// October 10th, 2014 // My Writing Life

il new york“Only the Lonely” The Motels.

What does this song remind me of?

Early 80s. Probably 1982 (since that’s when the song was released). I had a cassette recorder and headphones and had taped Only The Lonely from the radio along with other 80s hits.

I had biked to get a haircut at SuperCuts and decided to cruise around Glendale on my Redline BMX bike I bought with money from 8th grade graduation.

I was a melancholy teenager back then – especially with music playing in my ears. It would take me away from everything.

I dreamed of going to New York as I biked up Chevy Chase from Broadway. Past my house, past the Adventist Hospital, past school on Kimlin Drive and I made a turn on Lilac Lane past Cindy Orozco Keenan house then up and around to the top of the hill.

I sat on my bike staring down at Rael Mendoza’s house with Only the Lonely blaring on my bulky headphones.

I must have listened to it a couple of times – imagining myself in a New York Subway. I wanted to go so bad. (I eventually did a solo trip to NYC in 1985 – ditching school for a week).

I remember gripping the handlebars as I rewound the tape and replayed it for the umpteenth time. Then I bombed the hill toward Rael’s house.
There is something absolutely amazing to hit your top speed down a hill on a BMX bike with music blaring in your ears. It feels like you’re flying.

I turned the corner and sped back down Chevy Chase to my house, weaving in and out of parked cars, jumping curbs, and pedaling as fast as I could possibly pedal.

It was SO exhilarating I shed a couple of tears. As I said – kinda melancholy teenager with aspirations of being a writer without the knowledge of how.

Epilogue. 1985. Night time. New York City. I sat outside a bar and scratched out a short story in a journal as i sat across the street from a bar that seemed to seep colorful lights and smoke whenever someone entered or exited the door. Just a 17 year old CA kid that managed to figure out the subway system, venture to the top of the Empire State Building, and watch “Gotcha” in the balcony of a movie theater in Queensboro, NY. But as I sat outside of that bar I knew I was destined to express myself on a pad of paper. I had a new Toshiba tape deck with me. Three years removed from that haircut and bike ride around Glendale.

The song that played – Only the Lonely.




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