I felt like writing again, I hope you don’t mind. My emails are not the esteemed A Life in Letters by Isaac Asimov, but it’s more about the process of the writing for me.
I’ve been listening to Van Halen in the car a lot. Long story short: I’ve been having issues with my music hard drive in the car, with it repeating tracks. I discovered I could fix it by formatting the drive and starting over. Certain Van Halen albums used to give me issues in the car, with the repeating songs. It’s been a pleasure to rock to King Edward this week. It’s hard to believe but he died over a year ago now.
I remember coming home from work the day he died and I was just in a foul mood. Not only was I grieving Edward Van Halen, but I felt stupid for grieving someone I never met and never hoped to meet. It was a torrent of shitty feelings, plus I hadn’t eaten properly. It was a Tuesday and I had to do laundry or something, and I snapped at Jen. I felt like an asshole afterwards. I also remember telling you this story, and you were the one who said it was OK to be grieving. Until that moment I didn’t really consider that maybe you don’t have to be a psycho to be upset about Van Halen’s death.
Music aside — which was usually warm, fun with instrumental and occasional lyrical depth — Van Halen meant a lot to me. I must have been 13 years old when I was sitting on the porch with my best friend Bob, hearing 1984 on the tape deck for the first time. My dad came home from work, heard the noise and asked what we were listening to, as dads often did. “Van Halen!?” he said. “Sounds like some kind of tropical disease!”
My dad was always good with one liners! When we watched music videos on Much, he would mock the singers shrieking their best operatic screams. “What’s wrong with that man? Should he go to the hospital? He sounds like he’s in pain!”
Good memories, all. I’m very attached to those childhood memories. I’m trying to commit them all to writing before they’re gone. Often, lost memories can be triggered by an old photograph. But there are many things I wish I had video of! If only there was a tape or photograph of that first time I heard Van Halen. But film was a precious commodity until the last 15 years or so. You didn’t just take pictures of you and your friends listening to music on the front porch.
I remember some of the tapes, and conversations. Iron Maiden’s Maiden Japan was popular in our porch listening sessions. George would come over from next door, and Bob would come over with his tapes. My house was right in the middle! I wonder how much of my happiest childhood memories are due to geographic concerns. If my house wasn’t right there in the middle of everybody, maybe I never would have been there that day to hear Van Halen or Iron Maiden.
Sometimes I worry that I spend too much time living in the past and trying to recapture those moments. But then I think about what you would say to that. “Why are you worried about something that brings you happiness?” I think you might ask. And you’d be right. So bring on the Van Halen. Bring on the Iron Maiden. Let’s party like it’s 1985. Might as well go for a soda — nobody hurts, nobody dies.