Summertime Spray Cans, Music, Failure, and Memories


Saif's Phone 056

Each season eludes a different mood, depending on what time and place those moods have occurred.  Especially being a young adolescent full of wanderlust and bubbling rage, the experiences feel much more vibrant once you begin to recollect as time passes by. As seasons begin to ween in from the last one, the next recollections begin to visit again. The ruminations could be pleasant or heart-wrenching, depending on the experience that propelled you to feel this way.

Winter may persuade thoughts of being swaddled in a cozy room with family, and Spring could permit memories of blossoming fields and hills. For the youth, no other season has held more experiences than Summer. With so much time in the hands of an indolent teenager, much of what he or she does throughout the year is amplified and added on during the Summer. Days of idling along the shores of Lake Michigan or night of sauntering throughout town are much more vivid in the Summer, for whatever reason.

For students, much of their free time is spent with either friends or hobbies. The humidity is amplified to an unbearable degree, as the sun shines just as vibrant as ever. With more time to pursue friends and passions, the possibilities are nearly endless.

For that season, everything you’ve built up and integrated into your life starts to transfer from your peripheral view to your central focus. Throughout my adolescent years, I have always been a music nut, wearing Hip-Hop apparel and tagging hidden rocks beneath local bridges.


The only difference between this Summer and the previous ones was the amount of freedom I felt I had. Most of my previous summers have been consisted of being shacked at home or at some neighborhood with not much to do. During the time, I was holding a lifeguarding job that opened up the perfect view of gazing towards the passing clouds and rippling water. For some odd reason, that view gave me the ideas and dreams of pursuing the interests I had to the fullest extent, which was graffiti art and record collecting.

What made the season so special was how I discovered for the first time, the real interests that I had, pursued with the people I enjoyed being around the most. Throughout the days, I would purchase bottles of spray cans from a local department store and ride through the interstate with Roy Ayers and N.E.R.D. blasting from my car speakers.


As a hyper-active eighteen-year-old, I didn’t think much of it. I would work my shift from morning until evening time, where the caged neighborhood pool would contain the beauty of sparkling pool water, children splashing and frothing the chlorinated pool water, parents indolently laying under the sun, and traversing clouds.

On my days off, I would spend the time going around Norwood Park and auspiciously tag the rocks and boulders beneath the bridges, or head over to Norridge and dig through crates of Jazz and Hip-Hop records for hours. Wandering through the nearest malls gazing at shoes, then grabbing a platter of food for the night, these days culminated into special moments of freedom and adventure.

Saif's Phone 052

With days like these, an idea had struck me one day as I sat there spacing out into the distance during my shift. If I could make these days last, I should at least create a platform for it. After talking it out, planning it day and night, I thought I had made the perfect plan. I had created a website where aspiring graffiti artists and musicians could send in their art to us for their exposure. After late nights spent designing the website throughout the majority of the summer, it was finally polished and published.

I spent countless days planning with my website partners about how we should plaster our designs on clothing, accept as many artists as possible, and spread the word. This encouraged me from the moment I would get up from bed and head to my shift to nights spent planning our next moves at a friend’s basement.

From the midst of the afternoon to sunset, our days consisted of spraying down and drawing on blank t-shirts for potential designs, building up our website, enhancing our graffiti skills, and annoying Rolling Stones employees about ordering the latest records.

I was having fun with this short lifestyle, and I did not want it to end. Before fully comprehending it, the summer season had ended, and the start of college ensued. We had to depart out ways with entering a new school and finding new jobs. The dastardly runnings had to stop, but we kept in contact nonetheless.

Adjusting to my new schedule school and work schedule, I had to make the free time I had the most out of it. I had worked on the website for longer periods of time during the Autumn season, staying up late with a warm can of Redbull by my side and the glow of the laptop illuminating my bedroom.

Saif's Phone 054

Although I was dedicated, it did not feel the same. I was no longer perusing through record shops or catching the latest film in the nearest theater. I had classes in the morning and a retail job until the start of dusk. I didn’t have that freedom I didn’t realize I enjoyed so much at the time anymore. I was kept busy, which really enabled a lot of my discipline again. I had duties to pursue and dreams to follow, but a lot of the magic was slowly draining away.

Around two months after the start of the school season, the website was going nowhere. I had a heap load of homework to finish, exams to study for, shifts to cover, and school connections to build. With the little amount of time we had to work on the site, and the slowly disintegrating passion we had for it, we have successfully shut down the site and trashed out efforts.

At first, it felt like a breath of fresh air, leaving behind at least one obligation. Over time, as Autumn quickly transitioned into Winter, there was something missing that I felt I yearned for again. Initially, my perception analyzed it as a yearning for the website to be back up. I did everything I could to avoid the thoughts and pursued other hobbies, such as writing and menial sales jobs. Although, those pursuits did not feel the same. Over time, we delved deep into our academic lives, and slowly drifted away from each other.

At this point, I am well into my academics, been through promotions and opportunities, and failed and succeeded at certain points. Recent summers have been fun, and I always kept busy throughout the school year.

Saif' Phone 003

Well deep into the summer season, I sometimes can’t help but ruminate about that specific summer and sometimes wish I could find a way to replicate that time. But as I think about those times, I do not recollect with melancholy, but with heartfelt revisions of good times. As the days continue to go by and more events and people come and pass through my lifetime, I still think about those times in isolation. Times of spraying down tainted and wet rocks with logos and patterns, tie-dying shirts besides the nearest pond, and blasting Pharell Williams and Robert Glasper while cruising down Norridge under the vibrant sunlight.

As I continue to develop my life and push forward for something new, that summer will always be a pinpoint of my life where our dreams ran amock and everything was carefree. Times like those could never occur again, and I would be okay with that.



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