It's funny how stuff hits you clear out of the blue sometimes and knocks you flat on your ass. Like the flu, or suddenly having columbines blooming in your garden two months out of season, or getting your period when you thought you weren't going to, or hearing a certain song that makes you all weepy and blubbery and leaves your husband no choice but to kill you, or else buy you cheesesteak stomboli for supper.

That song shit happens to me all the time because of my iPod. Put that sumbitch on "Shuffle" mode and there's just no telling what might happen. Like, today I spent all day having all sorts of bipolar fits: two songs by bands that really rock hard -- say, They Might Be Giants and then Alice in Chains -- followed by two slow and sleepy songs that make you want to go give yourself a swirlie (I am thinking here of the dynamic duo of Ryan Adams and Coldplay). Lather, rinse, repeat, with only the occasional disco song in there to break up the pattern.

(When Gloria Gaynor or Thelma Houston comes on, I defy you to stay still in your seat for the whole song. I double-dog-dare you. It simply cannot be done. Physically impossible. It's like Newton's Fourth Law of Motion: "Bodies at rest cannot possibly stay at rest when a Holy Noise pours forth from the mouth of one of the Disco Goddesses. So dance, bitch!")

Of course, a lot of this is my own damn fault, because who is the brilliant genius who loaded all those songs onto my iPod in the first place? Me, durr. I loaded Poddy up with Pearl Jam and AC/DC and The Cure and Imogen Heap and trashy Europop bands of the 80's and Earth Wind & Fire and whatever the hell all else. This is my fault. The original London cast recording of Les Misérables and the Avenue Q Broadway cast album -- yours truly. I'm a wingnut with no real musical attention span.

So I have absolutely no one to blame by myself for the totally emo moment that is "Simple Kind of Life." I should have just turned it off and skipped to the next song, or dug around for Garth Brook's cover of "Hard Luck Woman" or the theme song from Jem ("truly outrageous! truly, truly, truly outrageous!") or something. But no, I had to listen to Gwen do her thing and sing her song and share her angst and break my heart all over again.

Because, honestly, that song is the story of my life. It reads so much like my own autobiography that I wonder sometimes if Gwen and I are two pieces of the same puzzle, or two personalities that belong together, or what. Of course she would get the gorgeous and glamorous part with the rock star husband and the fashion sense and the Asian groupies and the beautiful child, because she is from California, and I? Am from a small town in southeastern Pennsylvania with a lot of chemicals in the water, which explains everything. But whatever.

I always feel like such a goddamned dweeb when I get goofy over a song. Really, what are you supposed to do? Never listen to those songs again because of how they make you feel? How do they make you feel, anyway? Another example of this would be "My Girl," which will forever and always be "our" song, my dad's and mine. The sounds of that song are now no longer distinguishable from the memories of the day I stopped being his daughter and became another man's wife. If bittersweet had a sound, it would be that song.

Which leads me to ... what, exactly? I'm not sure I know either. I suppose that's the point of art, anyway, to make you think about things in a different way, to help you find these feelings and to cope with them, or at least confront them. I just wish I knew when I turned into this farty old person who fears her own mortality, and so I feel I must face it head-on at every turn. Or something.

All I know is this, I guess: "I Will Survive," if you "Don't Leave Me This Way."

(Cross-posted on MySpace)
EDITED: Apparently the links above don't work unless you're already a MySpace friend. Sorry about that. Get a MySpace and be my friend, or email me and I'll cut-and-paste that bad boy into an email for you. I suck out loud, I'm really sorry.

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