Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Being Good Isn't Always Easy: Cool

Something I wrote almost a year ago now is this: "As I get older I find myself facing more and more of the emotionally complicated moments of life.

These experiences have led me to believe that, when I do occasionally get a break from complicated concerns, I should spend that time experiencing things I find to be simple, beautiful, and good. With people I find to be beautiful and good. (But never simple.)"

And, man. Time is moving so fast and so slow for me. On the one hand, I feel that the me-of-ten-months-ago had seen NOTHING of "emotionally complicated moments", bah! On the other, I know she had, and this world-weariness in the me-of-today is only its own form of immaturity.

Regardless, I stand by what I said. And ever more so.


To me this song is a neatly wrapped package of sexy coolness, like the highest-end ice cream cake you can imagine.

The song: Dusty Springfield, "Son of a Preacher Man"; 1968

It was Dusty's last Top 10 hit for nearly twenty years; her next one, "What Have I Done To Deserve This?" I posted on my blog, a long time ago. I also featured her song "What Do You Do When Love Dies?" when someone broke into my apartment and, for a few days, it was the only song I wanted to hear. (And I still don't exactly know why.)

Long story short, I truly love Dusty Springfield and I often find myself turning to her when I want to feel settled in my emotions rather than distressed by them -- when I want, in other words, to be okay with having feelings.

This is a VERY valuable function of music, in my mind. I mean, maybe one of the most valuable.


I also have to say, on the subject of experiencing things that are simple and beautiful and good with people who are beautiful and good:

I miss a friend who used to live in Ann Arbor and has since moved to Ukraine. When she lived here, there were a few late nights when one or both of us felt restless. So she'd pick me up in her car, which I will affectionally call a "jalopy", and we'd make a trip to Meijer.

Like all establishments that are open 24 hours, Meijer has a special character late at night. It also has air-conditioning, a good thing in a Michigan summer. We'd browse the DVD aisle and sometimes I'd buy something impulsively (my vast collection of romantic comedies can attest to this). Or maybe the makeup section. Or maybe the baked goods.

The point was, we were together and we were not where we didn't want to be. One of these nights, driving back, my friend put on the Pulp Fiction soundtrack and she skipped it forward to this song. Windows down, very late and very warm, we zipped down Packard Rd turning this song up and singing along -- which is a very hard thing to do if you care about sounding good, which fortunately we did not.

I had already loved this song but now I'll love it even more, because it is inextricably linked to a moment. That's another one of my favorite things that music can do.