July 16, 1979 – KHTZ – Jack Armstrong – Ellis Feaster Collection –
Smack in the middle of Summer. Endless days and endless nothing. Just you, your buds, your tunes and a retaining wall. Every day it’s the same thing – its your routine. You get up, get dressed and head down to the beach. Take the Number 7 down Pico to the end and hitch a ride up PCH to Malibu. You meet up with your pals – you body surf for a few hours and then you spend the rest of the day perched on the same retaining wall, watching people and cars, your nose slathered with Zinc-Oxide. Cracking bad jokes with your friends, telling outrageous tales – shooting the breeze, dragging on Marlboro reds and guzzling a 32 ounce Big Gulp.
That’s your day – that’s been your day ever since it stopped being fog and low-clouds/hazy sun like it was all June. Like clockwork – the day after the 4th, Summer hits the beach big-time and you’re there till Labor Day and then you head back to school.
Simple – no stress, no work, no tests – lots of nothing and every so often a cute girl walks by – sometimes with her friends. You practice eye-contact and clever lines. You try not to stare too hard – her eyes are “up there” and she’s usually wearing shades so you don’t know if she’s looking back or ignoring you. She walks by and each one of your friends takes their turn; eye contact-clever lines. Sometimes she says hi back and stops to bum a cigarette and talk or nods her head and keeps walking. And then it’s back to watching cars. PCH gets crazy in the afternoon and you like looking at the expressions on peoples faces when they’re stuck in traffic. People are funny when they’re pissed – especially when they have no place to go.
Around 6:30 you all turn around to face the ocean – it’s part of the daily ritual; watching the sun go down. It dips behind the horizon and that’s your signal to head back down PCH, grab the bus and head home.
And you do it all over again the next day – and the next and the next. That’s your summer – big chunks of nothing broken up by watching people and hanging out. Life is cool – life is perfect – you wish it was like this all the time.
It won’t be next year. Next year you’ll graduate, turn 18 and become responsible – be an adult and have car insurance to pay, which means a job. Which means no more hanging out – no more watching – no more days full of nothing.
That’s next year.
And if you were around at the time and living in L.A. there’s a good chance that maybe your radio was turned to KHTZ and you were listening to Jack Armstrong. Maybe.
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