Girl with Faraway Eyes by the Rolling Stones was the first song to play and it made me smile.
That song has the capacity to somehow bring me back to two places at once. Or rather, more aptly, it takes me back to one place at once: Me. But the two places I go first are these:
1. I am ten years old in a loud, smoky tavern with my parents. The music is loud and I feel warm and surrounded and it's one of those good nights when it's just fun and I don't want to go home. I like to fancy myself as a girl with faraway eyes.
2. I am twenty four years old and in Tad's apartment when we're first becoming friends. That song comes on and I see Tad smile over at me from across the apartment and I can tell by his look, two things: He thinks I have faraway eyes. And he knows I fancy myself as someone with faraway eyes and he's laughing at me/with me with his own eyes.
So there you are and I'm walking down 6th and Wisconsin, listening to that song and smiling, and a man walking past me stops and says "What are you smiling about?"
This man is a complete stranger. He has gray hair and a knit hat and a big sweater. He's wearing a backpack and he looks kind of hippyish and he's got a nice friendly energy so I stop.
"I'm listening to a good song." I tell him, popping the ear bud out of my right ear. I leave the one in my left and I can still hear Keith Richards and Mick Jagger faintly in my nearly deaf ear.
The man sort of looks back and notices my messenger bag. "Do you ride--"
"--What the bus?" I interrupt him.
"No...I was going to say a bike."
"I do ride a bike." I say. "But only when it's warm out."
"Do you live in Riverwest?"
"No. The west side."
He looks surprised. "The west side!? Boring!"
And for some reason, I take my mitten off and smack him in the arm with it. "The west side is NOT boring!"
He laughs and I tell him whereabouts I live and we talk about the Times Cinema. He lives in Riverwest. Obviously.
So we talk awhile and then I smile at him and he smiles back.
"Have a nice day." I say.
"You too!" He says, pointing at me.
And we walk in seperate directions. I put my right ear bud back in and now it's Leonard Cohen singing "Passing Through"
And I keep smiling as I walk.
Connection is so good. For a lifetime, for an hour or for a couple minutes. It just is good.
And if you're down on your luck
and you can't harmonize
get a girl with faraway eyes
And when you're downright disgusted
and life ain't worth a dime