Great Expectations

Photograph by Jose Padua
It must have been 1971 or ’72 on a school night
listening in my room to WHFS
playing Boz Scaggs
way before he hit it big
on the pop charts.
It was a tune he wrote called,
“I’ll Be Long Gone,”
and the chorus was
“I’m gonna get up and make my life shine,”
but this time the LP at the radio station
got stuck and during the last repetition of the chorus
where Boz Scaggs adds a flourish
of “yeah yeah yeah yeah”
was when the record began to skip,
sending what sounded
like a hundred Yeah Yeahs out
over the airwaves from Bethesda, Maryland,
just north of DC to my
family’s house on Hobart Street.
I hadn’t tried smoking pot
or dropping acid yet
and I’d hardly even tried alcohol
and I thought
“Man, yeah, shit,
this is what it must be like
to get HIGH!”
as the walls, the ceiling,
even the books in my room
seemed to come alive.
And I listened to that Yeah Yeah repeat
for what seemed like several hundred
more times before the DJ
(probably Cerphe who I had
no idea what he looked like
but whom I thought must be
the coolest person in the universe)
came on the air to say,
“Sorry about that,”
before picking the tone arm off the record
and moving it slightly closer
to the center of the turntable
and a little bit closer to the end of the song
to put an end to the endless round
of Yeah Yeahs.
And I thought,
“This is what it must be like
to come down from being high.”
And I steadied myself,
looked at the mural
I’d painted on the wall of my room
to check if the figures of beautiful women
had stopped swinging their arms
nodding their heads up and down,
then to the books on my bookcase
to listen if they’d stopped speaking to me
with the wise voices of people much older than I was,
telling me that great things rarely happen
to those who simply sit and wait.

-Jose Padua

Photograph by Jose Padua.

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2 responses to “Great Expectations

  1. A really well captured moment, nice work

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