I am seventeen years old and I have the camping pool to myself. It is up in the mountains of Southern Spain, but with the palm trees and ranch-ochre walls with wooden beams, I have a dream of California. More specifically, the headquarters of the West Coast Avengers. I am painfully uncool, although I would like to feel I have been vindicated since. This part of the world, with nothing to feed my strangeness, doesn’t feel like freedom. In America they have things, and all that things represent are possibility.
I am thirty-two years old on this Monday afternoon and I have the hotel pool to myself. It is on the seventh floor and the hotel looms above it, almost as tall as the Empire State Building. I am still not used to this idea of heaven. To the opposite side, another large glass building. I am surrounded by downtown Los Angeles. Someone periodically comes up to ask me if everything is okay and if I would like a drink. There is a hot tub, fruit-infused ice water in a jug, Taylor Swift over the speakers. It’s not that I feel I have done anything other than dream, but here I am.
I am sixteen years old and everything is high drama. Nothing feels more emotive to me than the men and guitars with their post-grunge angst. I sit on my bed and look out of the window at the block opposite. Since we moved to this apartment block, I have lost a significant portion of my view of the Rock due to more buildings being constructed. The sea is close, but it is somewhere behind me. I dream of taller buildings, better views, somewhere in New York with all the beautiful people. Where all the high drama translates into art and recognition. The place beyond the sea where Rob Thomas lives and dreams. I write bad poetry and I stick photos of Adam Duritz into my scrapbook. I think of an endless stretch of California highway with nothing but a guitar and a cadillac and notebook, escaping from something or running towards it.
I am thirty-two years old and the lights go down on the Inglewood Forum. Adam Duritz sings about hard candy, and for a moment I am back in my living watching MTV for six hours straight. My husband-to-be’s hand is on my lap and I am sipping a margarita, a respite from the sunshine. Nobody seems particularly bothered with this magic, I am incredulous at everyone tapping away at their phones. What a tough crowd. The lights go up, they go back down, Rob Thomas appears on stage and the crowd goes wild. It is everything I ever dreamed, and all I did was dream and here we are.