

Of course that doesn’t mean I don’t still do those very moves whenever I hear this song.

The Song: In the end by Linkin Park

The Memory:

Long before the other Trav, Steve or I could drive there was Danny. Danny was Steve’s older brother who we had been hanging out with for years. So when Danny got his license that was the first real taste of freedom I had ever had. There are literally countless stories that could be told about my time in Danny’s car. We had many adventures and went to many weird, weird places. But through it all we had the sweet sounds of Linkin Park, Korn and Sting. Yes, that last one always seemed out of place to me but it was also the only one I really liked so I kept quiet about it.

So when I hear just about any Linkin Park song it reminds me of Danny’s car but In the End really takes me to a specific moment in time. You see late one night, the other Travis, Danny and I had been in a Taco Bell in downtown Salt Lake City. While we were in there several people came and went. When we returned to the car we found a note underneath his windshield wiper. It said, “You’re really cute” and was written on toilet paper. There was also a lipstick kiss mark on the note.

As a nerd at the age of 15, this was the closest I had ever come to the opposite sex. We got in the car and each took turns examining the note and debating whether the owner was a 9 or a 10 on the hotness scale (there being no way that she could be anything lower than an 8). But who could she have been referring to? The toilet paper note was very specific: You. Not you guys or all of you. It was just one of us.

Danny and Trav shrugged the note off and turned on the car to leave the parking lot. Sitting in the middle backseat, I held the toilet paper note in my hands and leaned back to stare at the stars through the back window. I was sure it was me. It had to have been. Perhaps this mystery girl was tailing our car now so she could develop more information and make her move. Maybe she was my future wife.

I have now come to accept that I am probably the ugliest of the three of us. That’s not to say I am ugly but if I was a girl of 9-10 hotness, I wouldn’t have been checking out the nerdy kid with the mickey mouse t-shirt on. But that night as I sat there, imagining my future wife stalking me like a murderer would, Linkin Park’s In the End played and to this day, I can’t hear that song without thinking about the toilet paper note.

The Song: Four Seasons

The Memory:

Two of these posts have dealt with my quest (or desire) to have a girlfriend. Well in 2001, at the ripe old age of 16, I accomplished my goal. I had a girlfriend. It’s just a shame she turned out to be crazy.

There is so much more to this story then I can go into at this point. We’re already way over due in length and her craziness can’t be contained in one small post. Before I get into this story I would like to offer this tiny little note:

If you’re reading this and somehow happen to be one of my past girlfriends, don’t worry, I am not referring to you. The girl I refer to here literally has no way of finding this post. We are so far out of touch that I don’t know how she would ever even come across this blog. To the rest of you, if you can deduce who this girl is (and it wouldn’t be hard), keep it to yourself.

Okay. During the latter part of my sophomore year, I developed a bit of a music crush on doo wop music. The Four Seasons was one of my top choices. Going on at this same time, I was dating miss crazy. We had only been together (officially) a few days before I realized what a terrible mistake I had made. To my credit, I tried to make it work. I really did. But everything she did just seemed to fall from the cuckoo’s nest.

So one night while sitting with the other Travis complaining about my situation, he told me just to break-up with her. I had never done the breaking up and wasn’t entirely sure I knew how to pull it off. I needed time to figure this out. Trav told me, that I had to do it before he got back from his Biology trip. He would be going with his class for a week to California to study biology at Sea World and Disneyland (the anatomy of a mouse, I guess).

I agreed to his terms but Trav took it a step further by making me to promise him that I would do it. This made it real. So I did. I promised him. I promised him that I would be broken up before he returned from California.

I waited until the last day. Trav was returning that afternoon and so I needed to get this done. Now don’t misunderstand, I wanted to break-up with her but I was young and nervous and frankly a little scared of her. But I decided I would do it after school. After school, I offered to give her a ride home. She lived fairly far from school and so she accepted my offer.

Now I was using Trav’s blue truck (with the popping door but don’t worry she doesn’t fall out, though that would make an amazing story) and needed to fill it with gas. We stopped at the gas station and I was filling the truck up and she got out and was talking to me and saying mean things about people I knew and liked and something inside me snapped.

“We have to break up!”, I shouted, cutting her off completely.

She looked at me with a fire in her eyes right as the gas tank filled up. I quickly pulled out the gas hose and (lo and behold) the gas sprayed all over her new white pants. She stared at me. I looked back. “Yes it’s true… we’re over”, I whimpered. We both silently got back into the truck. We still had at least ten minutes of driving which officially ranks as the longest ten minutes of my life.

As we drove in scary, terrible silence, two things were quite noticeable. One was the strong smell of gas. The other was the truck was filled with the sweet love songs of the Four Seasons: Book of Love, Who loves you, December ’63. It was the most cheerful, romantic break-up ever except for all the hate and distain radiating from my now ex-girlfriend.

When we arrived at her house, she got out and turned to look at me. “You’ll regret this”, was all she said and she slammed the door. While I never quite came to regret it, that didn’t mean she didn’t try to make me. But that’s a story for another time. The point is, whenever I hear ANY Four Seasons song, I swear I cam smell gas and I think how absolute unlucky I was that the door on that truck never popped open once.


One thought on “5 Songs and the memories they jar

  1. […] and I were aspiring film makers to the umpteenth degree. When we weren’t spending our time planning musical numbers in our dates or working we were making films. Now the biggest issue we had here is that while we […]

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