9/04/2005

I Forgot My Shirt At The Water's Edge


I listen to "Nightswimming" by REM when I say goodbye to summer. I only listen to it that once so I will never associate it with anything else. It's a beautiful, beautiful song, the last good REM song on the last good REM album.

Tonight I was driving home through the dark fields of Granby, up the 202 from Springfield where I played a fill-in The Chalet with The Memories. This is a great band to sub in for because they're old cats and they play the old way. It's all Stax soul and doo-wop and all the songs fit together like exquisitely engineered puzzles the way songs used to be. If you've got a head on your shoulders and you know how to think and how to let your fingers do the work you've got it made. First time I played with these guys it was out of the blue; I just stepped in and did 4 sets with them- that's 60 songs, compadre, at least 30 of which I'd never heard. "Cara Mia", "Bring It On Home", "Wonderland By Night", "Little Darling", "Get A Job", all that.

It's great, great music and the crowd is older and they know how to listen to music the right way. The old way. And they dance the old way and they're incredibly civil and gracious and you close your eyes and you're on a Stax package tour playing a ballroom in Sylacauga AL in 1962. And at the end of the night you don't feel like you've run a marathon and your throat doesn't feel like you ate poison ivy.

And I drove home and I've had "Automatic For The People" in the glovebox because I knew summer was going to end this weekend but I didn't know exactly when. And it was tonight at 1:30 AM. And I put on "Nightswimming" and I thought about this summer and I played back some highlights and lowlights. And I started thinking about summer when I was a kid and how it was sort of exciting to have it end because you'd be going back to school with all the attendant drama. When you're old it's the same god damn routine but colder.

I haven't enjoyed being an adult. I'm uneasy with it. It's not a natural fit. I do enjoy being a composer with 23 years of experience in the field under my belt and feeling like I'm actually hitting a stride of sorts. The novelty of being called "Mr." and all that was fun for a few years but for the most part it's just a fuckin' bringdown. I don't like realizing that grownups are kind of stupid when you always thought you'd enter this world of fascination and power and intrigue. I mean, look at the fucking retard who runs the country. There's nothing to admire. Grownups are just children who attach value to the stupidest god damn things. For the most part they don't seem to learn their lessons and they sure as shit don't have any sort of corner on the wisdom market. No sir. They're like teenagers with too much money. Buying all this crap and bowing and scraping in front of it.

Summer you get to be a kid here and there for a minute or two. I don't like saying goodbye to it anymore. I think about what I want out of the next 9 months and I just want another summer. I want to know I'll get another summer. I don't care if I spend it being a tedious adult. I just want it. I want to drive through the fields of Granby and be like, "I don't have to pull out 'Nightswimming' for another two months".

I used to want to rule the universe. Now I just want to know I'll get another summer. I just want to know I'll be able to keep my fingernails dug into the mountainside for another year. I know nothing amazing is going to happen anymore. Another few years and I think I'll learn how to live with that. All the other grownups just seem fine with it. Oxen driving a millstone. Round and round. Or maybe I'm just saying what we all feel like and I look like an ox to you. I don't know.

You can't live through your children, people. You have to stay and be present and be interesting. We owe that to each other. A little makeup, a few new books. Some half court, you know? I don't want to hear about your children, O.K.? I want to hear about you. When I want to catch up on your kids I'll ask your kids. Can't you just be sleek and smart and sexy a little? Do you have to be so transparent and so driven to acquire? Why let yourself go to seed and be all worked up about crappy vehicles and cruddy property? Or at least don't judge me because I'm not? Yeah, I know I'm a kook. A kooky loon. An immature kooky loon. I just wanted to keep it interesting. I'm grappling with it. I don't know really how to be but I know it can't be anything that's based on appearances, on any concern over being judged.

Old people I get. They're like a woman who's been through a marriage or two. They don't expect you to solve their problems; they just want a decent conversation. Some laughs. To be surprised. Old people I get. The rich ones are sort of twats, but hey, rich people of any age are tiresome twats. You don't get rich by being generous of spirit or blessed with charm. You get rich by keeping your cards close to your chest and keeping an eye on your fucking stack. The art of accumulating wealth is uncreative and artless. Creativity is a natural human state; it's the purpose of creation. Creation. Take air and turn it into sound. Take dirt and turn it into flatware. Take shit and turn it into a garden. Turn it into food. That's alchemy for you, friends.

Taking money and turning it into more money is like turning air into more air. Turning dirt into more dirt. Shit into more shit. It's unalchemical. It's not for the world. It's not for anyone but you and your stupid brood. That's no way to live or contribute. It's like buying an SUV because you and your stupid brood will survive a crash better. What about the other vehicle? You don't care? You actually don't care?

That's what I'll do with the next 9 months. I'll make more pretty. More pretty for the world.
I'll make something that someone else can use someday to say goodbye to summer. Why is sad so beautiful?

Pain is a treasure
For it's all we have to gauge our pleasure by.

Ain't that a fuckin' fact.

Goodbye, summer.

4 Comments:

Blogger The Viscount LaCarte said...

Beautiful.

12:39 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you, Bobby. This is the first time I've been able to cry since the tragedy in NOLA. I've been kinda... stuck. May the universe bless you.

7:45 PM  
Anonymous Kevin Wolf said...

I agree with the Viscount...

9:58 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

sUmMeR iS nOt oVeR uNtIl
OcToBeR 12tH

8:01 AM  

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