Back when I was in high school, I lived far enough away from the campus that I had two lone options to get to school. I could:
a) Take the bus, which was amusing mainly because people were always smoking hitters of Mary-J. This was a shining example of the coveted Wake -n- Bake.
b) Con my way into getting rides from other people as my parents refused to buy me a car of my own. Something about polluting the environment or something. I don’t know, I wasn’t listening. Damn hippies.
Since St. Charles is sprawling enough that although I didn’t live by school, I had many friends who REALLY didn’t live by school, and since, I convinced them, I was pretty much on the way, why didn’t they just stop by and pick me up?
A whole band of kids would pile into someone or another’s small ass two-door car, and off we would go to school. We’d purposefully leave even earlier than we needed to so that we could drive in concentric circles around the school, getting closer and closer until we finally arrived. This may have been the only time in my life that I’ve willingly gotten up earlier than necessary.
Why the hell did we do this? In retelling this, I don’t really know.
We’d listen to Sublime’s Sublime, or Led Zeppelin’s Houses Of The Holy, or even a sweet ass mix tape, we’d smoke as many cigarettes as we possibly could, clam-baking the car. Sometimes we’d play Student Driver and overreact like hell to random things like a Fire Hydrant, and drive slowly in the middle of the road, hands at 10 and 2, feigning intense concentration.
I guess we did it because we could. And why not?
In my senior year, due to some intense over-crowding, the school system had built a second campus, called, for lack of anything smarter The North Building. I’m certain you can guess why.
My first class happened to be in the North Building, so the Band of Merry Pranksters would gallantly drop me off there first before eking out a parking spot. Before I’d emerge from the car in a cloud of smoke and classic rock, we’d often spot one of our classmates trudging dutifully to the North Building, his monogrammed backpack slung jauntily across his back.
And without fail, we’d slip in Steve Miller Band’s Greatest Hits Album and crank it as loud as the speakers would allow, roll down the windows and scream, “STEEVVVEEE MILLLLLERR!” Half of us would hang our bodies out the window as we screamed this at him, waving frantically and exaggeratedly to him.
He’d look up at us, obviously stunned, as he was a really quiet kind of guy, and wave back at us tentatively. Almost shy.
I can only assume that the kid was named by parents who had lived under a rock for years, because seriously? Neither name is bad, by itself or together, but you hear the name “Steve Miller” and you can’t help but start to whistle “The Joker.”
Again, the obvious question here is why the hell did we do this? And the only answer I can give you is that I don’t know.
We certainly weren’t being mean or malicious or anything resembling that. None of us were like that then nor are we like that now.
I guess we did it because we could.
And as for good old Steve, who was always such a good sport? He got the last laugh: I think he went to Harvard or something.
Steve Miller, indeed.