I’ll be 40 in a week
I have a lot on my mind: change and constancy, dreams and regrets, friendship and loneliness, the past and future. I haven’t really imagined my life past this age. It’s hard enough to figure out what’s now much less what’s next.
I’m finally going to write the post about the lies I tell myself, the post I’ve promised since starting this blog almost two years ago.
They were so young! I was in third grade when this was filmed.
U2 provided the soundtrack to my youth and young adulthood.
The Joshua Tree is one of those albums I’d take with me to a deserted island. In Senior year of high school, the loss of my friend Erik–the anniversary of which is also this week–is all tied up with the song, With or Without You. Erik was part of a larger group of kids, mostly boys, that I hung out with back then. We had all been in the advanced science, math, and English classes together, and I see now that we were “geek chic” before it was a thing. Hindsight is 20/20.
The spring after Erik’s death, we went up to Tacoma to see U2 on the Achtung Baby tour. It was my first time spending the night in a motel with boys, drinking (bad motel) coffee, and getting served with detention for being five hours late to school the next day: the only detention I ever received.
I can’t listen to So Cruel without flashing back to a painful poolside dance at our graduation party. That was an eventful year.
When I went off to college that fall, Achtung Baby was drifting out of just about every dorm room. I’d wager I was the only Gen-Xer who showed up at college with a circa-1980 cassette tape player instead of a CD-player. I’m also probably the only Gen-Xer to say, “I’d wager.”
Nevertheless, I scraped my pennies together to buy used U2 cassette tapes from the secondhand music store: War, October, The Unforgettable Fire, Joshua Tree. My friends, Jennifer, Jenn, and I went to Graceland on Spring Break sophomore year, partly because Jenn loved Elvis, but mostly because the three of us loved U2 so much we wanted to reenact the scenes from their trip to Memphis from Rattle and Hum.
I’ve liked a few of their songs since those days, but haven’t bought a single album since Zoo Station. I finally sang at a Karaoke bar for the first and only time last year. Song? Where the Streets Have No Name.
My husband and I listened to a lot of music when we were first dating and reveled in our shared love for U2. I remember lying on his couch, talking about music, reminiscing about the songs of our youth. Just five short years ago. It seems we’ve had a lifetime together.
I always sing along with U2. If they’re playing on the car radio, I can’t turn it off and get out until they’ve finished. My husband and I both want to instill our children with an appreciation for U2 (along with Nirvana, Crowded House, The Smiths, the list goes on).
To sum up: U2 songs are my Golden Oldies. And I’m getting old.
Have a drink with me?