I love when older songs come on the radio and transport me to another time in my life. When I was younger, different. I love how it’s always a surprise – though you can bet on a current hit being played 7,000 times an hour, you can never guess which song from a different year will break through, making the day of radio-lovers everywhere. (That is, unless the song is horrid.)
The other day, “Kryptonite” by 3 Doors Down came on. It’s not a great song. It’s not a song I still play on my iPod (actually, there weren’t iPods when that song was released), and it’s not a song I’m like “YES IT’S ON!” when it is, in fact, on. But it came on. And I was 17 again.
Three of my friends and I were going to see 3 Doors Down live at Hard Rock Cafe, here in Orlando. We were excited. Three of us were a band at the time, too, an all-girl band that had two (yes, two) whole gigs. We were not good.
We decided to do something crazy before the event, so we bought Manic Panic hair dye and and put red streaks in our hair. My hair was so dark you could barely tell, but still. I felt cool. I felt punk rock.
Before the show, we went back to our school because we were all called back for a play our drama department was putting on. (The drama department we, incidentally, ran, as we were all officers. I was president. See how punk rock I was?) We acted out a few scenes, each for different characters. The newbies were there, and I felt so amazingly awesome. Because here I was, coming in with the other old-timers, with this amazing kind-of dyed hair. And all these newbies were trying to be us, and it felt weird and neat all in one. So we did our auditions, each for different roles, and left with an excited cheer for the show.
Truth is, I don’t remember the show much. But what I do remember is feeling there, in the middle of the show, with my friends. With my hair. With this feeling that anything was possible. We were going to be famous musicians, actors. We were going to run the world.
I don’t talk to the girls all the time anymore, though we’re all still connected. Only one of us got the role in the show, and she, incidentally, is the only one still acting. The rest of us went on to become PR specialists and BBC journalists and, for me, librarian writers.
So when the song came on, I didn’t think of the gig. But I thought of the excitement we all shared, the power and freedom and friendship. The moment when we thought we were so cool we could accomplish anything.
And I smiled.