Jun 27, 2009

Jackson Browne's The Pretender, Slowing Life Down

357 years ago today, one of our earliest traffic laws was enacted in New Amsterdam (now New York City): "No wagons, carts, or sleighs shall be run, rode or driven at a gallop within this city."
Well ain't that some sort of high & mighty?
Laws such as that are precisely why Tom and I fled the city and settled into a small, rural town 18 years ago. We wanted property, wide open space free of oppressive civil restraints, and to be a part of a community, a small group of people with like interests. -

We dreamed of sunny days driving 5 mph in a 55 mph zone following a tractor, our windows rolled down, the scent of hay blowing through the car. We'd wave excitedly to our friend on the tractor, maybe even pull over and chat.
We found our litle town. We can ride our horses, wagons, golf carts, whatever around town without crossing any silly traffic laws. Our traffic laws protect against those gas powered automobiles that come flying through town. (If you're passing through, you better watch your speed. I'm just sayin.) -

When we were in college, we would listen to Jackson Browne's The Pretender repeatedly. It was an album, of course, not a tape or cd or itune. Just last night Tom learned to play The Pretender on the piano. As he played and sang for me, I thought of the long years since we devoured that song. I realized we have lived the song. But, we made it -- we are right where we always wanted to be. Life is good.
The Pretender:

I'm going to rent myself a house In the shade of the freeway. Gonna pack my lunch in the morning And go to work each day. And when the evening rolls around, I'll go on home and lay my body down. And when the morning light comes streaming in, I'll get up and do it again. Amen.
I want to know what became of the changes We waited for love to bring. Were they only the fitful dreams Of some greater awakening? I've been aware of the time going by, They say in the end it's the wink of an eye, When the morning light comes streaming in, You'll get up and do it again. Amen.
Caught between the longing for love And the struggle for the legal tender. Where the sirens sing and the church bells ring And the junk man pounds his fender. (Doug) Where the veterans dream of the fight, Fast asleep at the traffic light (you know who) And the children solemnly wait For the ice cream vendor. Out into the cool of the evening, Strolls the Pretender.He knows that all his hopes and dreams Begin and end there. Ah the laughter of the lovers As they run through the night, Leaving nothing for the others, But to choose off and fight,And tear at the world with all their might. While the ships bearing their dreams Sail out of sight.
I'm gonna find myself a girl Who can show me what laughter means. And we'll fill in the missing colors In each other's paint-by-number dreams. And then we'll put our dark glasses on And we'll make love until our strength is gone, And when the morning light comes streaming in, We'll get up and do it again.
I'm gonna be a happy idiot And struggle for the legal tender. Where the ads take aim and lay their claim To the heart and the soul of the spender. And believe in whatever may lie In those things that money can buy, where true love could have been a contender. Are you there? Say a prayer for the Pretender. Who started out so young and strong . . . Only to surrender.

1 comment:

The Seeker said...

Awesome, Val! I've got both of JB's (fairly-this decade) recent live "unplugged" CD's and they are just too much. Throws me back to high school days...way back there...