I was driving into work yesterday when Blues Traveler came on the radio and I was immediately thrown back about 17 years ago.
That was 1995 for those counting back.
Jenny Two Times and I were in my upstairs bedroom of the condo I was renting with a high school friend of mine during my first year at UC Santa Cruz. It was a massive room with a walk in closet that could have doubled as a small child’s room. I’ve never had a room that ample since. This was the year I wore a lot of overalls and smoked a lot of pot.
Let me remind you: IT WAS THE EARLY 1990’s.
Santa Cruz is about a 30 minute drive over a windy, wooded mountain so my old friends and I were able to still hang out despite the fact that I’d gone off to college. Jenny had come over for one of our marathon hang out sessions. We were listening to music as we did ALL THE TIME when we were that age. We’d lose hours to albums we’d pick up at thrift stores (hello, Joni Mitchell, Jackson Brown, Van Morrison) and cds we’d scoured Tower Records for. We’d drive around with our windows rolled down and the tunes cranked just singing at the top of our lungs. It felt like we had all the time in the world.
This day we were kicking back in my luxurious, spacious room smoking weed and listening to Blues Traveler at high volume. My roommate was out which is why a) the music was loud and b) we were freely enjoying a smoke. My roommate was adamantly against marijuana. I understand- her brother had quite a problem with it and it was a trigger spot for her. I tried to not do it when she was home or to mask it by burning sage.
HA! As if sage covers up pot smoke.
Anyhow we were stoned and singing along to Blues Traveler when Jenny says, “Listen. Do you smell something?” WAIT. WRONG MEMORY. That’s actually from Ghostbusters. My bad. Jenny says, “Listen, did you hear someone knock?” So I turn down the volume on my stereo and we listen as hard as our stoned ears can listen. I don’t hear anything so I turn the tunes back up and we rock out. A few minutes later she says it again, “Did you hear someone knocking?” I went downstairs and checked out the peep-hole and saw no one so I went back upstairs. A couple minutes later she asked again and so I went back downstairs and opened the door this time. No one. Back up to the bedroom and what happens a few minutes later? Jenny thinks she hears a knock again. And again, I go downstairs. And again, no one is there. It became highly amusing to two people who were stoned. And looking back I can’t believe I went down and checked so many times.
By the way: No one was ever there.
Here is where I confess that I am the one who got Jenny Two Times high for the first time. It wasn’t this time with the knocking and the Blues Traveler but it was a few years before that at her junior high school parking lot. Cliche much? Ha. And later we went to our favorite local coffee shop where we spent a million hours hanging out with friends, discussing life, and ogling cute boys. While at the coffee-house a cop came by. There was a curfew instituted in the city of San Jose at that time and kids under 16 had to be home by 11 or something. We were at least 20 so there wasn’t anything to worry about except Jenny was freaking the hell out because she was high and was going to have to interact with a cop. I tried talking her off her pot-induced paranoia ledge by coaxing her to get her license out and how to just hand it to him without looking directly in his eyes. We had to go over it multiple times as he made our way over to us. It was fine- he checked our IDs and moved on- but this story is one Jenny told at my 30th birthday party roast. I’m pretty sure the re-telling of it at my party lives on in infamy more than the actual origin story.
The roast was my idea- let’s get all my friends together and you can share embarrassing stories about me. Brilliant! Um, what?! It was an awesomely fun party and some very embarrassing tales were told and somewhere I have a vhs tape of it. YES VHS. When Jenny got up to share this story she’d had a few drinks (we all had) and she got kind of stuck on the middle part. Like, she told the part of being at the coffee shop 3 times just like a broken record because she kept forgetting where she was at in the story. I jumped up to help her wrap it up and after Tomato, the emcee, got on the mic and said something like, “From now on all stories must have one beginning, ONE MIDDLE, and one end.”
Why am I sharing these stories from my youth? Because sometimes all it takes is a song and the hook brings you back.