I can’t explain why I started crying when Jackson Browne’s “The Load Out” came on my Spotify. Friday was the last day of my first full week of working from home (or “WFH” in my company’s shorthand – honestly, it took me a while not to see that as something naughty) and it’s going OK so far. For me, anyway.
We’re under a shelter-in-place order. All “non-essential” businesses are closed. We’re to stay home except for absolutely essential errands, like picking up medicine or groceries. Most people in my community were already voluntarily practicing social distancing. But elsewhere, there were still the people who think they’re invincible, and don’t consider the impact their non-compliance could have on others. The Governor of Florida left it up to local officials to close beaches, and only announced that “the party’s over” on Thursday. He still didn’t issue a statewide order to close beaches, but he did finally close bars. Somewhere along in there, the mayor of Miami and a senator from Florida both tested positive for COVID-19.
The poster child for hubris is going to be the kid who was quoted as saying, “If I get corona, I get corona. It’s not going to stop me from partying.” Well, you do that, dearie, if you want your Grandparents’ last words to you to be, “you killed us, you selfish little punk.”
Meanwhile, back at the the Ridiculous residence, I grew bored with my classical radio (and it takes a LOT to bore me with classical music) and a little too lulled by “Lute Music for Alchemists” on Spotify. So I clicked on an Eagle’s playlist.
The days of my youth rushed back – songs I played over and over without ever getting bored. I lived and breathed Jackson Browne, Linda Ronstadt, Dan Fogelberg, Emmylou Harris and the Eagles back then.
“The Load Out” is a song about what happens after the concert – when “the roadies take the stage” to pack up and get the band and the equipment moving toward the next show.
Some lines in the last verse go,
“People you got the power over what we do
You can sit there and wait, or you can pull us through…
The song moves right into “Stay,” with David Lindley coming out from behind his hair long enough to sing in falsetto, just like the original by Maurice Williams and the Zodiacs. Look it up.
Over the years, I’ve thought about that last verse. I’ve even imagined that it’s possible Jackson wrote it partly because of me.
Allow me to explain.
When I was in high school, I somehow scored third row seats for a Jackson Browne concert. I took my friend Mich (you remember this, Mich, I’m sure) and we sat there, two self-conscious teenage girls, mesmerized, unmoving and not singing along, through the whole concert. In our defense, the entire crowd was pretty subdued at a venue that was notoriously strict with rock acts. But we were paralyzed by proximity to the real, live Jackson Browne (look at that hair!) The YouTube version up there is from 1978, probably just a year or two after we attended that concert. I spent a good part of high school trying to belt a verse of “Stay” like that amazing background singer. Wish I knew her name.
I haven’t been to a concert since without making a jackass of myself singing along, loudly, often in harmony. In three decades, I’ve only run into one band that seemed to disapprove. (click on “singalong). Oddly, it was an Eagles tribute band.
Yesterday, I started bawling on the line “just be sure you’ve got it all set to go, before you come for my piano…” That sent me right into the wayback machine.
I spent hours at the keyboard as a teenager, wailing songs by all the above listed ’70s artists. But now, Angelic Daughter can’t take it. She wants to sing by herself. Sometimes, in the car, I get away with harmonizing with her on “Brave.” We sound great together.
Maybe it was something about being stuck at home, unable to let off steam by singing and playing some of those oldies. Or maybe it was just knowing that I probably wouldn’t remember how to play them anymore, anyway.
HA! “The Load Out” just started on my Spotify daily mix. Cue lump in throat.
I believe in positive thinking. I believe in the force of will. So I’ve prepared a new “27 Things” list about what I like about working from home.
Grateful that I woke up this morning, and sending positive thoughts to you, to health care workers, to everyone who has lost a job and to every essential worker still going to theirs, I remain,
Your nostalgic, (quietly) ’70s singing,