is it what it is?
(originally posted 5/8/2012)
So he figured he would just listen to some music to pass the time. Sitting there with the little earpieces in his ears he hadn’t counted on the music blaring out of the big speakers on each side of the roomful of kids practicing their kicking and punching. Even when he turned up the volume on his Ipod the two songs where about the same level… and that’s when he heard it.
Two songs being played together. Most of the time it was just noise, the competing beats and melodies battling it out oblivious to each other and the listener, but every now and again there was something there.
He listened with more urgency, hoping to find what he was suddenly searching for in the cacophony. For a minute he wished he could pick the two songs that were being played and create something easy and beautiful but then it occurred to him that life never works that way. You take what you are given and find significance in that. You don’t get to choose. You either make it beautiful or you accept the fact that songs are made to be appreciated in only one way and there is a mountain of evidence to support that theory.
His Ipod was playing “A Long December” by Counting Crows. The karate studio was pumping out a bass-heavy “Black Water” by The Doobie Brothers. As unlikely a pairing as could be imagined and most of the time it was nothing more than dissonance. Two songs in conflict with each other. Like two busy lives that have nothing to do with each other being piled one on top of the other, full and forced to share the same space. The friction of notes tumbling and grinding together like ill-fitting gears meant for separate purposes.
But every now and then…
Yeah, keep on shinin’ your light
And the feeling that it’s all a lot of oysters, but no pearls
Gonna make everything, pretty mama
All at once you look across a crowded room
Gonna make everything all right
To see the way that light attaches to a girl
And I ain’t got no worries… ’cause I ain’t in no hurry at all
He didn’t even know what he wanted. He felt like this feeling was somehow important but he had no idea why. Then it fell back into disharmony and it felt once again like a mirage. A fraud. There was nothing he could do anyway, both of the songs belonged to other people anyway. So he sat and waited for them to synch up again and when they refused he would remember the fleeting moments of when they did and wonder if they actually had.
And then again… the bass from one would move with the drums of the other and create something that seem to justify this longing he felt ashamed to admit. Transcendent. Sitting there amidst his real life, listening to something he would never be able to reproduce or explain to anyone if there was even anyone who would care to listen which there wasn’t. Ass deep in the reality of being some dork sitting cross-legged with a pink Ipod, an old faded Bears jersey and an expression that was almost as frayed. Those around him just as lost in their own cares and oblivious to anything outside of their own concerns. Listening only to The Doobie Brothers and raucous laughter and panting of the assembled karate kids.
He allowed himself a quick self-important and/or deluded smile, they had no idea what he was listening to, before plunging back into the depths of the poignant discord that was seemingly thrust upon him by sweet and callous fate but truthfully was entirely of his own invention.
Maybe this year will be better than the last
Pretty mama come and take me by the hand
I can’t remember all the times I tried to tell myself
Come and dance with your daddy all night long
To hold on to these moments as they pass
I want to honky tonk, honky tonk, honky tonk… with you all night long