I did my part to conserve oil and natural resources today by taking San Francisco & Oakland’s public transportation, called the BART. It stands for, you guessed it, Bay Area Rapid Transit and is the only subway I’ve ever been on that is carpeted. No idea why. My guess is that they have to replace it a couple times per year, although they don’t really have winter here, so maybe it doesn’t get that bad. Can you imagine a carpeted MBTA in Boston? Even worse, can you imagine how it would smell? Yeeesh.

Anyway, I was on my way to work this morning, sitting in carpeted, muffled acoustic glory on the BART, when it occured to me that this is the 20th anniversary of my first trip to San Francisco, which was back when I was, ahem, 13 years old. It was during our February school vacation and I was in 8th grade, hopelessly in love with and “dating” Tracy Pirro and thinking I was really the shit because I had given her the “Naughty Naughty” 7-inch single by John Parr. Man, I loved that song. I gave it to her as a “going-away” gift because I was leaving for San Francisco for an entire week with my family. I remember lamenting that being away for a week was simply way too long to be seperated from her. She apparantly believed the same thing, as we’ll find out later.

Anyway, it was my first time on a plane and also, I believe, my first time out of New England. Since that time, San Francisco remains my favorite “non-home” city to be in.

I mention all this because that week brought another personal first: the very first time I had heard of and seen a compact disc. Why I remember this now, I have no idea, but it is as clear to me as what I did last night. The fam and I were walking around San Francisco and night had fallen. For some crazy-ass reason, we sauntered into an audio store and were poking around when a guy in a suit, a salesman, asked us if we had ever heard a compact disc. All of us said no and gathered around as the salesman dropped a Phil Collins disc into the $1000 dollar CD-player and blew our collective mind. Not because it was a good song, either. I can assure you it was probably an embarassing song, in fact, but I would venture to guess it was no more embarassing than “Naughty Naughty.”

There you go. I wonder if anyone in my family remembers this otherwise forgettable stop in the audio store? Why do I? Most importantly, what the hell happened to twenty years? It often stops me in my tracks when I think about the passage of time and that my own parents were only in their late 30s when we made this trip – an age I am rapidly approaching. Stunning.

In a sort of sick sidenote, I came back after that vacation to find out that our science teacher had been arrested for child molestation while I was gone. Of course, he was the teacher that all us kids really liked. Funny guy, good teacher, etc. It was horrible – and naturally, the talk of the school. I also came home to find out that my glorious four weeks with Miss Pirro was kaput. Over. I should have asked for the damned John Parr record back. I’d bet you anything I’d still have it.