Wednesday, May 14, 2008


The phone rang tonight and instantly I was back in college.

She lives with a broken man...

Dane is in St. Louis at a Radiohead concert with his dad. For Dane, I'm not sure it gets much better than that. Tomorrow, they're going to a Cardinals game. That's probably as good as it gets.

Yesterday, he told me Radiohead hadn't been consistently playing "Fake Plastic Trees," my favorite Radiohead song.

When I said "hello" tonight, though, on the other end was Thom.

A cracked, polystyrene man...

And I stopped in my tracks, phone to my ear to listen.

I haven't heard that song in a while, or if I have, I haven't really listened to it.

Tonight, I did, as best I could through the sometimes crackly reception.

The song to me marks the beginning of our relationship. It was near the end of our freshmen year in college when we started dating, and I remember well the feelings of possibility and excitement.

Dane right away wanted to introduce me to his music. I remember sitting on his bed, in his dorm room and listening to music by Radiohead and Pulp and probably a few others. I hadn't heard most of it.

This song, in particular, I liked.

...who just crumbles and burns...

Dane used to sing along and I really liked that.

That summer, we went our separate ways -- but not before Dane drew me directions to his parents' house on a napkin (which for years I kept in the glove compartment of my car. It may still be there) and burned me a Radiohead CD.

I listened to it all summer. I remember staying overnight at the pool while it filled (a laborious, ridiculous task) and finally, the other lifeguards asking to listen to something else.

She wears me out. She wears me out.

Though I've never completely gotten the meaning of the song -- it's sad and melancholy and beautiful at the same time -- it's special because of its timing in my life.

"Fake Plastic Trees" reminds me of before things got so stressful, so routine-ized, so adult. Of the time when we worried about our grades and our jobs at the student newspaper and that was about it.

Of the time when we laughed a whole lot more.

If I could be, who you wanted...

Don't get me wrong: I wouldn't trade my family now for anything. Having Rye is the most important thing I've ever done. We've ever done.

But sometimes it's easy to get jaded by the routine, the 40-hour work weeks, the commute. And you forget to remember who you are. And that it's enough.

All the time.


Grant said...

You kept a napkin for years... ;-)

I won't even tell the story of the chip.

But that's one of many things great about you Veronica, you give things meaning and then you hold onto that meaning for a long time. Thanks for continuing to open the windows to your world.

Jonathan said...

Great post, Veronica. I think of some of the memories I have linked to songs, but they pale in comparison.

I also enjoyed the picture; first I thought back to the semester in Wales when I saw you guys in the photo and then I remembered "rolling" through Lincoln when I looked more closely and spotted that you guys were at the DN. All in all, an excellent post!

chris said...

Songs can bring back so many memories. "Fake Plastic Trees" is a great one too. What an awesome post!

Anonymous said...

I feel like I could have written this post, at least parts of it.

This song reminds me of when Adam and I first started dating. He also immediately wanted to show me his music, and The Bends was one of the first cds he played for me. Fake Plastic Trees stuck out to me the most. Whenever I listen to that song, I am immediately shot back to that time period.

And I also still have napkins and other various sheets of paper that he has drawn me maps on, some of which are still in my glove compartment. =)

Jeannine said...

Amazingly, I was just wondering today about how the two of you met and the story of the two of you and ta-da there in black and white is the start of the answer.

Keep fighting to hold on to part of that magic. With it you can continue to create more and you won't have to look so far back to remember what it was like.

Veronica said...

Thanks for all of these comments.

Sara, that is crazy!

Jeannine, you can have the full story sometime, too. I can't believe we've never talked about that.

Grant and Jonathan, thanks for always reading and letting me know you're liking what you see.