Sunday, December 26, 2010

you can't carry it with you if you want to survive

Oh, remember how I used to be a fan of music? Well, I have admittedly been a bit disconnected from music the past six months due to, ugh, life, I guess, and maybe some lame influences in my life. I developed an addiction to The Black KeysTighten Up a couple of months ago, as it was mindless, good, gritty fun. But with a little time on my hands, and various year-end lists recapping music, I have been starting to reconnect to my need for some good lyrics and a haunting melody.

I must confess that I first heard this song on an episode of Glee. Even though I do not like the show, I have this uncontrollable impulse to watch. To draw a parallel appropriate to the season, it’s similar to my need to listen to all covers of Last Christmas, even though there is no way anyone can touch Wham’s 80s-filled cheese- that includes you, Glee, incidentally!

Anyway, not only was the cover of this song typically horrible, but also it seemed to me completely boring and pop-tarty. When I finally heard Florence and The Machine sing it, I could not even recognize it as having any connection to the version done by The Glee crew. The vocals are completely different, and as such, they draw a lot more attention to the lyrics.

And the lyrics… oh man. This is another one of those sneaky songs. You hear it without really listening and it sounds celebratory and yippee, hooray!, but squint your eyes and look closer. I took another listen to it yesterday and I was struck by how it mixes this idea of celebration with warning, and perhaps even celebrating the act of escaping a supposedly happy situation, depending on how you interpret it.

I know some thing about that these days. It’s tricky, this business of figuring out what you want, and realizing that sometimes immediate elation accompanies uncomfortable emotions. Sometimes, it’s healthy to discard the discomfort and behave like the pack. Other times, it’s time to lean on this song, listen for the horses, and run.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

everyone is leaving, I'm still with you

Sometimes I ask myself why I put up with S. I like being by myself. And (I know, here comes a Captain Obvious remark) relationships are a lot of double, double, toil and trouble. And we are heading in different directions really soon, so this situation has a definite expiration date on it. Perhaps that's one of the reasons I haven't cut loose.

But it probably also has to do with the fact that, after listening to Peter Bjorn & John's Young Folks yesterday, he proceeded to sing incessantly and with glee, "We don't care about the aardvarks."

The thing I find really interesting (and I know I sound like an alien visitor from another planet but sometimes that's how I feel when it comes to being in a non-solitary state) is how it's little things that stick with me, or rather draw me into attachment. S pretends to be annoyed at the smirk I develop when he puts on a hoodie. I know these little things about him now, like how five minutes later, he will be complaining about how he is sweltering and has to take that sweatshirt off before it causes him to overheat. Or how sometimes, when he is restless, it will actually seem like there is a pine cone on the couch, because he will spring up every time he sits down, with one more task to accomplish.

But I wonder sometimes, if there is this great divide. Some of us find those little traits endearing, grow more attached as we get to know those slight but specific details that make a person who they are. And some of us are initially smitten with our idea of someone, and then grow disenchanted as we discover the truth.

So I am thankful, for now at least, that S grins, bemused, when I start swearing at Tom Brady (or, as a friend CW recently nicknamed him, Bieber Senior) or ranting about Brett Favre's "I'm retiring/starting!" antics.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

just trying to get myself some gravity

That now old film The English Patient, I thought of it today. I find myself, for reasons far beyond my own grasp even, in Southern California this week, and it was here that I first saw the movie, on opening weekend, in some old, grand theater like they have down here. There were lots of things I loathed about living on this side of the state, but I must admit that watching movies was always a better experience- you could find any film playing and even The English Patient was running in a theater with stadium seating and gigantic screens, despite it also featuring old vaulted ceilings that made it look like a refurbished opera house.

I also thought of that movie because of a specific scene. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not a huge fan of this particular movie, and it doesn’t hold up all that well with time. And as I’ve grown older, I find the love story to be almost insufferable. But maybe that’s also why I thought of it today. There’s this scene in the movie- a woman is breaking it off with her lover, and the lover, spurned, says, embittered, that he wants her to know that he isn’t missing her yet. She says, very calmly and all properly English-like, “you will.” And then she turns and bangs her head against a railing. It’s jarring. She loses her composure and puts her hand up to her head, and it’s clear that the dumped lover wants to check to see if she is okay, but finds that he cannot.

Despite appearances, I am not putting a full-blown period on this run-on sentence of a blog. There was a brief comma, but I still have more to say. And I would love to say that there’s been such big things afoot, or that I’ve just been having so much fun. But really, what it came right down to in the end is, the words just were not there. You have to have the words, or what much can you make of a blog?

I still do not have a lot of words. Things are changing, but that, it now strikes me more than ever, is a stupid thing to write. If there is one thing my generation can vouch for with certainty, it is change. There were no such things as cell phones, or blogs when our lifetime began, after all. But still, despite the obvious dynamic nature of the macroscopic world, it bears repeating, I guess, that my little microcosm is changing. Medical school is almost over, and I am making big decisions on where I will be and who I will be, and those are odd things indeed. I find myself considering completely different variables as compared to what I did four years ago, and that is interesting too.

When I left San Francisco, I was one person, who was not the same person as the one who arrived there from the east coast. And now I am another. And this will keep happening, but also it starts to become clear that they are all parts of a whole. It’s easy to sometimes believe I am just fickle and ever-changing, but I can still appreciate everything I loved about San Francisco today. But I do not belong there right now; I can appreciate that too.

S and I were having pho on a particularly cold evening this past week with some friends. This was the evening after he had called me from the airport in a panic after his flight had been canceled due to inclement weather, and I had collected him after we agreed there was no point in trying to reschedule. This was the week after he had made me a care package of chocolates, chewing gum, and ibuprofen to send me off on another round of interviews. We returned with our stomachs warm and full, and I collapsed on the couch, never to murmur another coherent word that evening. I did not have the words, and I did not want them, really. This thing between us is parenthetical in comparison to the big questions, the major paragraphs that lie before me. Sleep came and rescued me from the conversation that we’ll have someday, the conversation that has always been inevitable. For that night, I left it to the movies.