Sunday, January 27, 2013

Self Observational Sunday: When The Real World Hassled Me

Straight Up What did You Hope to Learn about here
If I was someone else would this all fall apart
Strange where were you when we started this gig
I wish the real world would just stop hassling me
- Matchbox 20 “Real World”

This song will always represent the summer of 1998 for me. This isn’t shocking; if you grew up around this time you know how impossible it was to avoid Matchbox 20 in 1997/1998. Their album Yourself or Somebody Like You was just a hit generator that would not quit. It’s hard to even pin down the biggest single off the record as it had at least three top 5 songs. But despite all this Real World is the one that makes me think of 1998. Specifically one particular week I spent in Maryland with my (then) best friend’s family.

I think we’ve all had a best friend like mine. For the sake of his own privacy we shall call him Martin. Martin and I met in Pre-K and became friends. For the most part he was the only true friend I had in elementary school (I mostly hung out with kids that didn’t like me much or were simply the kid of my parent’s friends) however Martin and I genuinely got along and enjoyed most of the same things. I don’t think we ever fought. My parents even became close to his parents. However when I was in 3 rd grade Martin’s family moved away. They didn’t move too far (about 30 minutes away) but when you’re 9 they may as well be dead.

We did everything in our power to stay close. I’d spend a week at his house in the summer and then he’d spend a summer at my house. It’s funny that I consider him my best friend because honestly there’s not a ton of memories I have; mostly just birthdays and those 2 weeks every summer. The only glaring difference is the week my family stayed with his family in their beach house.

I admit this is sounding like the opening on a Stephen King novel. No that week we didn’t develop telepathic powers, search for a dead body or fight a killer clown/spider thingie… mostly we crabbed, went to the beach and watched TV. The reason I remember it is two reasons.

1. Matchbox 20’s the Real World. That song was on TV and the Radio every time we turned one on. It was ridiculous. We’d turn on MTV… there’s the music video; turn on the radio… It was on; we even saw them perform it as musical guests on 3 different talk shows that week (2 late night shows and one morning show). It became so ridiculous that we couldn’t help but laugh about it. I hear the first few notes of that song over a decade later and I’m transported back to those memories… and then I remember

2. It was pretty much the last time I ever saw Martin. I’m sure there was another sleepover or birthday party mixed in there but by this point we were both in 7th grade… making new friends and we fell out of touch. My mom and his mom still spoke on the phone and years down the line we became facebook friends but still never found time to hang out or reconnect

I’d been thinking about this topic for a while now. Something kept telling me to write it and maybe Martin would read it when you posted it on facebook and maybe that would lead us back down the road of reconnecting. For the last few weeks I’d considered messaging him on facebook and working out a time for us to get lunch and hang out. Yesterday my mom told me that Martin’s family checked him into rehab for heroin addiction. It’s funny how we lose touch with the people we love the most sometimes.

This one is for you Martin. I hope you're well, I love you and I can't wait to reconnect.

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