Thursday, April 05, 2012

your moment(s) of zen.

the day kurt cobain died i was at my job. it was the most normal job i would ever have. it was a daytime 180 from my real life. it gave my life structure, but i did it poorly. because it wasn't me. and i knew it. but i did it. and every day i questioned my sanity at choosing to be hemmed in like that. for actually getting up and going *there* every single day. so, i wrote (mostly) bad poetry when i was supposed to be working. i wrote a whole book of (mostly) bad poetry when i was supposed to be working.

it was an office job. almost seinfeldian. absurd and mundane and definitely sitcom worthy. i sat in a cubicle. i wore knit dresses and tights and sensible mary janes. i had a creepy, inappropriate boss. he had a put upon assistant. i had a gay office BFF. and a supervisor with out of control kids and fertility issues she wasn't afraid to gone on about at length. and a friend across the hall i could dish to. and did. too often, i suppose. outside of that job, my real life was beginning to spiral. coming apart at seams that were never meant to be stitched together in the first place.

i would ride my bike from the absolute top of capitol hill down to denny down to alaskan way which separated belltown from lower queen anne and i'd ride along this gritty industrial strip and then make my way into the left hand lane and turn onto to the magnolia bridge and with puget sound and the shipyards on my left i'd take the bridge all the way up and into the heart of magnolia. at the end of the day, i'd do it all over again. miles and miles of immense hills and endless water and amazing amounts of traffic. miles did not scare me. hills did not scare me. fast moving traffic did not scare me. i miss that girl. she made questionable choices and was such an asshole at times, true, but i admire her pluck.

i never met kurt cobain. or his wife. but circumstances were such that the degrees of separation could be counted on less than one hand. and as time wore on would get smaller still. that was just the way seattle was then. a very small town in a tucked away corner of the world with a soundtrack all its own. a great deal of that soundtrack kurt cobain was responsible for. so when i heard he died there was a profound sense of something the world tilting in a way that didn't make sense. of having lost something i didn't really 'have,' but that meant something more than i could understand at the time. 

sillymortals and their connection to music. what can be said that hasn't already been said. except that everyone has their own story. of a sound or a song. an album or a band. a story that gets richer for having music attached to the meaning. for having a soundtrack.  

and everyone who grows up thinks their soundtracks are the greatest. that they are the luckiest for having been in that time, with that music. and they pity others who got stuck with other, lesser soundtracks. this is how i feel. and mine was, is, the best. and i wouldn't trade one song on it for the world.

and every year on this day since that day in 1994 i'll be in the car or at home and the radio will be on and it will get mentioned. kurt cobain's death. and i'll stop a minute. or two. and i'll remember. where i was. and i can picture that office. and what i was doing. in general. in my life. and the rest comes. the music and the memories and the girl on the bike.

and now 18 years later i have sons who love nirvana. one with wholesale dedication. and passion. their music regularly plays in our car. and in my son's room. it does not get old. it has not worn out its welcome. all these years later and kurt cobain still commands attention. all these years later he's still in the soundtrack of my life.

recently we drove over an hour away to see a rock and roll photography exhibit because there were three iconic kurt cobain/nirvana photos included in the collection that the duke wanted to see. the above was one of them. it was chilling and arresting in person. it was hard to look at, even harder to look away. one hopes that one so tortured eventually finds their nirvana.

so here you go. this installment of your moment(s) of zen. enjoy.


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