This morning the Stevie Wonder song with the lyric "if you really want me why not tell me so?" is ringing in my mind. It has no real biographical or metaphoric significance, other than to remind me how much I love a pop hook. I love pop hooks so much that they stay in my mind until I love them a bit less.
During the Summer between high school and college, I drove thirty miles each day to Southern Arkansas University, a small university in Magnolia, Arkansas. I took my first two college courses there. The school called those courses "Western Civilization I" and "Introduction to Astronomy".
I remember there was a star party, in which we all looked out of telescopes from a rooftop. I remember that the university had a planetarium made out of large milk cartons. All my best science, I suspect, used for laboratory materials household inessentials.
Each day I drove to school in my Oldsmobile Omega. For a while during that hot and intriguing Summer, I could not get the rhythm and blues song out of my head in which a woman laments that "the angel in your arms this morning/is gonna be the devil in someone else's arms tonight".
Rhythm and blues songs then, like country and western songs then and today, focused a lot on first person narratives on the impossibility of integrity.
The song lyric became oppressive, of course, as such things do. As I think of it today, I am grateful I can, after hitting "update journal", use the miracle of the internet to go look up who sang the song, and when it placed on the charts, and what happened to the singer.
I love the skip-trace information-rama of the internet. I was thinking the other day of the kind woman who led our church college kids group when I was in college. She was a graduate student in English when I was an undergraduate, and held some formal or semi-formal part-time job doing these tasks. She was a good egg, recently divorced if my memory serves, perhaps I could summarize by saying that she seemed to me to be getting recharged a bit. I tend to be more comfortable with people who are not "excessively church-y", and Karin was down to earth rather than priggish. When we last knew her, Karin had moved off to Bartlesville, Oklahoma, of all things, a mildly artsy and quaint oil town where great architects were hired to do their best.
I ran Karin through the google search engine, and, voila! I found her. She turned out to have become a United Methodist minister in Delaware. I dropped her an e mail, and heard from her a day later. It was fun to re-connect. It's nice to have the ability to find someone from the past in five seconds that way.
I like the way that the mind is a kind of search engine, too. Memory drifts, and then the browser within turns up a name or face from the past. What happened to him/her? Warm memories flood in.
Sometimes I know the answer--a college room-mate dead at 43, a successful kidney transplant recipient whose decades of borrowed time ran out, another college friend now a partner in the London office of a major law firm. But sometimes people are song lyrics, not quite vanishing from my head, but I have no idea "where are they now?", once their time in my personal charts ended.
I am a person of not that many friends and far fewer enemies. I am "close to" a lot more songs than I am people. Perhaps it's a sin of only scratching the surface. But I think that it's important to consider that what one can do is what one can do. I may be a small kazoo rather than a big orchestra. I think I am still supposed to play my little song.