Something to Write Home About changed my life. Seriously.
You know that crap in that semi-lame (because I secretly like it for some reason) Zach Braff movie Garden State where Natalie Portman decides somewhat arbitrarily that The Shins will change your life? Well The Get Up Kids kinda did that for me a little. I am different because of them. They changed me. Definitely more than New Slang or whatever The Shins or their fans or whoever decide to throw at me as "Their Best That Should Change My Life".
Some people are snobs. Some people try really hard to be cooler than The Get Up Kids. What they don't realize is that they would be so much better embracing a youthful attitude toward these things. Unbridled love. Hopeless adoration. Optimism. The Kids connect to me still. I'm a grown-up now, but when I hear I'll Catch You, I'm young.
I know. I know.
Twelve years have passed since their jams first broke through my earholes. These songs conjure in me, twelve years later, these same feelings. I don't reminisce. I don't regret. I feel. I feel that love, that optimism, that vivacity I felt so (not so very) long ago and those feelings stir my soul. I am awakened. Mended.
It's March 31st. Easter Sunday. 2013. The World of Tomorrow. Right?
Anyway. We are on the doorstep of another season.
Being so far away from St. Louis has weakened my foundation a bit. It's not that I'm less of a fan. It's not that I'm alone in the desert. It's more like I feel less connected. Proximity strengthens the heart. I miss The Man. I miss the light standards at night on long West-Coast road trips. I miss riding my bike past the stadium at night. I miss giving Stan's Bronze Likeness an imaginary high-five as I passed him on my nightly rides. I miss Steve Savard. A little bit. Only a little.
I'm A Loner Dottie, A Rebel.
The amazing thing about this time of year, and specifically that weird limbo time where you're waiting with nearly-bated breath for the baseball season you've waited a long, cold, hard, winter for, is that this time provides you with a very special opportunity to remember, and to forget. It's like back in the day when you bought a tape or CD the day it came out, you hadn't heard any of the songs yet, you were prepared for anything, you had an idea of what to expect, and at the same time you were kinda just hoping to have your mind completely blown. It's a novelty. The anticipation is inherently good. Unsettling, too.
Those first years of college are like that.
I bought a new Cardinals hat. I've always been an Old-School '47 Twins-style hat type of guy. You know what I'm talking about; Those retro-styled hats that look just as good 6 years down the road as they did the day you bought it. Yeah. I used to wear those. I've had 59/50's before, just not as frequently. Anyway. I bought a Red 59/50. On The Field style, with the black under the brim and the MLB logo on the back. Very Official Looking In a strange way, I feel a stronger sense of pride in my team than I normally have in the past. I'm not just proud of where I'm from, but I'm proud of the Cardinals in weird new ways. Buying a 59/50 for the first time in several years is representative of that for some reason, I guess. It brought me closer. It stood out. I was From St. Louis, Missouri. That new 59/50 is gone already, though. Its red perfection swept away like so many others that have gone before it. I was on my motorcycle. It is lost beyond recovery, but the reason it was bought is not. The hat is lost. My pride is not.
I have this problem, where I lose hats. I lost one on a backroad in rural Illinois. I lost a great Red Sox hat off the Chain of Rocks Bridge. I lost my last blue Cardinals hat wakeboarding on Rend Lake. I was drunk.
Youth is wasted on the young. Money is wasted on the rich.
I bought the album for Yadi.
Rosenthal is the song I end up loving the most.
Oscar is that wicked solo you know you'll never be able to duplicate, no matter how hard you try. It is perfect. You kneel. You weep.
Tying all of this together, I don't know. I think I just wanted to say that I'm ready. Waiting. I need the first pitch. I need the smell of the dogwoods and the lilacs. I've heard the little red bird in my backyard. He's ready. He's calling. That gorgeous mockingbird stealing his thunder two trees away, he's ready too. We need this. The winter has beaten us down, but this is our time. This is our time to break forth, unrestrained, into that terrible abyss of the future, knowing only what we know now. Now is where we live. No longer will we have to guess, or project, or hope. It's happening. We can see what we can see. Past that, we're at the mercy of many winds.
It's weird, because that's part of that strange grand lesson The Get Up Kids taught me so many years ago.
The season is now.