Tuesday, August 23, 2011

am I really who I was?

I'm post-call, so perhaps a bit delirious, but I don't think that's what's causing this reaction.

It's just that sometimes I want to curse at Ryan Adams.

Adams best exemplifies my inclination towards knowing as little about an artist's personal life as possible. I try to pretend that I don't know that he can sometimes throw temper tantrums during shows. It would be best if I didn't know he was married to a movie star, or that he had a substance abuse problem.

Unlike some artists, though, Ryan Adams is insidious. You can think "enough of this whiny sh*t, I'm not falling for that schtick again." And then along comes a song like Lucky Now (link in the sidebar if you're interested) and the bastard has got you in his clutches again. I know the way I'm describing it does not sound very complimentary, but sometimes I really do hate Ryan Adams' knack for writing these songs that just stab you in the heart and floor you. I was just minding my own business, experimenting with malted milk and brownies in the kitchen, trying to regain my footing from working my first serious overnight shift, fairly involved in the world of electrolytes and diabetes and sepsis, when this song comes along and destroys me.

Destroys me in a good way, mind you. This is, actually, how I express my love, which might tell you something about my issues in life. Right now, I work a lot. It's so tempting, I can't describe how much, to just dissolve into the world of work, to become singular in focus, to drown in it. It's controlled and safe, that kind of drowning. Ryan Adams' latest single perfectly encapsulates the problem with following that impulse, though. It's a melancholy song, even sad, vague about whether things work out or not, filled with doubts, but then it throws in this little line:

and the night will break your heart
only if you're lucky now

That's the thing. It is the things we can't control, the things that we make ourselves vulnerable to- those are the things that mark our good fortune. And Adams knows the part that everyone conveniently overlooks- most of the time, taking that risk, making that move, most of the time it ends badly. But that's exactly the point.

There are other things that make this song beautiful- the way he throws in small details that paint a beautiful backdrop, that smooth voice of his, the deceptively soft-rock quality of the music which tricks you into thinking you're engaged in easy-listening. But mostly, he takes you down a road, tells you about all the potholes, the bandits and the wild animals you'll encounter, but just as casually remarks:

if the lights draw you in
and the dark can take you down
then love can mend your heart
but only if you're lucky now

Sometimes it works out, sometimes it doesn't. Either way, count yourself among the lucky. Ryan Adams has no right to be that insightful.

In other news, I have a new GBF, though he doesn't know it. He is the cashier at the cafeteria. He only works nights, but I am grateful for that, because there is nothing like running down to the hospital cafeteria at 3:30 in the morning, dead-tired, grabbing a bowl of soup, and encountering this dude blasting Superfreak. This morning, he said, "what's your deal, honey, you married? You got a man?" I said I didn't and he started running through a list of hot surgeons in the hospital. I played along, and he said "next time you come by, I'll point them out to you. Don't you worry, I'll take care of everything." I think this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship, people.

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