Essays and rock & roll. Looking and listening. Nostalgia versus skepticism. Sound and sense.
Sunday, April 24, 2011
An Origin Story
I'm 10 or 11 and it's a Saturday morning and once again 10cc's "The Things We Do For Love" is on the radio, in my bedroom or in my head, it's playing somewhere everywhere that bright suburban day and now it's become for me the aural equivalent of sun and warm afternoons not yet embittered by dusks, of June allowance walks and bike rides and woods swallowing me in the dark with a playground at the other end — and accompanying the song is the smell of Lemon Pledge, Saturday's olfactory mascot, the sounding start of my mom's workday cleaning a house of eight people and a shedding dog, and now 10cc and Lemon Pledge are entwined forever, feeling like nothing less than knowledge, but of what? — adolescent freedom, nostalgia! — but if I think a little harder: the rue of sentimentality, of blitheness, of the dangers of trusting a mawkish memory of a boy lying in bed waking up to a buoyant pop song and a greenyellow world where drudgery and thanklessness evaporate, and, like last season's Top 40 hit, leave no trace, no clues yet to sorrow.