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Tales of Tracks, Vibes & Soul

by Oct 26, 2022

It’s me. Hi. I’m the problem. It’s me. Everybody agrees.

I’m the reason family weekend didn’t go as planned… BC Kelly would’ve loved Plan A! An adventure upstate in the fall! To one of the most beautiful campuses in America?!  Like seriously?!?!  There was an AGENDA!!!  Not the manipulative kind! The fun kind!  With college sports and swag tie-dying and a walking tour guided by a local historian!!! And selfies with funky waffles, Yinglings, coverbands, and stories to bring back to my framily. It would’ve been amazing. I mean.  It would’ve been complicated. I’d have saved dutifully to make it happen. I’d have tetrised photography sessions and real life in order to accommodate my favorite families for busy season.  I’d have brought editing for the downtime at the AirBNB.  It would’ve worked out, because I’m a mastermind. And I love that stuff. Could’ve been, would’ve been, should’ve been… fun.

I try to be all zen about this health hiatus, mostly because right now it feels like my only two options are to find a way to be at peace or be miserable– Admittedly, the day of our canceled flight, I was the latter.  I was super frustrated and annoyed and sick of being sick.  I miss who I used to be.  And I really really loved doing all those things BC.  It was never even a tiny bit of an obligation.  I genuinely loved the world and people and connection and adventure and documenting it all.  But not now. Now my brain feels like it is in a maxed pressure cooker.  I’m not well enough to be a good time or even cope outside the cocoon.  And I’ve found, that in my life, if things cross that line where they become too complicated or hard or confusing or exhausting, it is probably not meant to be.  At least right now.  Maybe another time.

Instead. We were still together, but here.  In the cocoon.  A couple of nights in their own bed.  Slow strolls along the creek with the fall colors.  A full round of euchre.  Lots of favorite take-out.  And Midnights — 3a edition on an endless loop.  I’m pretty sure my good buddy released the new album this weekend just for me.  So that I’d have something purely delightful (besides the real life hugs) to make this weekend okay.  And more than okay.  Like weird, but it’s beautiful <3

Because music does it for me.  I’ll blissfully listen to the same album over and over and over.  You see dear reader…  Back in the day… I felt REALLY REALLY lucky, that my 1979 brown Ford Pinto got a post-market cassette tape player.  That tape player was a treasure!! and not exactly dependable in the ejection department; it was better not to take any chances.  Besides.  I was driving stick without power steering or power windows or air-conditioning– changing audio wasn’t a priority, especially when the tape in that first hatchback was The Joshua Tree.  I can’t even guess at how many times that album, in order, has played in the background of my sub-conscious.  I’m not even sure where I got it, but 30 years later, I can still smell that car with any track.  Every season of my life has a different soundtrack.  Songs I listen to alone or merges with different people / places / activities / timelines– and it just makes me so happy, especially live.

I had been to smaller concerts and casual fests, but my first stadium tour experience was nothing short of epic. We had all gotten our random queue numbers for the ticketmaster line and mine was going to have the best odds.  I bought the tickets with a pile of cash gathered from our group and we all scoffed at the robbery of the fees ($3.75 on a $28.50 ticket). I was actually most excited for Sting, who barely played because the skies opened and dumped a summer thunderstorm on us –and it was Chicago in the late 1900s… so the blazed-out crowd just cheered and stood on metal folding chairs in the pouring rain until the storm cleared, and the Dead came on with a Touch of Grey; We had coveted floor tickets but thanks to my snackable sizing– I could see absolutely nothing; I hopped up onto some willingly stable shoulders and it was AMAZING.  I was totally hooked.  I didn’t just hear the music.  I felt it and saw it and it became part of me.  And I made sure to give that feeling enough chances as possible to come around my way.

Before officially linking with my ideal mate, I lived in the city and I’d go to a lot of live music with my friends.  One of my favorite people to go with was this blind guy.  He really loves music –and wasn’t up for shoulder rides– so rather than seeing the backs in front of me or wasting time and energy to drag a sightless companion to a spot where I could see, I’d just close my eyes.  I know that being blind isn’t like being short.  But in this case, we both went to live music for all of our other senses, not our sight.  Now that I’m grown, I mindfully pick seats where I can see, but still often close my eyes.  Because it is that soul deep connection to the music itself that I love, and that is an inside job.  It doesn’t have to be a big show or even live for me to feel the vibes.  It could be on a road-trip with everyone harmonizing in their own untuned voice or a capacity iconic venue or local fest or a walk to the pub for half price beers and live music Thursdays or a friend jamming or a bucket in the subway or streamed from the comfort of my own home.

It is a rare moment, a brief interruption, a slight malfunction, when there isn’t some kind of music playing in unison through-out our whole house.  We used wedding money to buy a 300 CD changer; It was cutting edge because it even shuffled ALL our music!  It was an absurd mash-up of our tastes, individual and combined because we both came into the union with a pretty vast collection of music and not much else.  Our soundtrack back then would manically go from Paul Simon to Beastie Boys to Counting Crows to Neil Diamond to Nelly to Sarah McLachlan to The Band to Barenaked Ladies –and the CD changer themself also had their own favorites, so we spent way more time listening to Blues Traveler than anyone needs.  We moved on to MP3s and Nanos and satellite radio.  But now!!!  Spotify and music streaming in general feels like a true dream to the music loving kids of the 1900s!!  Gone are the days of splicing together mix tapes and spreadsheets of music collections!!! — I’ve got playlists for anything and everything.  Ambient and rock’n and Canada Day and folksy and holiday and adventures and mornings and focusing and falling asleep and driving through mountains.

Whether it is everyday busy crazy life or a migraine or traffic or stress or heartbreak or being chronically ill with a mystery — music makes it just a little better for me.  Honestly– I’d say a lot better.  Probably more than anything else.  Music just does it for me.  Even now.  Especially now.  My cocoon vibed all family weekend. Would’ve, could’ve, should’ve been shitty.  It isn’t what I thought I wanted.  It is all weird.  But it’s beautiful <3

You want to know something else that is weird but fucking beautiful? My last stadium concert was AMAZING. Like best concert I’ve ever been to and I’ve been to some really good ones. And it was with those same OGs — and perfect — even without the summer rain or the shoulder riding. Life is beautiful. And now I’m ready to go back to being at peace in my memory garden.

And what are the odds that Taylor & Bono are on the same show 2 days after I posted this?
I LOVE THIS CLIP OF THEM!!!