October 22, 2013

Don't Go Back to Rockville

Rockville Town Center
It wasn't amusing in the least, for the first few minutes anyway. Then I began to recognize it was going to be a fun ride.

It was 1988, and I'd just moved into a rental house in Arlington, Virginia. There was me—the new guy from California—and three guys from Pennsylvania. It was a typical east coast group-house of rudderless 20 somethings trying to figure things out after college. There were four small bedrooms and a little back yard with a lawn where folks could sit quietly in the 90 degree heat and enjoy the sight of mosquito clouds, hovering. 

Last week I put a song list together for a long run. My plan was lose myself for a few hours while listening to some throwback music from my past. I hoped to trigger a few fun memories. It worked.

I was unpacking at the time. With a clear view of the back yard from my room, I noticed my new roommates in the yard hanging out in a small circle and listening to music. Minding my own business, I noticed they were listening to just one song…over, and over, and over.  I still hear those lyrics....

Looking at your watch a third time
Waiting in the station for the bus
Going to a place that's far
So far away and if that's not enough
Going where nobody says hello
They don't talk to anybody they don't know

At this moment it dawned on me that I now live in a house with roommates that are listening to the same song for 20 minutes. But I had good feeling on this. I looked out the window again and noticed these guys weren't really sitting in a circle, as one would think of a group sitting like that. They were sitting in a baby pool, all three of them. A five foot round, six inch high, baby pool. I looked closer still. One of them was snorkeling.

Ok, so baby pools aren’t so cool, particularly in California. And to snorkel in a baby pool, well, that’s stupid. But when you are 25 and looking for any excuse to have fun, you make things cool all on your own. I eventually learned how to do this with that baby pool. And thank god for that. I can’t tell you how “cool” we thought we were when we invited girls over to a “pool” party. I will never forget the expressions on their faces when they rounded the corner to that back yard.

You'll wind up in some factory
That's full-time filth and nowhere left to go
Walk home to an empty house
Sit around all by yourself
I know it might sound strange but I believe
You'll be coming back before too long

Don’t go back to Rockville. Don’t go back to Rockville. And waste another year.

Thank you long runs! 


it's all about pace said...

snorkeling in a kiddie pool...

sounds like good times

Anonymous said...

Will , this blog hit home with me !! Not just home but right in the gut !!!We are a product of our past . I can remember listening to the same song 4 to 5 times in a row......TODAY !!! Dreams by VanHalen. This was alot of fun to read tonight .By the way....you haven't changed a bit !Don't wear jean shorts !!!

Jill said...

Good memories! :)