Tuesday, January 7, 2014

How Rusted Root's Cruel Sun Still Shines for me Today

Shortly after I graduated from college in 1994, I moved to a neighborhood in Pittsburgh called the South Side. With a firm grasp on a temp job making $7.50/hour, I left my parents' house and found my own apartment.

This place was tiny. It was probably the size of my current open plan living /dining room. However, there were lots of great things about it.  I was in a fun neighborhood and my friends visited all the time. I had a Christmas party with a REAL tree.  My best friend, Lara, even stole the makeshift Elmo I had attached to the top of a tree with a gum band  (For those outside of Pittsburgh - that is a rubber band).

This apartment was about Freedom. Freedom of being on my own.  Even better, it had access to the fire escape / roof and there were 3 boys who lived across the hall.  They were all culinary students and a lot of fun.  If I am being honest, there were 2 boys who were great and one was kind of a grump. Nice enough, but grumpy.

This album - Cruel Sun by Rusted Root - takes me back to that time in such a vivid way with a very specific memory attached to it.

Almost every Tuesday, one of the boys, Harvey, and I would go out because it was the only night of the week he had off  from the restaurant business.  We would get 22 oz bottles of Rolling Rock for $2 at the bar around the corner. When we had sufficiently damaged our brain cells and livers, we would head home. Every time, we would end up in my apartment dancing to this CD.  I am sure I tried to play other CDs, but Harvey would say "Put on Rusted Root." Every time, Harvey would fall asleep in my chair while I still boogied around.

Now I know what you are thinking - no Harvey was only ever a friend. No hand holding, no kissing, no shenanigans.  Just good clean, Tuesday nights blowing off steam.

There is something so special about that apartment and time of my life. Fun was cheap because it was all we could afford.  Pittsburgh wasn't cool, but everyone was making a go of it. Pasta was about all I could afford to eat. There was something about being young and striking out into the wilderness of life.

I lost touch with Harvey a few years after he moved out of Pittsburgh. He moved around; and I moved around. Without email, staying in touch during those days was harder. Although I constantly try to track him down. Apparently he is not a social media fan - which does not surprise me one bit.

The thing I realized when I put this CD in today, is that I will never really lose Harvey. When I was dancing around my apartment this morning, he was right there with me saying "How can this music not make you happy?"

You know what Harvey, like I always replied, "You got me on that one!"

1 comment:

Chris said...

I stumbled across your blog just using the "next blog" button. I have to say I love this post, and I really enjoyed it, I have several albums that treat me the same way, Always bringing back some vivid memory, Thanks for this post!