Getting a car was a bit of a long process for me. In actuality, it probably wasn’t that long, but when you’re 17 and most of your friends have cars, anything short of buying a car the minute you see it is “too long.” There was a bit of a debate over the Pontiac Sunfire I wanted because it wasn’t exactly a safe car. Naturally, I didn’t care as much about safety; I just liked that it looked cool, and even though it was used, it was new enough to have a CD player (the downside for my friends who got theirs early is that a lot of them had to install one, an amenity that I doubted would have happened for me otherwise).

Like any teenager with a new car, when it was finally mine, you couldn’t get me out of it. So, even though my school was close enough that I could reasonably walk (it was a little less than a mile away), I drove. (I didn’t feel that bad about it, though, because one of the school princesses, who got a very cool car just as soon as she could drive, lived two blocks away and still drove. And there were never enough parking spaces!)

For my senior year of high school, I cultivated the ever popular “I don’t give a shit about this place or anyone here” attitude. I spent most of my time listening to Seattle indie bands, talking more in class than I had for the three years prior (when I went to them), and dreaming about getting into a school in New York City. The car became a reminder of how good life was — or could be.

This time coincided with my love of a Seattle band named Peter Parker. Their second album, Semiautobiographical, probably took up 80% of my music listening that year. Because I thought I was so damn cool, I decided at some point that I needed “entrance music,” a song that I could play every time I drove into the school parking lot. It became a very easy choice. While driving into school one morning, my arrival at the threshold of the school parking lot just so happened to coincide with the beginning of the drum beat of “Barcelona (Das Ist Alles)” that kicks in at the 56 seconds mark. It felt like a sign. This had to be my entrance music.

Peter Parker, “Barcelona (Das Ist Alles)” (download)

From that moment on, every morning, I would start “Barcelona (Das Ist Alles)” when I made a turn about halfway through my journey, and I would enter the parking lot at exactly the moment when the song shifts, windows down, music blaring. I had it timed to perfection. The amusing aspect of this was that I didn’t have a first period four out of five days of the week, so there was rarely anyone there who might hear my entrance music, let alone anyone who would recognize it if they didn’t know it because of me. But it wasn’t about them, really. It was just something I did to get myself ready for another day that I was usually dreading.