Teardrop on the Fire. The night before I met Yves, we talked on the phone. He told me that he was listening to a lot of 80's music—that that was his mood. He would tell me later that he had been so nervous about meeting me that he had just wanted to get lost in old, familiar music. I remember that in the background, I could hear something playing, but I don't remember what it was. I just remember hearing the underlying excitement in his voice. That excitement has always manifested itself for me as anxiety—near panic—and there have been times that being so energized about meeting someone has sent me into a panic attack. So I understood his mood. I wasn't put off by it, or scared. I just knew that he and I shared one more thing.
Later, after the events had transpired, I would find the playlist of what he had listened to that night. He was the Web master for the housing cooperative he was a part of, and he maintained a site that contained news about the co-op, and playlists of music that the group's members could stream. Those playlists would remain on the page until he posted whatever new songs had appealed to him. He always entitled his playlists "Playing while we hack." If you happened to check the page while he wasn't there, you'd find the old list, but where a new list should be, it would simply say, "Nothing… Our desktop's speakers are silent." Since the day of November 11, 2006, those words have become permanent on the site. They feel etched onto the monitor of my computer. The list of songs he was listening to the night before he met me are there—they are a permament record of that night, but I cannot seem to glean much of any meaning from that list.
I've always found in music some form of release, some form of profundity that I haven't been able to find elsewhere. Perhaps it's because my primary ways of taking in the world are both auditory and tactile. I'm not much of a visual thinker. I'm not sure I could rank the five senses perfectly, but my guess is that vision battles it out for third position with taste and smell. I'm a toucher. Always have been. But my ears are the secondary gateway to my world. My ears give me words. Even when I'm writing, I'm not seeing images. I'm hearing a string of words turning themselves into meaning.
So, finding the song list was a gift. And, when that song list was given to me, on a cd, by one of Yves' friends, it was a treasure. Unfortunately, I can't get the cd to play, and there has been something about deliberately seeking out the songs to download from iTunes or buy has been some kind of digging for pain that I have avoided. And yet. If I am to write, I must immerse myself in the grief. And the joy. The scales by which we measure a life. The ratio of grief to joy, with our hope that written in an equation, that joy is the denominator, and not the numerator.
But I'm working on it, on plumbing the depths so I can get to the ecstacy. Yesterday, I downloaded the song by Massive Attack: "Teardrop." It's on the list. An erstwhile lover once gave me a mix cd that comprised Massive Attack, Portishead, and Tricky. "Teardrop" was not one of the tracks. So, "Teardrop" can remain Yves' song for me. It's not an 80's tune, and, in fact, it gets a lot of play these days as the theme song for "House." But no matter. When you're trying to squeeze a lifetime's worth of meaning into the events of a single week, songs take on a significance not ordinarily accorded to them.
cross-posted at Culture Kitchen