Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Song for a Crappy Tuesday

I am headed to New York City today.

When I was younger, I believed I'd make New York City my home. Walking down the streets a couple of years ago, a blast of hot air blew up from a subway grate and I caught a lungful of exhaust, urine, oil, and old basement. An explosion of teen aged excitement roiled through me. Back in High School, my drama class would take a trip to New York every year. I only went a couple of times, but it was enough to cement a vision of the future that looked like a cross between the movie version of A Chorus Line and Working Girl. The smell that shot up through the grate flashed me right back to the 10th Grade...when I was an Actress.

(My sister describes the same sensation. We both just assumed that NYC was where we'd wind up. The smell in the streets was going to be our smell.)

Something about the city, with its unceasing energy and gotham gravity is also melancholy. Whenever I am there or read about it, I get an intense feeling of longing. I get this, too, when I'm in L.A. or anyplace where populations stake out their claims, set up fond dream manufacturies and eke out a trickle of freedom/joy/immortality.

The city is a self-perpetuating turbine of failure and hope.

There are hundreds of songs that name check New York City. But Lou Reed singing "Walk on the Wild Side" is possibly my favorite. His squeaky voice over an unassuming and gentle rhythm, lullabies desperation, self-delusion, and hope. One night, a junior in high school, I couldn't sleep and I listened to this song over and over - Play. Stop. Rewind. - until the weary batteries slowed Reed's voice to creepy speeds. I dreamed of scrapping it out on the streets, some tough cookie.

That would never be me, but it was an enticing fantasy.

No comments:

Add to Technorati Favorites