January 20, 2011
By Anonymous

This essay really has nothing to do with the state of California at all. I didn’t have some amazing vacation there; in fact I haven’t even been any farther west than Colorado. California is the name of a song. It is the name of a song whose play count on just my computer alone is over 40. It is a song that I know every word to and whose lyrics I screamed with my friends a countless number of times. But most of all, it’s a song that really just reminds me of this past summer. It’s odd because we didn’t even really know the song until the last bit of summer, but by the time that summer had completely come to a close it reminded me of how special this past summer had been. Thinking back on it now, it had been one of the best summers I’d had in a long time. I have had good summers before, but nothing compared to this one and the freedom I had and the friends I got to spend it with.
We started the summer off right at a bonfire at my friend Ayla’s house. It seemed all of my friends got together and had a great time. We threw one of our friends on a horse bareback and we all attempted to ride horses ourselves. Once it got darker, we took out all of our school papers from the previous year and just burned them in a big bonfire. It was then that we decided we needed to start out all of our summers like this; just together and happy that summer was starting and the school year was finally over. From then on my summer continued to get better. It seemed I always had a friend to be with, and we always had fun, even if it was just walking to Gardiner Lane Shopping Center and either annoying or making friends with the people that worked there. We could do anything we wanted as long as we had a way to get there; even though that usually meant walking or taking the Tarc. It wasn’t just the freedom of time we had, but the freedom of stress from schoolwork. In general, everyone I knew just seemed carefree and happy and that’s probably why I enjoyed it so much. No drama, barely any fighting, just a bunch of teenagers running around the city and having a good time, and that’s the way I liked it.

When I think back on summer some favorite memories come to mind; one of them being Warped Tour ’10. Warped Tour is a massive all day concert featuring over 40 bands, and I was lucky enough to go for my second time with my friends Emily and Amy this year. We got to meet bands we love and listen to music all day long. We moshed, we crowd surfed, we got hit on my creepy men and I even gave my friend a black eye! No worries though, we both just laughed about it. It felt like the hottest day of the summer, and I can’t say how dehydrated we were. Sweat, lack of sleep and bruises we’re probably all we looked like from the outside, but inside we were having the time of our lives and nothing could bring us down. The day after, wasn’t as great… We finally started to feel those bruises and lack of sleep, and it hit us pretty hard. We were having serious cravings for Bourbon chicken and Starbucks so of course we decided going the mall was a good idea. Wrong. We looked and felt dead; we slept on the floor in the back of Icing and on the beds at Dillards. The manager even allowed us to sleep there because she thought we looked so pitiful, but it was definitely worth it for everything we experienced the day before.

Aside from Warped Tour, summer was filled with so many great memories as a whole. I traveled to New York with one of my best friends and saw the play American Idiot on Broadway. I had never been before and everything about it was incredible. From the building to the parks, it was indescribable. We had marathons of TV series like Buffy the Vampire Slayer and The OC and watched dumb, yet wonderful, movies that made us cry like 5 year olds. We played in the sprinkler in my front yard at midnight, drank more Monster and Coke than you could imagine, even went to a paint fight and did countless dumb things that we would never have done without the inspiration of summer and each other. During the last week of summer a few of my friends hoisted me on top of a running fountain in Hogan’s Fountain, and just ran around doing anything to end our summer with a bang. All of these activities just highlighted the spirit of summer and how happy we all were to be free of school work and stress. The day before school some friends and I went up to the playground and looked back on the summer we had. We laughed, we cried and we realized summer was everything we’d hoped it would be. We weren’t sure we wanted to go back to school but we knew we had to; yet we knew this school year would be a lot better because we had the memories of this summer but more importantly we had each other.

The song California by Phantom Planet is now my favorite song. It reminds me of how great this summer was and it just makes me happy to listen to and think back on everything I’ve done and how happy my friends made me. It might have been the friends that I surrounded myself with, the new things I experienced, such as New York, or just even just having the freedom to do random stupid things that I don’t remember having in previous summers, but this summer was all around amazing. It makes me sad to think that we have already fallen into the basic school routine and that I won’t wake up and decide what random thing I will do with myself today, but at least I have the memories of us just being stupid kids to tide me over until the next.

“On the stereo, Listen as we go, Nothing's gonna stop me now, California here we come, Right back where we started from. Pedal to the floor, Thinkin' of the roar, Gotta get us to the show. California here we come, Right back where we started from” –California, Phantom Planet

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