Growing up, Air Conditioning was a luxury I lived by and large without. Given the brevity of the summers and the extremity of the difference between day and night time temperatures, a/c just didn't make much sense. When you're limited to 8 to 10 weeks of weather that would traditionally be considered "summer", there's not much point in the expense associated with installing central air.
As such I've long associated summer with the hum of cicadas and the hot stickiness that hangs in the air like a heavy lead vest.
In the summer of 2002 in my beat up old 1991 Toyota Corolla which, as you might guess, was lacking in the A/C department I stumbled upon the soundtrack of a summer. I both lost and found myself in Chroma Key's Dead Air For Radios.
Creating an atmospheric sheen that music enveloped my soul like the sweat enveloping my body I drove from Northern Ohio to Chicago to visit Toni. It was July 2nd, I left immediately after work but still didn't get on the road until about 5 pm. On that hot summer night the windows were down and I felt like I was a rolling metaphor, I was both a young man going west and I found myself driving off into a beautiful summer sunset.
I remember traveling north on I-94, that thick humidity hanging in the air a thick blanket enveloping the city, the lights of the skyscrapers cutting through the soft haze and feeling like a prodigal son returning home.
And while I still enjoy the CD, I don't feel that same connection to it. It so perfectly captured that one very specific moment in my life, not just the moods, but the overall atmosphere. But when something captures a moment in your life so perfectly it's relevance, sadly becomes instantly dated.
Today when I listen to the music, I'm back in my beat up old Corolla traveling west on the Ohio Turnpike in stifling summer heat, the windows rolled down, and the car moving faster than it probably wanted to have been moving, a prodigal son returning "home."