pWdumaNjA-6CEEBhRoD5euxNETs When All This Actual Life Played Out: I hear you singing in the wires

18 August 2015

I hear you singing in the wires


Near Coral Pink Sand Dunes State Park, Utah
26 August 2005

Insomnia was my close companion last night. I woke suddenly at 2:30 am from some weird, jumbled dream that I couldn't remember. From there, it became anxiety (do you even have to ask?), sadness (missed connections, missed opportunities, missing what is not mine and I can't have, the end of things), at which point, my psyche was off to the races, and I was beating myself up for everything that I have ever done wrong in my life. Which is not a short list.

Ah, double agent.

After an hour of staring at the wall, I got up. The cat chirruped a question, leapt off his pillow and danced down the hall in front of me. He was so sure it was a 3:30 breakfast call. Poor disappointed beast.

I read for a bit, which usually hits the mental reset button, and then watched my string of solar lights sparkle on the hedge that rims my currently non-existent vegetable garden (why are you broken? why did you let pain and shame stop you for so long? why can't you do anything right? why can't you at least hire a gardener?).

A little after 4, I went back to bed and resumed the mental wrestling match, until finally I fell back to sleep for a couple of hours.

Upon waking, I got down to the work that was awaiting me (mostly of the paper variety, but also laundry), and suddenly found myself thinking of Glen Campbell. Then "Wichita Lineman" started playing through my head.

I've never been a country music fan, not ever. But when I was a small child, I frequently visited another girl down the street, and her father always had the country station on. Which was generally pretty horrifying, but occasionally, they did play something interesting like Johnny Cash, and that was where I first heard Glen Campbell. Most of the songs bounced right off me, but something about "Wichita Lineman" was so lonely, so sad.

(And of course, at 5 or 6 years old, I didn't really have words like "yearning" and "haunting" to put to it, and it would be years before I actually knew what the lyrics were. In those days, it was the music that pierced me with the sense of desolation that the words evoke).

And even now, if you listen to the first, old recording, his voice aches with sorrow.

I could see that family's living room, all dark blues and shag carpet, the stratification of cigarette smoke in the air that we as children were so familiar with, and I could hear, just for a moment, Glen Campbell.

I want you for all time

At about which time, I heard a different sound: the whine of the end of my washing machine. With an accompanying odor of burning metal and smoke. With bonus water on the laundry room floor.

While the family went off to eat lunch, I did a quick search on washers and dryers, and by the time they returned home, I had a pair ready for purchase, shuddering at the cost.

But D., as always, put the iniquities of my day in perspective as I mourned, "Buying expensive things like new washers and dryers kind of makes me want to puke."

"Right," she replied. "A concert becomes part of your soul. Laundry, on the other hand, sucks the soul right out of you.  Especially when you have to pay to do it."

Because she knows I'd have spent the same amount on a concert in a heartbeat.

And as I bake a cake for later, and start to prep dinner, the vision of a lone person on a utility pole, silhouetted by the setting sun flashes through my mind. Inexplicably, I think of the glass insulators that we used to find discarded in the dirt, that we washed and treated as treasures, and a sadness that isn't quite nostalgia fills my heart.

Tech stuff: Taken with a Canon PowerShot S110 .
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