Thursday, March 01, 2007

13 Songs I Listened Incessantly To While Heartbroken

The other night I dreamed I was young again, like 20... young enough to be stupid but old enough to be free to revel in that stupidity. I was at my parents' barn up in the hay loft, where the hay had been cleared away to reveal an old roller rink. So I was on roller skates with some other young people, doing some of the fancy moves I could do back when I was 7, on the old, surprisingly smooth boards, and I was particularly interested in this one guy. I just followed him around, and eventually he sort of noticed me... I was just starting to wonder if maybe the interest was mutual when I was woken up by Swee'pea crying for More Boob! (He's been nursing almost constantly for the last week or so overnight, I guess because I've stopped nursing him between 8 and 5 during the day.)

Lying in bed with Sugar Daddy far on the other side of Swee'pea, I felt intense nostalgia for those free and stupid days, when every once in a while I would be lucky enough to experience the giddiness of new mutual attraction. Partly I think this is because of the old letters I read this weekend to my sister and other people, where I reported a lot of my crushes. Partly because I think it's something I do when life gets a bit hard, when Swee'pea's not sleeping well, and Sugar Daddy and I are feeling too tired, and stretched tight like an elastic band about to snap. Revisiting my old cds yesterday only added to this reverie.

Of course I know that there are wonderful fantastic things about being in a long-term relationship, and sharing the parenting of this amazing little being, different and separate but with bits of us both, but I got a bit sad thinking about that old excitement.

Many of my old letters were embarrassing, especially the ones to my sister. It seems all I wrote about were the boys I was interested in/stalking. It happened so frequently, and with so much thwarted passion, I'm amazed that I still have a heart... I should have gone through at least 9. (Of course, now, I couldn't even remember some of the guys I talked about, or their names in some cases.)

Anyways... a soundtrack of heartbreak:
  1. Red Hot Chili Peppers - Under the Bridge. In grade 10 I spent at least a year obsessing over Jack. He worked at Burger King with me and I was taken with him. In retrospect, he had a bit of a mullet, but that was ok because he was tall and had gorgeous bluey-gray eyes. He went to a different high school, but came to a CFNY dance at my school once, and I danced with him to Under the Bridge. It was amazing and magical and I described just how he held my waist in a letter to my sister. I spent the whole weekend listening to my tape of Blood Sugar Sex Magic, which was one of my absolute faves at the time. I figured it had to be a sign that he danced with me to that song.

    But the following week, I learned that he had just started dating, that very night he danced with me, another girl. I was heartbroken, and yet kind of impressed with his choice of girlfriend, because she was overweight. Even then, and even with my sadness, I thought it was cool that he wasn't just after the conventional idea of beauty. Shortly after that I got the job at the stud farm, and lost touch with anyone who knew him, but I often wondered if they lasted a long time. I kind of thought they might.

  2. Blind Melon - No Rain. In the beginning of grade 12, I had a massive crush on a younger guy, Ian, who had long curly dark hair, and was tall and skinny as a rake. Apparently, I also thought I would add to the allure of an older woman I was sure I held by writing him "quirky" letters, and phoning his house drunk, asking for him, then hanging up when he answered. I don't know how he resisted, but he did.

    I had completely forgotten until last weekend when I found a letter to him, wondering why he hadn't replied to my letters, and a letter to my sister explaining my logic in sending these letters. I guess I didn't bother sending the letter to him, figuring I was unlikely to get a response (a good decision I think). One time, at a dance, I saw him cuttin' the rug to this Blind Melon song, so I had to listen to it incessantly for a long time. As I remember, I didn't so much get heartbroken over this guy as I got interested in a new guy, the one who became my first love.

  3. Nirvana - Heart Shaped Box. After my grade 12 winter formal where I decided I liked this uber cool alternadude, and felt like we'd bonded dancing to Heart Shaped Box. The crush didn't last long, once it came out that he liked my friend. Cue music.

