There are certain songs I can’t listen to without thinking of a corresponding memory. It’s not necessarily that the song is particularly fitting — it’s not as though the song would be part of the soundtrack were my life made into a movie. The lyrics don’t always match up to the moment. Still, the song is linked to that memory.
Dar Williams’ “As Cool As I Am” is a pretty much perfect example of what I mean. I adore that song. It is, in many ways, the theme song of my college. It has a special place in my heart for its value to my college community. Although the first time I ever heard the song was when Dar performed it in Goodhart Auditorium right before my freshman year at Bryn Mawr began (pretty awesome introduction, right?), it will alway remind me of May Day at Bryn Mawr.
“As Cool As I Am” always makes me think of pure, unadulterated joy and the sheer exhilaration of knowing that there’s nowhere on earth I would rather be. It makes me think of Bryn Mawr and Traditions and May Day, of Mawrtyrs in white and Denbigh Green, of rose petals and the May Hole Dance. It brings back memories of chanting about bringing down the patriarchy, symbolically breaking those bonds, and everyone rushing together. Everyone dancing around and shouting-singing along with Dar. In a way, for me, “As Cool As I Am” and the May Hole Dance is what May Day is all about.