1. It is sometime in 2011, and after months of trying to convince S that I am “boyfriend material,” she decides to quit the big box store we’re both killing time at as we struggle trying to find work that befits our degrees in the “arts.” She moves back to Milwaukee, and tells me she needs to start over, which means I am out of the picture for good. I haven’t been able to tell my friends what’s been going on with S, because I’m embarrassed that she’s kept me at arm’s length, and refused to think of me as anything other than a weird guy who had a crush on her and who she’d occasionally kiss when we were both lonely.
So I’m at home the day after S moves, and I’ve decided to get drunk because that’s what you do when you’re 25 and heartbroken. I also decide, for some reason, to listen ABBA’s Greatest Hits because my roommate has it in her collection, and I’ve never listened to ABBA except for in a soundtrack capacity, and at middle school dances when they’d do disco medleys. It’s at this point I realize every ABBA song is about relationships; ones you wish you had, ones you used to have, the ones you have that cause you distress, the ones you have that make life seem worth living, and the ones that are falling apart. I “get in my feelings,” and mostly stare into the middle distance and drink Southern Comfort and 7Ups in my pajamas.
My roommate comes home, sees me, and starts laughing. She thinks I’m listening to ABBA ironically. “Why are you listening to this?” She asks.
“Because this shit is so deep. These songs are beautiful. I never realized how great this is.”
She just laughs, goes into her room, and carries on with her day. I go back to drinking. I wonder if S has heard ABBA. I think about texting her. I don’t.
I vow to buy my own copy of the same greatest hits package she has. I finally did on vacation last month.
2. I never feel entirely comfortable flogging things via this Tumblr—because this is supposed to be about MY FEELINGS and MY RECORDS and usually in that order. But anyways, fuck it: Last month, this kid Erik Sateren, who works for the Badger Herald, a student newspaper at UW-Madison, interviewed me and profiled this Tumblr for the incoming freshman issue of the Herald. He wrote a very beautiful story about me, and about this blog, and now I feel a lot of pressure to live up to what Erik wrote about me. I’m going to try hard to do so.
3. I suppose this is a good time for one of those “State of the Blog” things I write every once in a while. Today is the two-year anniversary of when Eric and I were up late, him in Brooklyn, me in Madison, and decided to make this Tumblr. This last month was maybe the most productive of my “professional” writing career; I went to Country USA, saw Neutral Milk Hotel, talked to scene kids at P4K, and saw Sugar Ray and Smash Mouth play my hometown for Noisey. I had to take two weeks off from writing anything at all because I wrote more words than I maybe ever had in such a truncated time. I’m going to try to do that more than once a year.
Meanwhile, this is the 448th record I’ve written about, and I’m looking at the stack of 30 other records I have piled up to listen to from my recent trip to the Yard Sale in Laurium, MI. I have some special things planned for this next batch, and I can’t wait to get back to writing about the music that makes up my life. It’s good to be back.
4. It is mid July, 2014, and I am searching for records alone, at Yard Sale in Laurium, MI. A starts texting me, wondering what I’m buying, because she knows, already, only a couple weeks into our relationship, that searching for records is how I spend a lot of my time, on vacation or not. I tell her about the Michael McDonald, about the country records I’ve found, and about Elton John’s Honky Chateau. It’s one of her favorites. She says she has to go back to work, and I say goodbye. I find the ABBA record the moment I put my phone away.