Vacation, worlds away
By Raoul Hernandez,
11:44AM, Fri. Aug. 24, 2007
It’s hard to see the end when you’re beginning
Time goes by you start to see the light
Sometimes getaway manifests itself as familial responsibility, a ticket home. Thankfully.
I left the Bay Area in 1992 at the age of 27. Never to return. Both my parents fled their birthplaces. Runs in the sangre.
Returning remains singular. The sun, the sea, the sky. Past and present, another lifetime’s ghosts mingling among all tomorrow’s parties. Raiders vs. 49ers. U.C. Berkeley fall load-in, Sunday, 10am. Invasion of the Body Snatchers. Be sure to wear flowers in your hair…
Lake Cascade, East Bay, morning: ducks and cranes, country club tennis skirts, and 9/10s of a mile round. Lap ‘em. I don’t need no stinkin’ iPod.
When radio was king, Seventies-Eighties, Bay Area airwaves broadcast their native stock: Journey, Grateful Dead, Tubes. Eddie Money to John Lee Hooker. Grace Slick. Rack ‘em.
One summer afternoon, 1980, the sunroof of my friend’s Celica lit a plasma sky. San Francisco blasted out of the tape deck in the form of his favorite New York cop turned blue-eyed soul man. Blue-eyed schlock man some would say.
Harry Belafonte, Johnny Cash, Kiss: my musical foundations had long since been in place. On that afternoon, the sun and sky lapped upon the shores of “Trinidad,” FM muscle rock cured with Caribbean accents. Could’ve been any song, I suppose, but not any sky, not any other empty expressway we were roaring down on a day specially ordered for teen boys up to moderate no good. Song and internal Polaroid fused forever for reasons still unfathomed.
1977-1987 holds a bottomless mineshaft of such songs, Asia to Zappa, “867-5309/Jenny” to “Start Me Up,” Pablo Cruise’s A Place in the Sun to the Beatles’ Abbey Road, my first two cassettes. They say olfactory memory rattles personal nostalgia fastest, strongest, but a song branded to any point of your timeline means instant dopamine for life. Punch up that tune and you’re suddenly back to the future of whatever emotional state accompanied it. It’s the gift that never stops giving.
“Worlds Away,” on this blue sky mine, honks and lasers through my lungs expanding.
Step by step
You follow through
When always in your mind
You wanna be worlds away…
This morning I am.
Pablo Cruise Itinerary
Pablo Cruise (1975) **
Lifeline (1976) *
A Place in the Sun (1977) ***
Worlds Away (1978) ****
Part of the Game (1979) ***
Reflector (1981) *
Out of Our Hands (1983) **