  4. The Odds - I would be your man. First, let me say that I listened to this album the other day, and I still like it. And it still makes me feel just a little bit sad remembering past hurts. I listened to the whole album on repeat after my first boyfriend, who I wanted/expected to marry eventually, broke up with me over the phone from 1000 miles away. There are a few ballads on this album that helped me wallow in my heartbreak, but the lyrics of this song especially brought on the tearfest:
    Its so easy to see that I
    Could wash your feet, and fill your womb
    And I would be your man
    But it hurts to know, but I dont think I can

  5. Leonard Cohen - Chelsea Hotel No. 2. Another first love breakup song. We used to hang out in the cabin that my friend and her boyfriend built themselves, drinking and listening to Leonard Cohen. Er, listening AND singing along with, loudly and drunkenly. It was these words that really got to me during the wallowing time:
    And clenching your fist for the ones like us
    who are oppressed by the figures of beauty,
    you fixed yourself, you said, "Well never mind,
    we are ugly but we have the music."

  6. U2 - Sunday Bloody Sunday. I didn't own a copy of this at the time, but after the breakup with my first love, hearing it on the radio could spiral me into a weeping wreck. Because I first heard it with him, and loved it immediately... somehow it just reminded me of him.

  7. Neil Young - Philadelphia. First love again, because we'd seen Philadelphia on our first date. The most retarded choice ever for a first date movie, but what can you do? We laughed uncomfortably throughout. Anyways, this woman I babysat for quite regularly had the soundtrack, so I spent five hours immediately fallowing the phone breakup sobbing next to the cd player, this song on repeat.

  8. Ashley MacIsaac - Sleepy Maggie. Um. Er. Well, I cashed in my v-card to this song. On St. Patrick's Day, I won't say how many years ago except that I was a late bloomer compared to all my friends. I was reminded of this today by references to upcoming St. Patrick's Day plans. A nice fellow, a good experience, but he lived something like 8 hours away, so I pined after him, listening to this song on repeat for way too long. I still like it though.
  9. Leonard Cohen - Waiting for the Miracle. V-Guy again, because I had just watched... that movie with Woody Harrelson and Juliette Lewis... the one where they become murderers... aha! Natural Born Killers! Yeah, so I'd just watched that, and was also listening to that soundtrack a lot at that time.

  10. Daniel Lanois - Ice. But really the whole Acadie album. But I've already talked about that.

  11. Bob Dylan - Lay Lady Lay. I had a shitty birthday when I turned 21. I had been dating a nice enough guy, but just before Christmas (and hence my Boxing Day birthday) he stopped calling or returning my calls. So by New Year's I figured that was it, and called him to formally end what was clearly already ended. It wasn't that painful, but still disappointing... So my friends threw me a surprise 21 and a quarter birthday in March, complete with Amazing Race style clues to guide our pub crawl, long before Amazing Race was even a twinkle in anyone's eye. One of my friends gave me a mixed tape with Bob Dylan and Ani DiFranco among others. I'd heard my friend's boyfriend (the one we got high on garlic with) sing his version of the chorus, but didn't hear the actual song until I got this tape. It proved essential listening when Sugar Daddy and I broke up for a week after six months. I spent most of the week when I wasn't at work curled up in a big comfy arm chair listening to the tape over and over again.

  12. Bob Dylan - Knockin' on Heaven's Door. See above. This song was on the tape too, and before the tape, I'd never heard Bob Dylan's version.

  13. Ani DiFranco - Both Hands. This song was also on that tape, but I remember it more clearly as being the soundtrack of another heartbreak. I started a somewhat casual relationship with a charismatic guy, who I suspected was a compulsive liar. He told me he had stomach cancer, that he made a very handsome living owning three grow houses in the city and letting other people do the work, and doing seasonal construction work down east or something. We were getting along quite well, and he was quite sweet except for occasionally not showing up when he said he would, even if he'd just called to say he was coming over now. Oh - and he wouldn't give me his phone number; that was annoying.

