"That was my last class," I said, as I tossed my books into the tan can, "and it's only one o'clock." I was telling my buddy M--- who was coming through the library gate. The corvair, or the tan can, was parked in its usual space next to the gate.
"Got time to head of over to the Student Union for a cup of coffee?" he asked.
"Don't see why not," I said, falling in step with him. "You wanna drop your books in my car?"
He had a pile of books in addition to a stack of albums.
"You got records there?"
"Yeah. I thought I'd use the record room to listen to a few Dylan songs."
"Who's Dylan?" My question brought a startled look from my friend. I wasn't up on the protest songs in the early days. I was still listening to the Beach Boys and the Beatles and all the other bands on the juke box at Folly pier.
"Who's Dylan? Good grief Croucher! You living under a rock?"
"Nope, James Island. And the occasional trip to the old stomping grounds at Folly. The Pier there has a great juke box full of dancing music. The beer's cheap, too." Who paid attention to protesters? They were none of my affair. If it included drinking and dancing, that's all that mattered to me. My world was tight and insular still untouched by the hippy revolution of California. The world was changing but I sure as hell wasn't. Viet nam and civil rights were so far away that my only touch was the news on TV which I never watched.
"Bob Dylan is the most important singer of our generation! You need an education, boy. Come on over. We'll get some coffee and listen to some geat music."
When music was involved I was there.
"Sounds good. Let's get something to eat first, though."
"Yeah, I could used a donut with my coffee."
The union was fairly crowded with students eating lunch before their next class. We slid into a booth previously occupied by two who were leaving. M-- put his stack of books and record albums on the table to show it was being used. With our claim made we walked over to the lunch counter to give our order to the girl at the grill. She grabbed two donuts and two cups of coffee for each of us. We dropped a couple of bills on the counter telling her to keep the change.
Sliding back into the seats of the booth we set our plates and cups down.
"So tell me about Dylan." I figured I needed some education about our social predicament that was spreading across the country. I picked up one of the album covers and stared at the picture of a skinny guy with a head full of dark frizzy hair sticking up in all directions.
"This guy wrote Blowing in the Wind?"
"Yeah, along with The Times They Are A Changing. Surley you've heard that one."
"Well, hell yeah. I know about that Hootnanny stuff. Kinda nice with just a guitar and banjo. Maybe a bongo thrown in. Sure can't dance to it that good though."
"This isn't dancing music. This is music to light a fire in your soul to make you want to initiate the change that's coming."
"I kinda like it the way it is."
"You do have your head in the sand. Rosa Parks. Ever heard of her?"
"Nope. She here at the College?"
"OK. Let's finish up our coffee. Then we'll go into the room over there and I'll give you the real education you should be getting here."
"Fine," I said sipping my coffee. He took a bite of his donut then sipped his coffee. I liked mine soaking in coffee but hated the crumbs it left in my cup. That prompted me to ask, "You mind if I dunk?"
He looked at me quizzically, "No. Why should I care?" returning to his donut.
I reached over and dunked mine in his cup allowing it to soak up the rich brown liquid.
"Thanks," I said biting into the soggy donut.
He was speechless. I'd never seen him speechless before.
I shrugged. "What? You said you didn't mind. I don't like the way it crumbles in my cup."
"Yeah, but..." He shoved his coffee to the side. "You..."
"Oh get over it," I said dunking the remainder of my donut into his abandoned coffee. "You should have said you minded."
His astonishment was forgotten as I asked again about Dylan.
"Come on. Let' go see if the record room is available."
He gathered the books and records then lead the way. There was no one in the room. He dropped his things on the coffee table and pulled out the first album.
"Since you know Blowing in the Wind and The Times I'll play this.'
He dropped it over the steel pole, slipped the stabilizer on the record and hit the switch. The needle dropped into the first groove. He lifted it and set it down on the track he wanted first.
Maggie's Farm came out of the speakers. Then came Subterranean Blues after which played Like a Rolling Stone. I sat quietly listening. Positively 4th Street blasted out the player as he turned up the volume. He changed the record to another, dropping the needle into the groove of Rainy Day Women #12 & 35. We listend to Bob Dylan for 4 hours straight. When Highway 61 Revisited faded away. I got up.
"I can't take this any more, M---."
"Nope. For the last hour I've been thinking about going home and putting a gun to my head. I can't take this Dylan guy anymore. He doesn't depress you?"
"Yeah, but that's alright because he's waking the nation up."
"To do what? All I know is that I've never felt this depressed in my life."
"It's because you are becoming aware of the harsh realities of this country and the need for change."
"Yeah, I need change alright. I need to change my listening mode to some music with a fresh beat made for dancing. I need to change my position to one on the pier at Folly to clear my head and fuzz it up with some beers before I do go home and end my life. Nope. Dylan ain't for me. You can keep him. Gimme the Beatles any old time. Or the Rolling Stones or the Beach Boys."
I ran to my car trying to get away from the oppressive cloud that followed me from the record room. Driving home I opened my window and stuck my head out into the rush of wind. Maybe that would suck out that dark cloud. The wind didn't, but the sea breeze blowing through the pier did as I sipped my beer. Now that's the blowing in the wind I can live with, I thought to myself.