THINGS THAT ARE COMING BACK TO ME WHILE SITTING IN RITTENHOUSE SQUARE IN PHILADELPHIA

I went to college outside Philly and then lived here for an unhappy year after. I haven't been back in forever.
  1. My first day of college.
    Allergic to everything, eyes watering, buzzing with Claritin, bashful, confused, wanting to call the high school girlfriend who'd break up with me two weeks later, when she finally got to college.
  2. My last day of college.
    Still drunk, overweight, heavily bearded, exhausted, with a looming bad feeling about the year ahead, which ended up being so much worse.
  3. A sudden craving for a Wawa hoagie.
  4. "In the Aeroplane Over The Sea," Neutral Milk Hotel
    Sent to me by an ex, who heard it and thought of me. It took four hours to download the MP3 on a 2001-era dial-up. That was one of my very worst break-ups and I'm not going to relive it here.
  5. "Martha," Tom Waits
    The last song of the night at Doobie's, the Philly bar where I worked as a cook that year after college. From Waits' "Closing Time," appropriately.
  6. "I Want You To Want Me," Cheap Trick
    The second-to-last song of the night, at least when I was in charge of the jukebox.
  7. The loft in Kensington, where we founded the Philadelphia Independent.
    An alt-paper made to look like a 19th century broadsheet. Its page were so wide, we used to say, it was like wrestling a stingray. It ran for a few lovely years, though I was gone from the city for most of its life.
  8. The novel I definitely did not ever write.
  9. The time a very drunk girl tried to massage my tail bone at Dirty Franks, while her girlfriend and my female roommate made out.
    The girlfriend and my roommate later got married and had twins, which was nice.
  10. The day I left here for West Africa, which is when things really got weird.
  11. Mostly just Wawa.