The Soundtrack of My Life – 24 – Mad Season

Here I am again with an entire album. I couldn’t help myself. This is one of the few that I couldn’t pick a single song from if you held a gun to my head. Every track is pure perfection, and far surpassed their first album. At least, to me. And that’s saying something since I was (still) absolutely in love with their first release.

For the longest time, I was blissfully naïve. I thought everyone loved Matchbox Twenty. It wasn’t until I worked at Border’s that upon merely mentioning their name everyone in my vicinity rolled their eyes. (It’s not like I said Nickelback.) I find this kind of behavior super fucking pretentious. The notion that one set of musicians is better than another because they’re not as “commercial” or that they hadn’t “sold their soul to music executives” is exhausting. Here is where I roll my eyes. Just because the band hasn’t been discovered doesn’t mean 1) that they’re even good or 2) that they’re better. It just means there wasn’t a mass appeal for them as there was for another.

Anyway! I’m getting entirely off-track.

The reason I chose this album is because this, along with their first, makes me think of summer time. It brings to mind the excitement and energy of travelling. Every time I listen I’m back in the rear seat of my parents car, headphones on, playing Pokémon on my gold GameBoy pocket. This one in particular recalls the summer right after my 8th grade graduation when my parents took me and a close family friend, Nycole, on a road trip to Canada. This album was what drowned out the sound of the constant bickering between my Aunt and Uncle, who had joined us mid-way through and hijacked our trip.

The trip up to the point, after we realized they had joined us for the remainder of it, was super fun.

While Nycole isn’t a blood relative she feels like a cousin. Even now I will call her that, with no relation between the two of us. She’s transcended normal friendship, primarily because we’ve been friends since we were itty-bitty babies.

I’m not going to lie to you, dear reader. The whole reason my parents planned this trip to Canada was so that I could 1) have my first taste of a “foreign” country and 2) so that I could purchase a plethora of Beanie Babies with Canadian tush tags. At the peak of the Beanie Baby craze, the more sought after plushes were those with this specific piece of legal type. Dumb, I know. Even as I wrote this I saw my dad shaking his head at the explanation. I didn’t choose the beanie life, it chose me.

However, because of my Aunt and Uncle, my time in the Great White North was limited to only a few hours. This was due to them having decided they were going to drive everywhere in their extended cab, diesel truck. It was here that I learned to NEVER AGREE TO TRAVELLING WITH ANOTHER FAMILY. EVER. I refuse to relinquish my ability to be able to do what I want, when I want. If I don’t have an escape route available, I will not take the chance.

By the time we had made it to our neighbor’s to the north, my parents had had enough of them, and so had Nycole and I. Looking back, they’re addition truly soured the entire trip. It went from the freedom to discuss what we wanted to do to: this is what we’re gonna fucking do whether you want to or not. It sucked.

It was on this trip that we were forced to spend an entire day taking a ferry over to Victoria Island so we could go to Butchart Gardens. (Fun fact I dated a dude who’s family had owned it!) I tried to buy Beanie Babies there, but I found none and wasn’t even given the chance to really look because my Aunt and Uncle INSISTED on using public transportation. Now their forced schedule was even more rigid to this.

Once we were free of them, the dark cloud that had built over my family lifted. I mean… it truly was night and day. These people were super toxic. And we had no idea until it was too late. Afterwards my parents knew their limitations and limited the time they spent around them to a minimum.

My dad repeatedly apologized for having said anything to them. He took the blame for having our trip turn into the vacation from hell. Even though it really wasn’t that bad, looking back. It was just them. They were such negative, miserable people.

That was the last big vacation my family ever took. From then on it was just weekend trips to somewhere within close proximity to where we lived, and far enough away that family couldn’t invite themselves.

With the exception of (half of) this adventure, I’ve loved road trips since I was a kid. I know most don’t because they’re trapped in a single place for copious amounts of time, and kids like to run. But I was a sedentary child. Proven by being overweight for the majority of my youth. My idea of fun was having my headphones on, staring out at the passing scenery. My mind would wander from one story idea to another, or I would just relax with the quiet from my constant buzzing thoughts.

Today the polycule and I leave for our own road trip. We’re going to be travelling up to South Dakota and then back down to Denver to see Chris Stapleton. (I got tickets for the hub’s birthday.) He actually just performed here in town last night, but when I went to purchase entry there were no handicap seats available. At all. So, I thought why not make a whole thing out of this and pick somewhere far away.

I just wonder what song or album will define this trip?

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