I have this great tendency to lie on the couch and listen to my iPod all alone, and by myself well into the dark hours of the night. I've always enjoyed the darkness of night. My thoughts collect easier when the lights are out and there are no distractions (and perhaps because no one can see me.) I've done this since I was a teenager actually, me sitting in the dark listening to music that is.
As a lad, I think, it stemmed from a need to be alone and try to figure out that great big question of 'who I am, and what am I doing?' Teenagers don't really get a lot of privacy, but after my parents and sister and brother would go to bed, I could sit up by the warm fire in the winter, or out on the porch under the stars when it was warm, and contemplate these things.
This has flowed into my adult life, and I suppose you could say being married I don't always get a lot of privacy and have to find some after my spouse goes to bed, but this isn't entirely true.
Whatever the reasons I find myself there - on the couch in the night - listening to music and contemplating life. My tendency during this times is to listen to really sad music. I have no explanation for that except that I really like sad music, and inner contemplation lends itself to sad songs more than glib dance tracks.
There I was last night listening to Ryan Adams and Bob Dylan wondering what the heck I'm doing here in China and feeling just a bit sad about it all. But then a Gillian Welch song came on and something changed.
Now normally Gillian is nothing but heartbreaking, but here it was her and David Rawlings and a real live band doing a version of The Band's "The Weight."
Now if you don't know this song besides being disowned by me, you should really hunt down a copy and give it a listen. It is a perfect song. A brilliant song. A life changing song. Its lyrics are enigmatic making some people think of religion and Jesus, and other politics and the US of A.
It has this really great chorus where they do this layered harmony thing that does nothing if not make me smile.
"Take a load off Fannie
Take a load for free
Take a load off Fannie
put the load
put the load
right on me-e-e-e"
It gives me chills just thinking about it.
Anywho, last night Gilliand and friends are doing a live version of it and I had to get off that sad sack of a couch and stand up and dance. I stood there in my living room, in the middle of the night, with all the lights off. In my pajamas. And played air guitar and air sung that song like I was in Madison Square Garden in front of a million screaming fans.
It was invigorating. It made me feel so much better. It made me....a...well a geek I guess.
But a happy one.