Wild by Beach House (7.2) Two divergent yet karmically related topics this week. I think.
Part I: Beach House. Everyone (by which I mean the group of esoteric music critics/websites I read, and Ford) went bananas for Beach House’s new album, Bloom, when it dropped in May. So naturally I had to hear it, but was not initially impressed enough to purchase. Thankfully though, I’m an intriguing enough individual (sigh) to be friends with TWW who (despite my admonition to the contrary) bought me Bloom in beautiful black 180gram vinyl for my birthday.
What follows are my actions set forth chronologically after receipt said gift:
1. Got birthday drunk on a Tuesday, ate a steak, and might have accidentally smoked 1-2 cigarettes in homage to the good ol’ days (N.B. Dear Mr. Health insurance professional, the previous sentence should not be interpreted to mean that I do or have ever smoked.)
2. Had an awkward conversation with 24-year-old baby-sitter whilst being extra self-aware that I was both swaying and smelling of previously referenced 3-4 cigarettes.
3. Passed out after patting my boy in his crib to tell him goodnight, then considered his horror regarding his father’s condition were he to awaken.
4. Awoke, and realized July 11th is way more depressing than July 10th (N.B. The only day worse than your birthday is every day that isn’t your birthday).
5. Listened to Bloom on vinyl before work whilst sitting at my home desk, drinking coffee, and pecking around on the computer for a sentence or two.
6. Decided I liked Bloom, but found it really depressing, like vein-opening Richie Tenenbaum depressing (N.B. “Dudley, where is he?”).
7. Arrived at work, and downloaded the MP3 of Bloom, which came complimentary with TWW’s purchase of the vinyl.
8. Listened to Bloom all day from my iPod dock, and decided that I really did like it, and that it wasn’t as depressing as I thought, indeed, that it was magical.
9. Got home, did domestic things, and finally sat back down at my desk, listened to Bloom, and again found it really depressing, like Ian-Curtis-funeral depressing.
10. Finally realized I was playing the record at 33rpm when it was intended to be played at 45rpm, which turned the lush and harmonious WD into Morrissey on Valium……a lot of fucking Valium. (N.B. The link is to my upload of Wild/33rpm recorded from my turntable, and not actually Morrissey on Valium.)
Part II: New Car/saying goodbye to old car.
I’m not a “car guy” like some are. I’ve rarely gotten too many rocks off on hot-shit wheels, but I get it. I like automobiles. I like cool ones. But I love loyal ones.
I’m not a great driver….OK, I’m not even a good one. Those of you who’ve had the pleasure of sitting shot-gun during a well-intentioned but poorly executed to trip to anywhere can verify. I’ve had a wreck or two (N.B. >10) in my now 18 years on the road. Whether you believe me or not, they weren’t all my fault. However, plenty of them were. In light of such, TWW has also offered an apt, but strangely not condemnatory, one-word descriptor for my efforts behind the wheel: distracted
But the hell I put cars through (N.B. even yours, if you’ll let me), makes the survivors, certainly the two that stuck with me after multiple batterings, that much more special. As much as inanimate objects can be (N.B. and they can be a lot), these cars were my friends.
So this Spring, when I realized the time had finally come for my ’06 Cadillac, The Warhorse, I began to wax nostalgic about her (N.B. She was the only car I’ve ever referred to in the feminine, but they all had nicknames, The Beast, The Missile, The Ghost). I’d put her through a lot: 113,000 miles, one wreck Uncle Joe caused, and one I got to sue someone for, she left one still there scrape on my garage door, and one (prolly) still there love dent on some poorly parked Cousins patron. I learned about Windshield time in her, for which she was introduced to almost 40 counties in our great state. But maybe more importantly, she was the first car I purchased and paid for completely by myself, not a loaner from parents, or a gift from parents, or even co-signing a note from parents. It was her that I was finally grown up enough to walk into a car dealership, pick out, negotiate price, and pay for, as a professional adult. In many ways, she was the first symbol of the true-after-college-stop-fucking-around adulthood. And she served me well.
In the end, as her brakes faltered, and as I realized that if Wife were ever to let me drive the G-Unit, I’d have to get a new car, her taillights began staying on after she was parked, as if to say don’t forget about me. And during my nostalgic waxing, I realized she had ascended to my second favorite car ever. This is me not forgetting about her.
But The Warhorse, and every other car, will always be second to you, white Jeep, the pony…… friend. I miss you, miss you every day. Every time I put a key into a new ignition, and adjust the mirrors (kidding, of course I don’t do that) to venture off on a new fool’s errand, I think of you, only you.
You’d have been about 350,000 this year, if that jerk in the F-350 hadn’t greased you (and almost me) in the four-car pile-up (N.B. that karmically I caused, but for which I was legally absolved) at 4:45 on that Friday. I didn’t know then, as I watched them scrape your carcass off the Interstate, or after I ejected the White Stripes’ CD from you as you lay in your final resting place, how much in the history of my life you’d meant to me. Only later did I consider how many firsts I experienced sitting behind your wheel, how many adventures we had together, how many times I sang Daniel or Yellow Ledbetter as the asphalt flew beneath us, how many stories, perfect and indelible stories, you were the stage for, how, when all I wanted to do was get away, be alone, think, run, you were the perfect companion.
I’ve had friends better than you, but not many. Your loyalty, and your steadfastness were breath-taking, and I can’t thank you for them enough. I miss you, friend. There’ll never be another like you.
So I’m not much of a car guy.