My wandering took me to a deserted part of campus. I was hearing the voices of street vendors - "cheeba cheeba, man", "uncle syd here!" - but it was only in my head. Wishful thinking. Wishful thoughtlessness. I sat down at the entrance to one of the buildings, closed for the weekend, feeling the beginnings of a lightness of mood. And sensing the actual lightness as well, living with a foot in that to-be-determined moment, not knowing if it's five minutes, five hours, or five days away. Maybe it's just more wishful thinking.

My noise-phobia is gone, so I grab the Walkman and listen to the remainder of a Replacements tape, starting to sing along with the songs - a quiet hootenanny-for-one, comfortable that there's nobody around to hear me. The tape runs out, and I grab another one at random from the backpack. It turns out to be an old, hastily-assembled compilation tape, compilated right before a mass road trip to the beach in the hippiewagon; I must have tossed it into the backpack by accident, and I'm sort of glad I did - it's a nice, unexpected 1981 time capsule, a soundtrack of a snapshot.

I remember fighting over what to tape that day - Anne, the "older woman" in my life (a grad student), laid down her rules: "No punk, no Joy Division". She just didn't understand the adrenaline rush of driving to the Suicide Commandos at 75 MPH. But I was able to sneak in "Atrocity Exhibition", since that was already being recorded as we began arguing.

This is the way, step insi-i-de
This is the way, step insi-i-de...

Fast forward. My rule: "No Furs!" I wasn't fond of the Psychedelic Furs' Talk Talk Talk, her fave LP of the moment. But the next song on the tape is "Into You Like a Train". Payback. And now, here, I sing along, approximating Richard Butler's rheumatic whine - I used to try to taunt Anne with it, but she actually liked my imitation.

I don't wanna make no scene
lovers come and go
or make you Mrs. Anyone
or make you Mr. Me...

Fast forward. Elvis. Trust. "Strict Time". I sing some more.

You talk in hushed tones, I talk in lush tones
Try to look Italian through the musical Valium
Strict time...
Thinking of grand larceny
Smoking the everlasting cigarette of chastity
Cute assistants staying alive
More like a hand job than the hand jive
Strict time...

I'm oddly cheered, wondering what I'm singing, pondering that everlasting cigarette of chastity, whatever it is. A curative giggle.

That's enough wandering, both through the campus and through the C-90 time capsule. Time to meet up with the band. I head back toward the bars, singing some Elvis of more recent vintage...

I punch the clock, and it's OK
I know a girl who takes my breath away...

Time to punch the clock.


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