Future History

I was having a conversation yesterday with a coworker about a writing prompt she had seen:

What three songs remind you of a specific time in your life? Describe that time and these songs’ ties to it.

She wrote a really cool blog post about it, about how there are so many songs that have a particular memory or experience or time attached to them. She enlisted my unwitting help by having me throw out titles of popular songs, so she could see how many had associations.

One that I threw out that ended up not being used was one that I’ve heard, and has come up in conversation, a few times in the last month, “Hey Jealousy” by the Gin Blossoms. And in the context of the discussion, I had an interesting thought — It’s a song that is very much college to me. It came out during my freshman year, and played constantly on the Ole Miss campus station forever. If you wanted to take the abstract of college and put it in four minutes of music, it would probably be “Hey Jealousy.”

But — there’s not a particular time or experience from college that’s linked to it; it’s just part of the ambient soundtrack and abstract emotion. In my mind, though, it is linked to a time — it was always associated with an undefined point in the future. It’s a song about looking backward, about revisiting the past; so, from the beginning, I’ve always heard it with the idea that I was living in a point I migh be looking back on, and that there would be a day when I would actually be living the point in the song.

Of course, part of the problem then was that it’s a song about revisiting an ex, and, at the time, I had no real exes, an issue that I’ve made a good start toward rectifying in the past couple of years.

When it came out, the idea of the song struck me as rather romantic — which makes sense, given how overly nostalgic I am — and I kind of liked the idea that someday that undetermined point in the future might actually be reality. Which is ironic, because I wouldn’t have had as a goal in life being at a point where it could be true. Who really wants to be able to look back and say, “If I hadn’t blown the whole thing years ago, I might not be alone”?

But here I am, gradually closer than ever to that undefined point. And it’s just sort of odd. But, hey, the past is gone, but something might be found to take its place.

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