There are many books that I’ve never read and will never read, but still like to make easy references to in order to sound more literate, the same way that lazy TV writers reference A Christmas Carol around December, and traitors to the United States reference 1984. One of those is Remembrances of Things Past, which I only discovered today is more often translated as In Search of Lost Time.
And the one thing about that work that everyone knows is the part about vivid involuntary memory conjured by eating a piece of cake. Maybe I should stop pseudo-referencing Proust and instead update it to something I have actually seen, and compare it to the end of Ratatouille?
Anyway, the older I get, the easier it is to narrow down my favorite place on the entire planet Earth: the area stretching from Crescent Lake to the center of Future World in Epcot.
When I want to go back there mentally, there are two pieces of music that never fail to deliver. One is “Linwood Road” by Billy Joe Walker, Jr. This was (is?) part of the background music loop playing just outside of the Yacht & Beach Club. Hearing it now, I can actually feel that muggy heat of central Florida in late spring, not yet hot enough to be oppressive, because it’s early morning and because you can still feel the perpetual cold of constant air conditioning. I can actually taste the blueberry muffin I had from the lobby just about every morning, which like a lot of stuff at Disney, is good but nowhere near as good as you were imagining. I can hear the kids screaming in the pool and feel the calm of knowing that they’re not my responsibility. And I can see the Friendship Boat coming from the BoardWalk, on its way to take people to MGM Studios.
The other is, not surprisingly, the music from Epcot’s Future World/Innoventions area. It’s funny that this is so easy to find online these days, since I can remember a few years when I was desperate to be able to listen to it outside the parks. I ended up getting a copy from some anonymous person from a small Disney music-obsessive message board, who had access to the original tracks, and it felt dangerous and illicit, like meeting Deep Throat in a parking garage.
Hearing it now puts me right outside the Mouse Gear store, sitting and watching the fountain that used to be at the center of Future World. (And smoking, but I don’t miss that part). Or leaving for the monorail right after it’s gotten dark, and the fiber-optic patterns in the concrete have started to light up.
I think part of the reason I can’t get too upset about all the changes in the works at Epcot is that I’ve got even more vivid memories of that place than I do of apartments I’ve lived in.