It's nearly eleven on a Wednesday and I need to shake the restlessness that's consuming me. After aimlessly scrolling, I saw that I could finally listen to Blink-182's new album, Nine. I plugged my headphones into my iPhone SE and lied supine on my bed, eyes closed, fully prepared to soak in every note and melody of the fist track.
The first time I ever heard a Blink-182 record, it was in the back of my aunt's car in the early 00s. My favorite cousin is sharing her earbuds to expose me to some of her favorite pop-punk CDs (I think maybe Take Off Your Pants And Jacket is in the CD player, which to this day remains my favorite Blink album). I remember it felt like magic hearing the fast pop-punk beats, moody and ostentatious lyrics ("If we're fucked up, you're to blame!"). There was a magnificent catchiness to it all, and I connected to it immediately.
Back in the present, I open my eyes after the first chorus wraps up, "There ain't nothing like the first time." Feeling motivated by the sentiment and the novelty of the situation, I grab my Harrington jacket and head for the door. I enjoyed my first playthrough of Foxing's latest album this time last year and thought it might do me some good to breathe in the summer before the snow and ice envelops the city and chokes my favorite fragrances from the air.
I walked to the park and found myself drawn to the small baseball diamond drenched under the glow of brightly-lit stadium lights.
Some objects seem to transcend time and space. They evoke vivid, visceral memories and are capable of conjuring ghosts of all my former selves. I walked a scene that could be from any city in the world, and when my foot makes contact with the thin, striated sheets of metal bleachers, the material reverberates through my body in a way so distinct and so familiar, it's as if the vibrations are rippling through time, itself.
Suddenly and simultaneously, I'm the college freshman lying on my new college's soccer field under the stars with my new friends from the dorm down the hall. I'm the high school boy at my sister's away game, sitting on the bleachers with a black Jensen CD player, New Found Glory's Sticks And Stones spinning inside while I'm hanging on every word of "Understatement" and hoping my AA batteries hold out through the game.
It feels like the majority of the intense feelings I experience in my life these days are nostalgia trips to distant memories that felt wholly insignificant at the time I lived them. A lonely walk on a quiet summer night lets me relive so many nights like this one, all at once.
"Just another night before I'm lost and all alone. If you're going to kill me, baby, please just do it slow. Hey, wait, pin the grenade; if you don't love me, lie to my face."
It's eleven. The baseball diamond's lights fade into darkness without warning, and fittingly, moments later the last album track, "Remember To Forget Me" plays its final note. I spend a moment in the stillness with my thoughts and restart the album. Mark and Matt begin again, "There ain't nothing like the first time." But now it's my second playthrough, and I'm walking back home.