In 2006, the whole world revolved around me. I had been accepted to three different summer conferences—Cornhusker Girls’ State, the Notre Dame Global Issues Seminar, and the Colonial Dames of America Washington Workshop.*
Between the weeks away, I labored hard (or hardly labored) at Super Target, with my ultra glamorous job of passing out food samples twice a week and restocking the meat department other days.
In my introduction to this project, I explained that this year’s mix was supposed to unify a disparate group of people. From my all girls Catholic school, we were The Breakfast Club: the rebel, the one who pretended to be wild to shock the virginal one, the recluse, and me (the brain?).
Girls & Boys – Blur
Glass Dance – the Faint
Pour Some Sugar on Me – Def Leppard
Crush – Jennifer Paige
I Wear My Sunglasses at Night – Corey Hart
Seasons of Love -RENT
Invincible – Ok Go
Just a Ride – Jem
Portions for Foxes – Rilo Kiley
Sex on the Beach – Venga Boys
Bad Boyfriend – Garbage
Sweet Troubled Soul – stellastarr*
Dragonstea din tei – O-zone
Do You Want to – Franz Ferdinand
Can’t Hold Us Down – Christina Aguilera
Perfect Day – Hoku
Like that Girl – Fatty Koo
Wannabe – Spice Girls
Daylight Robbery – Imogen Heap
You Shook Me All Night Long – AC/DC
Get Fly – Atmosphere
2006 walks a line between dance anthems, rebellious songs, how-to-live-your-life tracks, and inside jokes. I can identify now the songs targeted toward each friend now more than I probably knew then. “Sex on the Beach” definitely wasn’t reflective of my life.
I don’t listen to 2006 anymore. I still love 75% of those songs, but when I hear them, I think of those friendships, of the security in believing that inevitable changes don’t really mean anything will change.
Too often I hear people say that young kids think they’re invincible. I believe that’s inaccurate. When we’re young, we know the frailty of our life, but we don’t understand it. We’re just beginning to get freedom and space to learn what life can feel like—the highs and the lows.
Where have we ended up?
Well, I no longer work at Target, and I have minimal contact with only one of the four people I considered my best friends a decade ago.
The wild one went away to college, moved back, and last I heard was heavily into hard drugs. We stopped drifted apart in the fall of 2006 as it became increasingly apparent that we were following different tracks
The one who pretended to be wild married a wonderful man (I got them a sushi kit for their wedding) and had a baby. She may still plan on pursuing a career as a sex therapist.
The virginal one married young after a relatively short courtship. We lost contact in 2008. My dad was hovering between life and death in the hospital for three weeks—something Summer Mix 2008 did not anticipate or prepare me for—and afterward, I questioned why I never felt her support when non-friend acquaintances were going out of their way to comfort my family. Everyone expresses their love and friendship differently, but I didn’t have room in my life for neglect in times of crisis.
And the recluse? She loved photography. She made clothing. She encouraged us to do silly things together. She wanted to study in Belgium after school. And after we graduated, none of us were able to get in contact. We never heard from her again. Maybe she was the linchpin holding us together, and when she disappeared from our lives, we disappeared from each other’s.
2006 Musical Highlights:
Jennifer Paige’s “Crush” is my favorite 90s song. “Get Fly” by Atmosphere is always at the top of my all time favorite songs list. “Like that Girl” is irresistibly peppy.
*The topic for that year’s essay contest was “What is the best Constitutional Amendment and why?” I won with a charming two-page essay on the 21st Amendment—the repeal of Prohibition. You’re welcome, world.