I just read a friend's post about what specific songs evoke in us as individuals, moments that are so meaningful to us, to me, just to one person. And like others, I have so many moments, but here's one that feels so real to me.
1988. We were careening into the Holland Tunnel on an early summer evening. I don't remember who all was in the car, but it's a safe bet that I was driving my second old Volvo. The car windows were all down. The Volvo probably didn't have a/c anyway.
Marc Siry was in the car, and one or two others. The cast of possible passengers include Steve Buccellato and David Wohl.
Did we initially hear the song coming from a nearby car or was Marc fiddling around with the car radio? I don't remember. I only remember the Holland Tunnel line wasn't too long that hot summer night, the summer of easily triggered car alarms, the summer of eating Ben and Jerry's ice cream on the stoop on Fifth Street in Jersey City, the summer we used to chuck three dollars to the toll takers and cruise into Manhattan to park near the Houston Street Knitting Factory or CBGB. Yes, you could easily park in Manhattan back when I was a wee cherub.
Marc lived on the Lower East Side, David and Steve in Greenpoint, so I don't know what we were up to on my side of the river, but I was cruising in on a summer weekend night, as we did every summer weekend night when we were young and went to see music or go to parties. Or just to Vazac's or Scorpio Bar to play pinball.
Mary Mary by Run DMC came on just as I pulled out of the secret access lane that put you in ahead of the weekend traffic from NJ-proper. And as I barreled in around the curve to bully my car in back in a world where people weren't real polite about merging, I paid the toll keeper, and Marc turned the radio up. What did he say? "Hey, that's a great song," or "Listen to this," or...I don't know. He turned it up and Run DMC filled the car, and we lost the signal as I drove under the river.