I have a theory. Here it goes: “Songs only have their full effect when you hear them at the right right time.” Profound, I know. I am most profound. The profoundest. Was wandering around youtube when I came across a song I hadn’t heard in a long while:
Possibly you just listened to it and it didn’t do anything for you. I didn’t think it was a bad song the first time I heard it, but it wasn’t especially memorable. I bought the album it was on for a different song, but this one wasn’t a “skip” when it came up. I heard it again recently and…it was different. The song came on and I was hit with a feeling in my gut that I haven’t had in quite a long time.
Last time I had it was on a sidewalk in Tokyo. Was probably 3 in the morning and I had missed the last train home. I was drunk and my girlfriend at the time, tired of my stupidity, was no longer answering her phone. I had a cheap bottle of white wine in my hand and was sitting on the curb swigging it waiting for the trains to start up again. Only had about three bucks on me as I spent the last of my money on the wine and a plate of pasta from the convenience store. I was in the seedy part of town, across from a bunch of love hotels where people went to consummate their hidden relationships.
There wasn’t much to do but sit. Sit, and think, and be alone. I wanted to be home, away from the concrete and towers full of people I couldn’t understand and who didn’t understand me. Needed to see the bay again, to sit on my dock watching the sunset listening to the waves. Instead I was on a curb surrounded by the omnipresent electric hum of the city and the shrill giggling of women too drunk to pretend they didn’t want their sweaty co-workers groping them.
There were many decisions that had led me to where I was. I don’t remember them all. I do remember that feeling though: being completely trapped with nobody to blame but myself. Just another dumb foreigner drunk on the street pretended to know what he’s doing. Only think to look forward to was the awesome hangover I was going to have.
So why did listening to this song, in a cube, in downtown DC bring me back to this place? I don’t know. Maybe it’s the melancholy sliding, echoing guitar, or the lyrics about regret. All of the above? Like that night years ago alone in the dark it might be the realization that it’s time for me to make some changes.