It’s funny how we change – almost
imperceptibly. We don’t see it
in ourselves, we have to at least
pull over. Stop to look. And listen.
20 years ago or so I was driving
to Wellington with one of my mates
and one of his friends and the three
of us were going to set up a flat
It never happened. And just as well.
He and I are friends still. And would have lasted
the flatting situation – we practically lived
together anyway in the end (I was always visiting).
But she was just awful. And I knew this about
20 minutes into the drive. And maybe she
knew that about me in quicker time. Certainly by
the end of our days searching empty-handed for
a place to live she was aware of the situation.
It was an awkward drive home. We’d not found
a thing – and this “personality-clash” between us
was obvious. And it came to a head in the weirdest
way. I was playing a tape in the car’s stereo and
it was this bootleg recording of a Sting concert. I was
into it because of the drummer (Vinnie!) and some of the
other musicians. (And – yes! Alright! Some of the songs
too). And she said, “could you turn this off please – I don’t
like it”. And you know, if she’d left that last bit off, if
she’d just said “could you turn this off please” it probably
wouldn’t have been (much of) a problem. But that last
little bit really bugged me. (It always does. It’s always the
last little bit – whatever it is). So I replied, “hey well you
know what to do then eh: The next time you’re driving
in YOUR car make sure You don’t listen to Sting!”
(I like to think that was the real sting).
But not from the car’s stereo. In fact I think Sting
was singing something hilariously not-right-for-that-moment
like We’ll Be Together or Be Still My Beating Heart.
Anyway, I’m sure glad we never lived in a flat all together.
And though I sometimes think about how I was a knob in that
moment, like basically any time I hear Sting – which is nowhere near
as often as it was back then, by the way, and always for the same
exact reason/s (I like the musicians he worked with – and then some of
the songs, in that order) I never really think about what happened
to that person that would blank-stare at almost anything and was the
almond-milk and peace and love traces of a human being
before any of that sort of thing seemed
built to agitate.
There was something ironic about me going in to bat for Sting too. I mean
he is as annoying as her, or she as him – or however you want to see it.
Similar jerk-personalities. And I’m a huge fucking jerk too. I know that.
(And I’m sure you do too).
But my mate – from that same car-ride – told me just recently that she’d
gone to the dark side: All sure that Bill Gates was microchipping us
and that the government plot of the virus was just part of sneaking 5G in
which would have only one benefit at all – she’d be able to send her messages
to her crackpot-theory groups just that little bit faster…
I laughed when I heard it. Couldn’t have happened to a better person.
I decided to play a Sting song.
“They Dance Alone”.
I always particularly hated that one.