Friday, January 16, 2009

Grounds for Divorce

That is the title of a song by "Wolf Parade," which has an upbeat sound considering the title. I got a bunch of new music all at once, but the one album from that period that I listen to the most is Wolf Parade. Musically, it is my favorite. But sometimes I listen to it for nostalgia.
I got their debut album about ten days before I moved into my current apartment. It was one of those CDs you hear and fall in love with instantly--torn between hitting Back and listening to the same great songs AGAIN or going ahead to hear new ones. Songs I felt "eh" about, like Dinner Bells, quickly became just as loved as the others. The CD has everything in it that I like about music, and lyrics like "This heart's on fire" just fit with all the confusion and passion I felt at the time, for so many things. So much was happening that fits into the realm of things I don't blog about. But also, I knew even as I was listening to it, that it was dangerous to attach this music to such a transitional time period. I am bad with transitions, this one in particular. Now, I listen to this CD when I find myself thinking about or missing my old apartment and my old life. Sometimes, I find myself thinking with such intensity about one aspect of my old apartment. I find myself paralyzed by memories of what my bedroom looked like, the wall against which my record player leaned, or (this is a big one) the view outside my bedroom window. I can spend a lot of time seeing just that image in my mind's eye, without directly thinking about things that happened in that room. Somehow, these memories are more powerful than memories of friendships I had there, parties we had, etc.
It was a place I didn't expect to be transitional. It was, despite all of its flaws, more home to me than anyplace else I can think of.
As much as I want to feel at home where I am now, I don't want to get complacent and trapped. (Or boring.)
Anyway, I can listen to this Wolf Parade CD and think about days when mornings were cold, but everything else was swelteringly hot. I hear that music and I am in a car that is like an oven, driving down 287 and hoping not to hit traffic, hot air pouring through an open window, pretending I don't miss air conditioning. I am anxious and a little sad. I miss a past that is never coming back, that I didn't expect to be gone so quickly and to which I never got to say goodbye.
Other random memories flood back, everyday life events that I now associate with being incredibly happy. Driving around Franklin Township, lost, trying to find a specific store and a specific type of beer with my old roommate. Sitting in traffic on Easton Ave and complaining about it--but having a happy, loud, crowded home to go to at the end of that road. The way I'd count traffic lights on Suydam Street and the way pedestrians would randomly, dangerously dart out into traffic. After crossing French Street, after going through that dreaded traffic light where Louis Street ended, El Costeno (my favorite Mexican restaurant and nine blocks to go) on the right. The first old church on the left. The fruit delivery truck that was ALWAYS parked half-blocking my lane--eight blocks to go. Livingston Avenue--my favorite house (red, with a big, wisteria-covered porch) on the left. Crossing that and going back into a depressing part of the city--all immigrant housing and dangerous-looking, dilapidated buildings and convenience stores except....on the left! Behind a chain link fence, with an old car parked to one side and an old bathtub bizarrely parked in the middle, a surprising, beautiful garden. In June, there were strawberries. In the springtime, tulips. Tons of tulips. All throughout the garden season, flowers--many varieties and colors, scattered, as though wild and almost as though untended, among the bathtub and the car that never seemed to move. Not too far down, on the right, a community garden with signs in Spanish.
And finally, the red church with the green (like an old penny) roof came looming, giant, in sight. It was coming up on the left and then it was gone, left behind, with its playground on the left and that one final traffic light approaching and !!!!! It turned red and I'd sit, grinding my teeth, annoyed, staring at the white house--my house!--which was so close but I couldn't go there yet. The white house with the steep concrete steps (and the homemade wreath on the door) and the steep driveway.

I guess listening to this music reminds me of how I felt in high school, listening to music to which I had some emotional connection. The 24-year-old version of emo!
In other news, I may be losing my mind (or I was just really stressed out) because last week I had a nightmare about turning 25. My birthday isn't for three months. I had a nightmare in which some rather unpleasant things happened, but part of it took place during a fictional 25th birthday celebration (at the New Jersey would I go to the shore for my birthday in APRIL!?) in which I was worried about getting old BECAUSE I WAS 25!?!?!?!?! "Every day, I'm one day closer to thirty than I am to twenty!" Oh, please.
I think I was just stressed about other things.

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