Today’s song is from a band I hardly know at all, and it’s here in honor of the fact that my goddaughter, Anna, is graduating today with a Masters degree in Occupational Therapy. Anna gave me the song on a disc back when she was still in high school and I’ve always associated it with a road trip we took together to look at colleges up in Massachusetts, back in 2007.
It’s an all-acoustic song—a 2000 release from their hugely popular LP Californication (1999)—from Red Hot Chili Peppers, which is not something very common. That might be one reason she gave it to me, knowing my penchant for moody acoustic tunes, rather than something from Stadium Arcadium (2006), which was the big album of her high school years.
It’s a good “kick-off to summer” song, as it commemorates not only the imperative to “go get lost anywhere in the U.S.A.” but also getting into the surf—at Big Sur—which is fitting as Anna’s off to a beach in the Carolinas for graduation weekend. It’s also fitting as I’ll be road-trippin’ later this summer myself, in Minnesota and South Dakota, after some east coast tripping from Connecticut down to Maryland.
The song has a muted salute to life quality, a little wistful and little wishful. As if the reunion it’s celebrating—and it’s the time of year for those too—might not be flat-out fun and frolic. You know how it is: time passes and the people you knew in college, or at college age, age into later versions, newer models that still have some of the same memories as you floating in their craniums somewhere but not necessarily as easily accessed. But it’s nice to touch base again with one’s “favorite allies” and recall “So much has come before / Those battles lost and won.” Another way of saying, “what a long, strange trip it’s been.” Where were you when? And what are you now? It’s something to see the solidarities of youth get stretched by the years that follow. It’s something to see the coalitions that form and dissolve as life goes on . . . and on.
It’s also a song about hitting the beach, which I’ll be doing in a week and in less than a week I’ll be heeding the call to “leave this town / It’s time to steal away.” Maryland, where Anna is graduating today, is the shore I’ll be heading to. Ah, yes, the beachly beach. “Blue, sitting pretty . . . just a mirror for the sun.” Where I won’t, indeed, stay high and dry. More than the call of waves, just now, I’m feeling the call to get away, if not “lost” than at least “gone.” That singular stretch of shore on a little finger of a peninsula on the Atlantic has been, since before I can remember, the place to take stock, in the increments of vacation days, of whatever I’ve been pondering. When I’m down there it will be interesting to post from the coast and see what effect that has.
Anyway, today’s song is in honor of Master Anna, “your smiling eyes just a mirror for . . .”
Let’s go get lost, let’s go get lost.