Sunday, July 15, 2012

100 Songs: 2/100: Box Car Racer - "There Is"

You know Charlie Nicholson, Catherine Zeta-Jones’ character in High Fidelity? She’s the one who Rob thought was some kind of super perfect catch that he didn’t deserve, and then one day found out that she was cheating on him? And when he went through his list to find out what it all meant, he realizes that she was just a terrible person? Yeah, I have a Charlie Nicholson in my life. 
During my first year at New Paltz, I met a girl. We spent a lot of time together, we’d go get meals with each other, we’d walk to get coffee (for her, not me), we’d watch movies at night, we made out once in the basement lounge of our Residence Hall… we weren’t quite inseparable, but we were getting pretty close. Until she went home for an extended weekend and got back together with her ex-boyfriend, something she had been considering for awhile and told all of our friends except me. I felt kind of hurt that she didn’t tell me about him- not so much because I wanted to date her but you’d think that would be something that you’d tell a friend that you spend all your time with.

Anyway, if you’re thinking that this girl was my Charlie Nicholson- you’re dead wrong. I just needed to open with that. The two of us had a mutual friend who happened to have known her from home. This mutual friend was the one who told me about the ex-boyfriend being back in the picture, and she felt badly that I was the only one who had not been informed about him because she thought I deserved to know. I don’t want to say that she then made it her mission to find me a match- but about a day later she definitely introduced me to a friend at dinner. Sparks did not fly with this friend. Mostly because my new matchmaker and I soon began seeing each other.

I don’t want to trivialize our entire relationship and say that she was a “terrible” person just like Charlie Nicholson because things ended on a sour note- but I can definitely say that we were just a terrible couple. When we argued, which happened frequently, we would rudely interrupt each other, ignoring points that the other made, or just outright not letting the other person get a word in at all. I would criticize her music selections on playlists, and instead of admitting when she made a mistake, she would instead bring up a time when I had done something similar. I don’t doubt for a moment that at the time the two of us really liked each other- but thinking back on it, we just did not have a good relationship.

And that brings me to the song. We listened to a lot of music together when we weren’t fighting. She’s the first person I ever made a mixtape for that was on an actual cassette (actually, since no one I know uses cassettes anymore, she’s the only person I’ve ever done that for) (I also used the last blank tape for her).  She was a fan of blink-182, but she had missed out on listening to Box Car Racer, which kind of surprised me a lot. So while I was making her mix, one of the songs I put on it was”There Is”. Anyone who knows the song knows that it’s a sweet and wonderful song for one person to give to another person. It was the first song we listened to at the start of 2007, and it kind of became “our song”. When Angels & Airwaves covered it, the first thing I did was share it with her and send her an mp3 of the performance. When she made me a mix, she put the song on the track list. We’d watch videos set to the song on YouTube, and we’d listen to it while being intimate. It really had become our song.

And then we broke up. I’m still not even sure how it happened. One afternoon, it just happened. Except it didn’t really, because we would still come over to each other’s rooms every single day. And all the while,”There Is”was still there for us, no matter what we were telling people about the state of our relationship.

At least, the song was there for us until I found out one night after leaving my room she had gone back to her place and hooked up with a couple of her roommate’s friends. Since we were telling people that we weren’t together, it technically wasn’t cheating, but it was still an awful feeling to find out about it. Even though we still went through a few more weeks of going back and forth before our relationship finally just ended, it was at that time when I stopped listening to the Box Car Racer songs. I absolutely despised”There Is”after that for how much it reminded me of what happened. It went unchecked in all my playlists and I couldn’t bring myself to listen to it. Never before had I hated a song so much when it used to be one of my favorites.
About a year and a half after we finally cut off all ties between us, we ended up at a party together. Being polite, we talked for a little bit and it was a miserable experience. I mentioned something that had happened during our first year of school, something that had nothing to do with our relationship, and she pretended to think for a moment before telling me that she had no recollection of what I was talking about. And from what I was told through the grapevine, when she spied me putting my arm around a female friend, she grabbed her new boyfriend and gave him a very passionate kiss. I can’t confirm if that actually happened, but I have two eyewitnesses who swear that it did occur. Again, I don’t want to say that she’s an outright terrible person because I did some awful things too, but that was while we were dating, not a year after we had split.

As for”There Is”, eventually I was able to put it on and not think about my Charlie Nicholson. In 2011. A full four and a half years after our relationship went down in flames. To this day,”There Is”is the only song that I’ve ever felt so strongly against, when it used to be extremely important to me. There is not much, if anything at all, that I can do to repair my relationship with my Charlie, but I sure hope that something like that never comes in between me and one of my favorite songs ever again.

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