One band camp

No, really...this little tale did in fact take place at band camp.

The band camp of my Freshman year in high school to be exact. For band geeks, the first band camp was like being reborn. And I don't think I am overstating this when I say being reborn. In my middle school, if you were still in the band by the end of the 8th grade, you were officially a b-lister at best. It wasn't up for negotiation or debate. Band = not so cool. So you can imagine how happy I was made by the utopia that I had found in the summer of 1989. It was the summer before my first year in high school. So imagine if you will, taking a very shy, very awkward 14yr old and dropping him into a pool of equally shy and awkward girls, only some of them were 2 or 3 years older. It was a social trainwreck...really.

Enter Julia. I will never forget her name. I am going to date myself here, but oh well. In my neurotic, hormone driven mind she looked SO much like Alysa Milano. And at that time...the daughter on 'Who's The Boss?' was about as hot as it got.

The marching band Gods brought us together. There is no other way to explain it. I played the baritone, which if you are not down with the lameness that is high school marching bands, is like a small tuba. Julia played the clarinet. So you see, there was really NO reason for us to ever cross paths. But for whatever reason the formation that our band was trying to master always had Julia and I right next to one another.

So for those two weeks(which in 14yr old terms may as well be 3 months) we bonded. She talked about her love for all things Motley Crue, while I just agreed with everything she said because for the first time in my life a pretty girl was actually making conversation with me. I remember making up the lamest excuses to ALWAYS have a reason to be near her. That first love buzz is a killer...its almost like you lose total control, like you become an entirely different person. But when the time arrived to actually act on my feelings and ask Julia to the social event of the season, the big band camp dance that was held on the eve of the night that we headed home, I dropped the ball.

My crippling shyness kicked in and I chose to just stand with my back to the wall in the corner that seemed to be reserved for all of the guys who shared my condition. Fleeting eye contact was made a few times...but I was never able to actually work up the nerve to walk across what at the time seemed like the biggest room on the planet and ask her to dance.

Band camp ended, and we once more settled into our regular lives and our regular cliques. I don't think I ever said more than 'hello' to Julia for the rest of the year...although I thought about her all the time.

Fast forward to 2007 and I laugh out loud when I think about those couple of weeks. Not because of the outcome so much, but because of the whole process. SUCH a huge part of growing up...unrequited love is the preeminent theme during our high school years I believe. Without it we wouldn't be able to appreciate the reciprocated kind.

4 Response to "One band camp"

  • Dale Says:

    Oh man, that's rough. I didn't do band camp, but I have a 14-year old in orchestra and a 10-year old in band, so it's coming, like it or not.

  • lucy Says:

    unrequited love is definitely a right of passage in high school/adolescence. i always remember that line from sixteen candles where samantha's father says that line about crushes, that if they didn't hurt they would be called something else.

    suppose it is what prepares us for real love, and to really appreciate and embrace it.

    i am enjoying your blog. a lot.


  • jenniferpkelly Says:

    i went to band camp, time we were practicing in 95 plus degree heat and pretty much the whole band passed out and ended up in the hospital. good times.

    I hit a couple of firsts at bandcamp, too, which I will not bore you with...but they had nothing to do with playing the drums.

  • michaeldustdevil Says:

    i have a blog too...
    i'll put up a link to yours... XXX