My friend Jay requested a playlist of songs that I listened to or at least thought about during the last couple of weeks, similar to the one I posted on my last day of school. Jay is a cancer survior, a retired choral music teacher, and a mentor of mine at Unity. He's currently living his life with gusto as he travels around the country.
Well, Did You Evah? by Iggy Pop and Deborah Harry. This goofy song was playing in my car as I drove into the hospital's parking garage a few weeks ago. I had to take care of some annual checkup-related bloodwork, and on that same morning I learned that my first mammogram images indicated asymmetry and they'd need me to come back for more.
Heroin by The Velvet Underground. It's one of the best rock songs ever, and I listened to it on the day they told me they wanted to do a biopsy. I then had a week to sit and worry about it, and that afternoon I sat on the couch looking at stuff on YouTube that reflected my dark mood. I've never done drugs and I've never been drunk, but this would have been a great day for those things. I landed on "Heroin" after watching the aforementioned "Under Pressure" by David Bowie and Annie Lennox.
Numb by U2. This is their best video. For some reason I watched it five or six times in a row on that bleak afternoon. And I did indeed feel numb at the time. Because of all the breast smashing. Men, you have no idea.
Open House by Lou Reed and John Cale. It's from an album about Andy Warhol, and it describes his early commerical art career, his loneliness in the big city, and the Czechoslovakian customs he used to make friends. This song helped me breathe when I was panicky. I'd try to align my breathing with its slow rhythm. And Lou Reed's voice has always had a calming influence on me.
The Waiting by Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers. For obvious reasons.
How? by John Lennon. I re-watched a documentary about him while finishing my painting of Terry. You know life can be long / and you've got to be so strong / and the world is so tough / sometimes I feel I've had enough. I've always loved John and Yoko as a couple and now, at last, that's what I have with Jeff, and I so want to keep it.
Send One Your Love by Stevie Wonder. Every night I'd wake up at 3:00 with an Uma-in-Pulp-Fiction adrenaline rush that made it impossible to get back to sleep, so in an attempt to relax myself, the soundtrack in my head played songs like this one. It's a classic from my childhood with its dreamy melody and my favorite Stevie harmonica solo of all time. It wrapped itself around me like a warm blanket.
Mother's Little Helper by The Rolling Stones. The "what a drag it is getting old" line was just so right, and I thought of this song whenever I longed for the escape that drugs and booze would provide. But instead I endured every last second of the waiting game and bore the full brunt of its stress.
Can't Help Falling In Love by U2. Oh how I miss Weird U2. This is another one of those mental lullabyes I used to calm myself down at night. You know how your mind wanders during bouts of insomnia? I used my time awake to think about how stressful life must have been in the German concentration camps, and how I would never have survived one of those because even during optimal conditions my feet and hands are always so, so cold. Since I was forced to really fixate on my breasts last week, I concluded that I'd probably die of either frostbitten extremities or raw nipples as I stood out there in the cold wearing some kind of rough, itchy garment that would rub up against me all the time. I am such wuss.
In the Still of the Night by the Neville Brothers. One beautiful morning last week, I drove into town for some groceries, and I listened to this gorgeous, smooth song in the driveway once I arrived home. I watched painted lady butterflies feasting on fallen apples near our doorway, and all I wanted was to live in this house with Jeff for decades and decades, watching those butterflies every fall.
And now I'm glad I can keep doing that.