But I ain’t turning back to living that old life no more


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Does anyone else have a “Happy Song”? You know, the song that instantly makes you feel good? I have one that is extra special, more so than all the other songs that bring about good feelings for me because it instantly relaxes me. It can pull me out of my deep-thinking, OCD-esque, worry place like nothing else in the world.

It is the first song I ever called “My Happy Song”. I love it especially so because it isn’t necessarily associated with a person, place, or even time in my life, the way most other favorite songs are. No bittersweet sentimentality. No sappy heart string tugs, just a song that became my little mental vacation.

I remember the EXACT moment my happy song came into my life. I was sitting in a nice bar with my Favorite Frazzled Friend, as we often did. On this particular night it was too cold to sit outside. No matter where we went, “Outside” was our preferred location. Outside is where we would sip and smoke and have deep conversations about seemingly topical philosophicalΒ  concepts, music, books, and ideas.

We would regale each other with tales of our various youthful exploits, so different in nature; mine meandering across different states of stark contrast, his charmingly all-American (to me, at least), filled with envious stability and Left Coast.

Our conversations, while seemingly better fitted for wing-back chairs alongside a fire in a study filled with books, were perfectly comfortable no matter the setting. I would point out how pompous we were, friendly to all, but often feeling slightly superior, enjoying the mental flexing we afforded each other, making jokes about Sherlock Holmes pipes and elbow patches.

They were good times, there was a little bit of kismet at work in our friendship developing and we were aware enough to value it.

So inside we sat on that night, past the whiteboard sign that extolled “PLEASE SEAT YOURSELF!” (on which I never failed to erase the second “S” in a faux ironic juvenile fit), bemoaning the uncharacteristic crowded room and subpar band playing 38 Special songs. The guitarist trying to emulate Stevie Ray Vaughn. Poorly. Ever so poorly.

We grabbed a table and tried to talk but the music was loud and loud doesn’t work for deep. We ruminated over the contrast in population compared to any other given night. We had grown accustomed to being the only patrons and had, as a result, developed something of an ominous belief that we were the kiss of death upon places serving libations. Our regular presence seemed the precursor to businesses shuttering their windows and heading for more prosperous ventures. That is laughable, but not untrue.

Our friendship started at a successful wine bar that was perfectly located between our homes. The night we wandered in for the first time, the owner had placed a sign on the bar informing the wine-seeking world they had exactly 3 days to enjoy the locale for they were going out of business.

From that point on, we had been party to no less than 5 other favored establishments closing down. The one we sat in, our favorite, even if only by default, was on it’s 2nd owner and 3rd reincarnation in just the few short weeks we had been frequenting it.

In retrospect I believe this all bespoke of the economy and it’s decline rather than our personal effect, but one can never be too certain about such questionable outcomes.

So that night, we despised the crowd but felt it was good for the place and we tried to tough it out. We lasted about 20 minutes before deciding to head elsewhere for more peaceful, befitting surroundings. As we readied to leave, Favorite Frazzled Friend looked up in surprise and said “I know this song!”

While a statement such as that from FFF wasn’t shocking in and of itself; he possessed a tremendous varied musical knowledge, it was that statement combined with the fact that I personally did not know the song that brought surprise to both our faces. Not even vaguely did I recognize any part of the song. And then we left.

A few nights later we sat on my front porch. The weather was much warmer and we marveled over what we both concurred is the beauty of a Central Carolina winter: No matter what weather you were experiencing, it wouldn’t last longer than a few days, no weather ever became unbearable.

So we sat and enjoyed the agreeable temps, drinks in hand, ideas in head but no conversation at the ready. Amongst Favorite Frazzled Friend’s many skills my favorite has always been his keen ability to determine exactly what any given situation needs. This night he declared it was music. In all fairness, music was his go to, but it was the type of music he picked for each situation that truly showcased his talent.

After a quick and rousing round of Name That Tune (where I kicked ass, as is the norm πŸ˜‰ ) he put on a song that instantly seemed familiar yet I honestly didn’t know. It seemed almost sad, yet promising and true. It was mellow and relaxing but fun and engaging, telling a story through lyrics but also in melody. I loved it instantly.

He reminded me that it was “that song from that night at that place” and I knew exactly what he was talking about. We so enjoyed utilizing our SAT-ready vocabularies, one-upping each other and pseudo showing off, that the beauty of our best conversations came from pure laziness and understanding with minimal descriptives in a way only good friends can do well. He told me the title and the band name and I promptly forgot.

For the first few months I forgot the song even existed. I would be pleasantly surprised and fall in love with it all over again when Favorite Frazzled Friend would put it on at just the right moment, when I was feeling meh or inching into melancholy or just needed to chill.

For quite some time I would never remember the name or the band but could remember enough to request “That song that makes me happy”. And in the way only a great friend can do, Favorite Frazzled Friend knew exactly what I was talking about and had it at the ready.

Eventually I knew the song name, knew the band, downloaded the song, and shoved it down the throats and ears of everyone around me. It took on a life of its own as my go-to song and never failed to bring a smile.

Now, 4 years later, I’ve heard the song 100’s of time, witnessed it covered (and butchered) and found that I may have been the only person in these parts who wasn’t familiar with the song for years before (blame my Northern roots, it’s a bluegrass song about North Carolina) but my happiness quotient was never diminished. I still love the song and never tire of singing along to it, I automatically smile when I hear the intro.

While I do, from time to time such as this, fondly remember who and how the song was introduced to me, it isn’t a song that specifically reminds me of our friendship or even that time in my life. Our friendship has endured and grown through the years, maturing, as all successful friendships must and has many a song firmly bookmarking each stage.

This song, while a big part of my life, serves only as a small reminder to the highbrow vice-fueled minutes we shared in the span of our friendship. It doesn’t really remind me of anything other than being able to let go for a few minutes, forget responsibilities and just get lost in the moment of music.

That’s why, above any other piece of music, no matter how poignant, it’s “My Happy Song”.

-Forever Slacking πŸ˜‰

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19 responses to “But I ain’t turning back to living that old life no more

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