I met with a friend over spring break, one I hadn’t seen in almost a year. It was a spontaneous thing, our meeting; what began as a short “do u wanna brunch @ the depot on fri” text became an impromptu sleepover in her dad’s basement, where we didn’t crash until the sun came up, despite the fact that I had driven for two hours straight on a whim, directly following a shift at work, to make this happen.
But that didn’t matter. Neither did the fact that the only place open at that hour was a grungy, greasy all-nite diner, with an aesthetic my friend had described, quite disdainfully, as “retro, but not retro enough to be considered cool.” But, oddly enough, bathed in that sickly pink-and-green neon parking lot glow, there seemed to be no problem in the world that a couple of root beer floats couldn’t fix.
A lot had changed since I’d last seen her. She was hopeful. She had just begun a new relationship. I was devastated, having just ended one. I could feel our auras mixing like...oil and water? Oil and water would be the analogy that fits with this situation, but if I was water, I was water that had been sitting, stale and stagnant, for most of spring break. And if she was oil, she was peppermint scent, intoxicating, fill-up-an-entire-room essential oil, something that your grandmother might have bought in the 70s but has since been appropriated by hipster culture. She was something that couldn’t help but instantly and subtly brighten everyone’s mood, although they would never be able to put a finger on exactly why, had they been asked about it later what it was exactly that had made them feel so good.
When I walked into the diner, the first thing she said to me was not, as I had expected, a comment on the fact that I had blue hair now, or had finally started introducing color back into my wardrobe after half a decade of almost exclusively all black. No, instead, after a quick embrace and quick once-over, she smiled.
“You still cuff your pants.”
I stopped for a minute, because of course I do? It was something I had done every day since sophomore year...something that, I’m sure at one point was a conscious fashion choice, but had long since simply become a force of habit, done thoughtlessly and without question. It was something I no longer think about, but is the first she notices after being apart for so long.
It feels odd for some reason, having this pointed out to me. Something that comes so naturally to me, it feels almost ingrained, despite the fact that this part of my world was self-designed, albeit so long ago. I am overwhelmed with the sudden urge to put on some of the records that so shaped my adolescence, to ride around my hometown, windows down, with Arcade Fire’s 2010 release The Suburbs pouring from my speakers. I am reminded, not for the first time, of all the things that I would never do again, at least under the same set of circumstances. I also have the thought that it is the culmination of these very things that have made me, have led me to become the person that I am. Even something so simple as habitually cuffing my pants.
So instead of Arcade Fire, we settle on Blink-182, and as we cruise around, wind whipping her hair out from where it was tucked neatly behind her ear, she comes to the conclusion that there is some magical potency to the song “After Midnight” when it is, in fact, played after midnight.
As a brief foreword, and to provide some context, this playlist is titled “springsummer” in an attempt to convey that this sticky sweet selection of indie pop is intended to encapsulate the fun, lackadaisical vibe of spring break, in order to get you through the remainder of the semester until it’s finally summer again