Small, private colleges are like big high schools. It’s like going to the same school with different people in a different city or state. Depending on the size of the school there is still the proportionately similar numbers of characters you had in high school. From jocks to nerds, queens to drama queens, and the wildly popular to the awkward, they’re all there.

Resident life isn’t all too bad really. It’s the first time you’re living on your own and you can do pretty much whatever you want. Want to sign up for classes and not go?…cool! Wanna take a final exam wearing only a bathrobe?…You bet! Wanna steal a clock off a Post Office wall and get threatened with a felony?…No problem!

I attended a small school in upstate New York. A town that had a smaller population than the school itself. If you resided in the town, you either worked at the school, one of the industrial parks surrounding the school or the prison that allegedly housed Tupac Shakur for a small time.

Occasionally, the Office Of Residence Life would throw together a big-ish event that would attempt to keep students from going out and plundering 1 of 4 bars that was known to harbor underage drinkers. These events would range from comedians and bands doing the College Circuit to midnight breakfasts and dances. The modus operandi for the dances were the same local DJ crew setting up a big video screen in the Campus Center and helping people get into their groove for 3 hours.

Having gone to a number of these dances, the playlists were getting played out. At one particular grind-fest, I was going through the motions and gyrating hoping someone of the opposite sex would notice my sad attempt at some sort of mating ritual…and then I stopped. Cold.

It was as if someone had sucked the collective heat in the room and turned on a blast chiller. I stood there slack-jawed for a moment, listening to the lyrics and the now over-replicated plucked string sound. They sounded monotone but not monotonous. Something about what a guy was thinking / doing and talking about his inability to get some sleep.

The video on the screen was Faithless’ “Insomnia” but I didn’t know it yet.

Fast forward a couple of days later, I was hanging out at the college radio station with some friends and Brett walked in. We sometimes hung out in the same social circles but always thought that his circle was in a more grandiose orbit than my own. We were acquaintances but wouldn’t be trying to get a room together at the next housing lottery.

“Hey…do you remember the other night at the dance there was this song that went…” Brett started.

Interrupting, “Yeah, it’s this one here,” and I tossed him the disc.

“But you don’t know the one I mean.”

“Just put the disc in and press play.” Begrudgingly, he did.

Faithless started playing through the little speakers in the production studio. Taking me back to a couple of days prior when I found the track after sleuthing on the internet.  Brett looked at me like a dog tilting its head. “Wait for it,” I said.

And then, the familiar plucked string sound comes in. Brett opens his mouth wide with, “How did you know?”

Cockily. “I just know.”

“But I didn’t tell you anything about it. I didn’t give you any lyrics or melody or…shit, I don’t know how you knew.” With the newfound knowledge of his new favorite song, Brett bounced out of the room and back to the dorm where Napster would give him his fix.

I never admitted to Brett that I, too, was obsessing over the song after hearing it that night at the dance. Sometimes when you hear something, you want people to feel the same way you do about it. How amazing it is, how awesome it makes you feel, or just living in the moment. It didn’t happen before, nor have I felt it ever after that. Listening to a track with someone and silently knowing that they are jumping around like a 5 year old on the inside exactly like I was.

Don't LeaveFaithless (feat. Pauline Taylor)4:02
Salva MeaFaithless10:48
If Lovin' You Is WrongFaithless4:17
Dirty Ol' ManFaithless3:06
Flowerstand ManFaithless (feat. Dido)3:23
Baseball CapFaithless2:56
Drifting AwayFaithless (feat. Penny Shaw)4:09