This entry is going to bore the fucking snot out of you if you didn’t go to Chapel Hill in the glory years (1986-93) but Tessa and I were recreating several nights that happened to us in the balmy, wired-for-excitement springs of 1989 and 1990. She was dating Marvin Levi, the fabulous drummer for The Veldt, and I was busy being a Man About Campus, doing a lot of writing and cashing in my big-fish-small-pond notoriety to catch girls.
Both of us were quite enamored of the years 89-90 because we were having the most fun, she was falling in love, I was smashing furniture with Salem, and the scene was terrific. The Sex Police, Dillon Fence and the Veldt were making sure everyone in a five-mile radius was having a good time, and I was able to polish off a four melonballs without a hangover the next day.
Quick aside: when I was social chairman at my fraternity – yes, I said it – one of our deliveries got screwed up, and instead of sending us two bottles of Midori melon liqueur, they sent us something like twenty. Instead of returning the greenish liquid, we just starting making everything with Midori, and half the Lodge developed a low-level Midori addiction. Grasshoppers, melonballs, sours, we did it all. Secretly, I still crave it.
Anyway, one night at a Johnny Quest show at the Cat’s Cradle, the band was working our sweaty, undulating throng of a crowd into a drunken froth of ecstasy. Somehow, I ended up on stage (along with forty other people) and danced, the kind of dancing when you close your eyes and don’t care about anything except your own joy.
I opened my eyes, and this gorgeous girl was right in front of me, dancing right along, and suddenly she kissed me, long unbelievably sweaty beautiful kisses that lasted for a minute or more. When she leaned back, she said, “Your writing has made me happy for three years, and I’ve wanted to do that forever.”
As she was pulled away, I screamed for her name. “Nivee!” she yelled, or something like that, and in an instant, she was gone, and I never saw her again. That one moment was the greatest college experience I ever had, and I swear to god, it erased ENTIRE YEARS of misery from my childhood of loneliness and self-loathing. When I die, and my life passes before me, I hope I get a few seconds of that along with everything else.
Tessa and I discussed getting a time machine to spend one day back in Chapel Hill in that time frame, but we’d have to pick a really good day, one where we were having a party, where a good band was at the Cradle, and hopefully, the Heels would be playing too, so I could watch Dean Smith coach one more game. We couldn’t run into our past selves, so as not to freak us out, but observe and take it all in, the smells and delight of those springs. The “good old days” most likely sucked as a whole, making our romantic memories somewhat pathetic, but going back for just one day wouldn’t hurt anybody, would it?
me and Tessa, November 1989 – not on a date, just two friends at the same party (photo work by Lars Lucier)