    Not long after we started dating, he stopped calling suddenly, and when I went out and saw his friends, they didn't know where he was. They figured he'd left town. After a month or so, I figured he had too. He did finally show up about four months later, and told me a big story that I can't remember now about why. Also something about wanting to settle down with a family, which scared the crap out of me.

    Some time after that, I saw him again, and he told me he was going to become a father soon and he was really happy. The lyrics of the song that felt especially apt during his mysterious disappearance were:
    and I am listening to the low moan of the dial tone again
    and I am getting nowhere with you
    and I can't let it go
    and I can't get through
I was thinking about all this today, and wondering why I insist on thinking about this stuff so much, and blogging about it. Especially when I felt so embarrassed by my letters. I suppose it's because I'm looking back in irony, and those letters were SO earnest.

Sugar Daddy came home early because of the storm, and -- get this!! -- Swee'pea was sleeping. in. the. crib. And had been for like nearly two hours. We exchanged a very nice hello kiss while he made himself a cuppa tea, and I asked him playfully, in my old, unsubtle, 20-year-old fashion, "wanna get laid?"

"Um. Maybe. Well I just want my cup of tea first."

Then Swee'pea woke up before he'd even started his tea.

I don't suppose it's that much of a mystery after all why I'm getting so nostalgic for past excitement...


NotSoSage said...

You and I have very similar taste in music.

Odds: Love that album. Love that song.

Ani: Well, I've announced to the blogging world my crazy obsession with Ani (and I can disclose a very embarrassing moment from the last concert I attended, too).

Your exchange with Sugar Daddy makes me laugh. Suddenly, after all that time, the opportunity presents itself!!!!!!! And then you find you're both too tired to pull it off...sometimes literally. Or the kid wakes up in the middle. Sigh.

I miss that rush, too, but I think I'm getting a little too old for it, but maybe I'm due for a little swim in the sea of nostalgia, too.

Aliki2006 said...

I love most of the songs you listed...I used to drown my love sorrows in Eric Rohmer films...odd, I know, so I don't have a soundtrack for broken hearts. But seeing your list of songs really brought back some other memories!

kgirl said...

tea before sex?!? what is he, a woman? just kidding!

i so totally know the feeling you're talking about, and get it when we're going through the same things you describe. when my child sleeping through the night is the most exciting thing that's happened to me in a month.
of course, not to sound like a pepsi commercial, but i don't know if i could handle the excitement of my unchained youth.

oh yeah, and i once went and saw 'life is beautiful' on a first date. not a good move.

metro mama said...

You've brought me back to the days of woefully listening to Under the Bridge.

Another one for me was Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For.

Beck said...

Hahaha. Even hearing about the Odds makes me feel sort of embarrassed - I was dating this guy for ages and he was sweet but clueless, so I started seeing this other guy behind his back (I'm such a class act), went away for the summer, moved back - and unbeknownst to me, Other Guy was waiting for me all this time, during which I broke up with Mr. Clueless and moved in with my future husband. I found out through the grapevine that Other Guy was CRUSHED when he heard and I'd pretty much forgotten about him! So anyhow, he looked just like the lead singer of the Odds. Hence, my embarrsment.

Loukia said...

Oh great post! I can totally classify old school crushes with certain songs, too. One was this red head bad boy who loved Black Sabbaths so I learned the words to "Finished with my woman 'cause she couldn't help me with my mind..." Sigh... you broke back some old school memories. Bittersweet, huh?

Suz said...

Oh, no! I feel so old and uncool reading this. My heartbreak songs are all 80's pop standards like "Who's gonna drive you home tonight" by the Cars.

I've never heard of the Odds, and after reading your and Beck's stories, have to look them up.

Nancy said...

Oh yes. I remember the days of strongly associating music with guys -- in good and bad circumstances.

I recently found all my mix tapes. I'd gotten rid of all the rest of my cassettes, but the mix tapes I couldn't bear to throw out because they have so much history. All I have to do is pop one in the player and I'm heading down memory lane...