July 15th, 2002

abstract butterfly

Monday's return

The "return to work" part of Monday morning never really bothers me. I'm able to find meaning in my work, and it's nice to be rested, which lets me accomplish more things. The only part of Monday which bothers me is assessing what I got accomplished during the weekend. On Thursday, I always feel as though I have some intuitive "map" to the weekend, in which I accomplish chores, have fun with my hobbies, read scads of material, and make contact with folks I've not spoken to for a while. By Monday morning, I'm reviewing inadequate exercise, undone tasks, people I forgot to call, people I forgot to write or e mail, people I did call, write or e mail to whom I said almost exactly the wrong thing, and all the ways in which I let the weekend go by. I have an old friend who, no matter how fun or active his weekend had been, always looked up on Sunday night and drawled "another....WASTED....weekend....another....WASTED....weekend". I took an ignoble pride in the fact that I never felt that way, because I like to enjoy what did happen in a weekend instead of dwell in what did not happen. But on this particular Monday, I am instead dwelling on things undone, rest not taken, mistakes made, and weekends gone by generally. It's not as though my "intuitive map" to the weekend had any real structure. I didn't have a detailed plan to write "Swann's Way" or walk the local 9 mile trail or anything. I don't get "down" often, and when I do, it usually doesn't last long. But I do dislike that feeling that I had ample time, and I spent it in sleep or worry or needless complexity, when there were things to do.
abstract butterfly

I only hear what I want to....

I was puzzling over the Lisa Loeb song "Stay" tonight, and I'm still not quite sure I get it. Let's analyze it in one long sentence. I like it, but I'm not quite sure I get it. I mean, she's getting all these negative vibes from somebody, and she knows better, and yet she feels like she made a mistake by leaving, because she misses him, and the poor fellow says "stay" and she knows the poor fellow only asks her because he just hates to lose, and I suppose either my lyric interpretation skills are really dysfunctional, or the relationship really is. To me, if "I miss you" were reason enough to renew a bad relationship, we'd have a divorce rate in the .001 percent range.

I much prefer Duncan Sheik in that hit "Barely Breathing" some years ago. This could have been the anthem of my early twenties, but for the fact that it was not released until years later. The narrator realizes that he doesn't "know who he's kidding" by imagining she cares, and that he could "stand here waiting, fool for another day", but he realizes it's "not worth the price that I would pay", and then the little clincher "but I'm thinking it over, anyway". Who has not thought it over anyway? Probably somebody, but everybody I know has always thought it over, anyway. For that matter, who has not been entranced by someone like the woman in Lloyd Cole's "Charlotte Street", who asks "do you want to go to Heaven, or would you rather not be saved", only to turn out to be someone the narrator must dispense with and implore "I won't read your poetry"?

But it's always easy to focus on dysfunction and the life foregone. Sometimes one should focus what functions in the life at hand. Fourteen years ago yesterday, I was riding on an airplane from Los Angeles back to Dallas on a late Thursday evening. I was reading J.G. Ballard's "Empire of the Sun", and finding it utterly engrossing. I kept reading even as the day ended outside. A voice said "Do you want some light?", and snapped on my overhead little passenger seat light. We began to talk that evening, we went out on a date the next week, and we've now been married for a dozen years.

I got to leave Duncan Sheik, Lisa Loeb and Lloyd Cole behind,
and now I sing along to those songs with vivid memory, but no recent actual heartbreak experience. I'll bet my singing voice suffers a bit for the omission, but I don't mind a bit.
I want to hear "do you want a light?" rather than a thousand really cool tragic failed relationship songs.