January's theme:"So take a deep breath and count back from ten/And maybe you'll be alright" A Separate Lid Behind Closed Eyes

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Jason recommends the album, Girly-sound Tapes by Liz Phair

A Change Will Do You Good - January 11, 2022
The one where an Olivia Rodrigo song cuts deep on Christmas morning. - January 07, 2022
Recapping a friendship #3 - December 30, 2021
The one where I have more fun than I should singing along to Lorde. - December 24, 2021
Recapping a friendship #2 - December 22, 2021

January 07, 2022 // 3:57 p.m. // The one where an Olivia Rodrigo song cuts deep on Christmas morning.

Unable to sleep at about four in the morning on Christmas, I did what I usually do in this situation: watch YouTube videos. After watching a lengthy news video, one of my recommended videos was a pop song review of Olivia Rodrigo’s “Driver’s License” done by Todd In The Shadows. Not being a teen or an avid Disney channel viewer, I first learned about Rodrigo when she made a trip to the White House this July to aid in getting more people vaccinated. Since then, I’ve heard the chorus of “Good For U” (more on this later) numerous times.

As I mentioned, the review was for “Driver’s License” and since I had no knowledge of her music, career or that she’s had a number of Disney television shows, I had assumed that “Good For U” and “Driver’s License” were the same song. Knowing that she sings ‘good for you’ in the chorus should have tipped me off that they weren’t, but again, the only title I knew was “Driver’s License.” I thought it was going to be one of those songs where the title is nowhere in the song (or at least the chorus.

So the review starts, and after hearing the melody and words here and there, I realize that “Driver’s License” is a slower song, and therefore not likely the same song as “Good For U.” And then something happens. For some reason, probably a combination of the melody and the way she’s singing, I realize I’m getting emotional over this pop song designed for a teenage audience.

Like, actually emotional. Not crying, but my eyes were filling with water. I spent the entire fifteen plus minutes of the review like this. After catching bits and pieces of the song, I finally decided to listen to it in its entirety. Wanting to get the live experience, I listened to her performance at Austin City Limits and even *more* emotions flooded in. The opening lyric

“I got my driver's license last week
Just like we always talked about
'Cause you were so excited for me
To finally drive up to your house"

That lyric took me back to being sixteen, and the last day of school. I made a special trip up that morning to take my road test. A classmate was tasked with driving out on the freeway (it didn’t go well for him) and I was assigned to drive the sixty or so blocks back on city streets. My driving teacher was one of the basketball coaches, and he had the radio tuned to sports talk radio that was talking about that week’s NBA Finals. As I approached the final turn, I was told that if I made that turn, I’d pass. Completing it successfully, I got the appropriate paperwork, while my freeway driving companion talked to the coach to reschedule his make up test.

I had been dating Barb for two weeks, and thus far, we hadn’t hung out outside of school yet. I had attempted to see either Godzilla or Can’t Hardly Wait with her, but plans fell through. We finally did make plans to see The Wedding Singer on the day of my driving test, with me walking a little over a mile to her house after completing it, and planned to meet up downtown to watch the NBA Finals on giant screens that were set up outside of the arena. The rest of that summer we didn't do much. After all, she was a fourteen year old who was essentially landlocked at home all summer, and I was a sixteen year-old who had a bus pass, had just received a license, but had no car to drive.

I purchased a car in early July and planned to go to her birthday party in the middle of the month. As a gift, I picked up a VHS gift pack of the 25th anniversary of Grease, and was excited to see her for the first time since our movie date with at least one of her friends. A few days after getting the car and the gift however, she commented that our relationship was “based on the phone” and she broke up with me. I agreed. I still had the present however. And the car. I debated going anyway (despite my sister being interested in the present) but none of her friends were really my friends. I had tried to get to know them as we sat together eating lunch several times in the last few weeks of school, but my shyness and the collective boisterous nature of the group made that a difficult task.

I ultimately decided to go, likely in part that I really had no summer plans with any friends, and may not see this group until school started five or six weeks from then. I'd spent most of the summer going to WNBA games, and it'd been awhile since I saw a friend. As I turned onto her street, I began to have second thoughts. As I approached her house and looked out my window, I saw signs that the party had started…and kept on driving. Ultimately, I decided not to go. I imagined her being surprised I was there, and having the same amount of interaction with her and her friends as I did during the school year, which was so minimal, a now mutual friend wrote a note of (then) timely topics for us to discuss to help me engage in conversation with them. Hearing the lyric, 'Cause you said forever now I drive alone past your street" sparked memories of that afternoon.

These were all of my ‘in the moment’ thoughts while listening to the song. In the moments afterward, I thought of another interesting nostalgic coincidence, which is the fact that she plays a character on High School Musical The Musical The Series, which is based at the same high school I attended with the girl mentioned above.

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