The Get Up Kids - Mass Pike

Last night on the Mass Pike
Thought I was losing you
Last night on the Mass Pike
I fell in love with you
Let's start with the basics. Every stupid teenager from here to the Cape has driven down the Mass Pike while listening to "Mass Pike." It makes you feel very significant, if you have the right amount of angst and it's about one in the morning. Even if you don't really drink alone.

Stephanie loves this song, and even though she's dozing off she's moving back and forth in her seat, mouthing the lyrics. I'm driving through snow, going eighty five or ninety miles an hour, flying home to Chicopee. It's crazy, really, that she can sleep with all the sound and lights. I can't sleep in cars, and I guess that's why I have to drive.

She looks perfect right now. She's the second girl I've ever known this well, and I've always felt like this and gotten crushed later. Lying in Clarice's back yard with her head on my chest, her eyelashes, her mother flashing the lights on and off -- this I remember. It's almost the same now, but I know, deep down, that I'm just as doomed with Stephanie.

We're coming home from her college visits. She's gone to a whole load of schools in Boston and she has no idea what she wants to do, and at the moment that's okay because at two in the morning all is at peace in the world. I haven't gotten into college yet, and I'm stupid and didn't apply to anywhere sensible. Maybe I won't get in at all.

Jonathan Richman and the Modern Lovers - Road Runner

I'm in love with Massachusetts
And the neon when it's cold outside
And the highway when it's late at night
With the radio on
For this one, you have to be alone and inside Route 128 -- this is an obvious rule and it's one that I follow steadfastly. I'm looping in and out from 95 to the heart of Boston and back. I've driven under the Prudential a half-dozen times and I don't know where to go.

Step back. It's ten at night. The parts of the city that are accessible to a nineteen-year-old are starting to close, and I don't know what the hell to do. Stephanie is with her aunt on Commonwealth and I am moving back and forth on the highway.

I'm broken. I'm not in love with Ashley, but I'm more not in love with Stephanie, as stupid as that sounds. And Ashley -- Ashley is still perfect. Of course, she has a boyfriend. And she doesn't like me. But dear God -- the soul of that girl! The art! She's got everything I can't find in myself right now.

Ashley goes to my school, and she's tall, she's talented, she's sarcastic, she hangs out with me. Some days I hide out in the library, in the halls, to avoid seeing her. I skip out of classes, because it kills me to know that I can't have her -- I'm betraying my girlfriend with a girl who couldn't care less.

I loop back again, I drive by the Back Bay house. Stuck in traffic, I tell myself for the eighth time that we're not right for each other, but I have to keep moving tonight.

James Taylor - Sweet Baby James

Now the first of December was covered with snow
And so was the turnpike from Stockbridge to Boston
Lord, the Berkshires seem dreamlike on account of that frosting
With ten miles behind me, and ten thousand more to go
All the way to Huntington Avenue from the New York state line, from visiting Tasha in Albany, to the MassArt campus. The two girls are three dorms apart and they don't know each other.

Back up Mass Ave to the new digs at Harvard. My roommate is gone, without so much as a note. It looks like another night of fighting monsters by clicking them. I can't remember the last time I even wrote a damn thing, and sliding into the computer chair is pathetic -- it's masturbatory, it's a waste of my time, when I should be out painting the city. Why didn't I learn how to paint?

The worst of it is feeling that I've wasted my entire life, and I'm not even two decades into it. These years have been chipped away from me, and I'll never get them back. From now on it's jobs, and making the money stretch, and a lifetime with the wrong girl or a lifetime of searching for the right one. Oh, God.

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