I just heard a song from Nirvana on that internet music site, and it brought back a few memories of the first time I heard them. This will definitely date me, as does most musical preferences for people, but maybe you’ll relate.
I was a Sophomore in high school and one of my friends let me listen to it on his portable CD player. For whatever reason, late in Spring, the idea came up to drive up to the mountains for a day of skiing. I don’t remember who brought it up, but my parents offered to drive. We woke up at 5am, one Saturday morning, and 3 of my friends came along. I had known these guys since 1st grade. We went to grammar school together and then to the same high school. By this point, though, we had started to drift apart, so it was one of those throw back trips that we all seem to need.
High school does that to kids. When we are all confronted with becoming adults, we are forced to look in ourselves and realize, or maybe decide who we will be. We start forming the sort of lives we want to lead. The four of us hadn’t hung out much for months, and hadn’t done anything like this for a year at least. That trip to the mountains would be our last outing together. We had just become too different.
For one day though, we shared some good times, and some songs on a CD player. The day of skiing was memorable for sure, too. The highlight of the day was the first run down an intermediate slope. The two of us who had skied before were a little shaky, yet we tried to give the other two some help. At the top, once we got of the lift, we were all surprised to see one of the newbies, tear off down the slope. I thought he had played us about not knowing how to sky. The other guy who knew how to sky went down after him to find out. I stayed up to help the fourth down.
When we got to the bottom, there was a great story of how he really hadn’t known how to sky, and just figured pointing them straight downhill would be simple enough. Fortunately he didn’t hit anyone, but he did crash in the middle of a bunch of people, and sprayed snow all over some lady. He also got yelled at for going too fast, and nearly killing someone. It was all good fun.
On the way home we piled into my dad’s Chevy extended cab and headed home. About 20 minutes into the 3 hour drive the CD player came out, and surprisingly it got passed around. We all got a chance to really listen to Nirvana.
Like I said, we had been drifting apart and now belonged to slightly different crowds, but the music made us all connect. There were no issues sharing and being quite while the others listened. We were sharing something important, something special. It felt good knowing we all were on the same page and felt the same way about this guy wailing away. It wasn’t so much that the music was good, but that it was our music. It was and for our generation. My parents didn’t know what we were listening to. The radio station hadn’t started playing it. Courtney Love hadn’t started defiling her husband’s music. Before all that, and Cobain’s demise, Nirvana was grunge for us gen-Xers. He wasn’t a genius, or a master, as his suicide has suggested to some. The music was just a representation of a certain sentiment at our given time.
So much music is that way, and every generation seems to have moments of clarity and voice, along with every individual. There is nothing particularly meaningful in that point, but its fun to be reminded of our youthful discoveries once in a while.