Happy Valentinaversary, Carol! I Made You A Mix-Tape!
I got the wifey (pictured left) some stuff for our Valentinaversary, but I wanted to put this up, as well. I call it that because our anniversary is the day before Valentine’s Day. We are redefining gender boundaries with our marriage, as I tend to be more sentimental and mushy than she is, so I thought I would include a few key songs from our past with a little blurb about each one to let readers know why these songs are significant to us and to let Carol know why they are still significant to me. Just so you don’t feel bombarded, this blog post will include many feels and at least one of the stories will probably make many people feel awkward, just by reading it. You’re more than welcome to stop reading, at any point.
Floater: “The Sad Ballad of Danny Boy”
This song isn’t very romantic… I’ll give you that. It’s not romantic at all, but its pertinent. Back in high school, I was dating Carol’s best friend and she was dating one of my best friends. My girlfriend at the time never appreciated my taste in music, and didn’t like Floater. I asked Carol (because I was pretty into her, even before I broke it off with the girlfriend at the time) and my buddy to go to a Floater show with me at the Venetian Theater in downtown Albany (it has since been converted… into a church). Her boyfriend wasn’t feeling well and took off during the show, leaving Carol and I on an impromptu date. She held my glasses for me while I was moshing. That was a good sign! Anyway… both her and I knew that we were into each other, at the time, we were just waiting for me to pull the trigger on breaking up with the girlfriend, which happened just a couple of days later. The concert was on October 28th, 1998 and Carol and I consider it our first date. That night, after the show, I took Carol home and we ended up sitting in her driveway for a couple of hours chatting in about whatever it is that two in-love teenagers chat about. I remember the energy in my car being nerve wracking (for me anyway) as I felt that there was deffinately more there than I was allowing to happen. I was shaking like a leaf due to nerves, but I wasn’t sure what I was nervous about. In a way, had already won her over. I shouldn’t have been nervous… I’ve always felt like Carol was out of my proverbial league and I think I was affraid to take the chance that she would realize that she ACTUALLY IS out of my league.
Blackstreet: “Good Lovin’”
I think it’s important to point out the overt sexual nature of this song. I also think it’s important to point out that this song is actually a very tender song, if you drop that shit out. What can I say? It was the late 90′s when hip-hop was exploding and virtually EVERY SONG on had that overt sexuality. This was an important song for us. Ironically, the first time I had ever heard this song, was when Carol played it while thinking about a guy she had broken up with several months prior to my becoming part of her life. Carol and I started out as mutual friends of my girlfriend. We started to become friends and became best friends. We would confide in each other. I had the Blackstreet CD because, at the time, “No Diggity” was beating up every radio! We bonded over this song, because that was when our friendship became more of an emotional experience that we were sharing, because we were opening up to the idea of showing that raw, vulnerable side of ourselves to each other. This song, in my mind, is intimate between us, even if it did remind her of a past boyfriend, at the time.
LL Cool J: “Candy”
I would like to refer to my previous statement in which I pointed out the overt sexuality in popular music of the late 90′s. I am not trying to say that neither of us were thinking about the sexy side of our relationship, I’m quite convinced of the opposite considering that I was 18 and Carol was 16. Also, I was there… I know for a fact that her mom would have shot me for some of the things we were doing in my car during some of those long, driveway chats. Pauline (Carol’s Mom), if you’re reading this… LOVE YOU! I am just trying to point out the romantic side of some of these songs. There is real value in some of the lyrics.
This song was really symbolic to me. The idea of being young and having to journey towards each other hit home, for a couple of reasons. She lived in the next town over. I would have to drive 15-20 minutes to go see Carol. I also think of this time as an awakening for myself. This is when I started grasping the idea of romantic love and the things that came with it. I’m not sure if Carol has the same feeling about this song…
I want to point out that I say STARTED to grasp it. I don’t believe love can be understood. In all honesty, I was quite the bouche bag in my late teens and early 20′s, so I try to not recall those times. I made plenty of mistakes, the ones that I regret are the times when I was a bad boyfriend. I would give ANYTHING to go back and be a better boyfriend to Carol. My mistakes weren’t (often) huge, I didn’t beat her and I wasn’t a serial cheater. We weren’t that “on again/off again” couple that most of us remember from high school, but I can recall times when I hurt Carol. I still beat myself up for them. She doesn’t always read my blog posts, but I hope she reads this one and sees that… I could have been so much better to Carol… They say hindsight is 20/20, and sometimes that is accurate and cruel.
Jagged Edge: “Let’s Get Married”
This is where it could get awkward to read about… For Valentine’s Day in 2000, I took this song, on a CD, and a boombox out to Carol’s work. During her lunch, I showed up in the back parking lot (where she took lunch), set the boombox on the ground and (horribly) performed this song to her. All her co-workers were there and I’m 100% positive she was embarressed as shit! Wait… I get to show my girl I love her, prove I have no humility as a human being AND be a pain in the ass simultaneously? I’M IN!
Killswitch Engage: “The Element of One”
Once again, on the surface, this doesn’t seem like a love song. So I made sure to find a video that included lyrics, as not all people can hang when it comes to metal. If you pressed stop the second the screaming started, press play! I’m only asking you to hang for 3 and 1/2 minutes! Suffer through it, if you must. It’s worth it. Many people believe this song to be a verbalization of the singer’s (Jesse David Leach) relationship with god. I can’t speak to that, as I have never had the chance to speak to him about the topic, and probably never will get that chance. This song hit me really hard because love is love, whether it’s for a deity or a person. The screaming parts are the thoughts of the loved, and the chorus and refrain are from the lover. The screaming makes a lot of sense, symbolically, as love, when being truly experienced for the first time, can be maddening and can make you feel like you don’t belong to yourself… like your someone else’s. Like your lifeforce or soul has gone out of you and become someone else’s, and the same is true for that person… and that’s totally OK with you. Sometimes this song comes on and catches me off guard while my iPhone is shuffling through my music library… I cry every time and I instantly miss Carol.
Katy Perry: “Hummingbird Heartbeat”
If it were the 80′s right now, I would have put “Feels Like the First Time” here. This is my most recent addition to my list of “our songs”. I’m not entirely sure Carol even knows that… Again, I note the suggestive nature of the lyrics. I’m not sure if that proves how immature I am, or how young our relationship is. I still have that romantic yet idiotic love (and lust; if I’m being honest) for Carol. I like the fact that even though Carol and I have spent nearly half of our lives together, that love is still fresh to me. I don’t see a problem with remaining giddily and childishly in love with my wife… isn’t that what every relationship should strive for? I WANT to feel like high schoolers, canoodling around in the backseat of the car at a park downtown when we should be at school! I don’t ever want to lose that!
Carol: I hope you enjoyed this bit of nostalgia. Even in the era of digital content, I can still manage to make mix-tapes for you! I love you more than I could ever say or show. I try my absolute best to be my absolute best for you. You are my number one. You held my glasses for me when I went into that mosh pit on our first date, and that’s amazingly appropriate, because I feel like you still do that for me. I am pursuing dreams that many people have told me that I shouldn’t pursue. Every time I charge at one of those dreams, you’re always there holding my glasses… being my rock… and telling me that I can do it, even if you know better, sometimes. You mean the world to me… Thank you and I Love You. ;’)
P.S. I’ll go get a new keyboard… I cried all over this one.