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May 15, 2016 / thackersam

Harmony & Drear

We went through such a bleak streak the week before last, which I would swear started the week before that. It was miserable, one day after another, grey, dank, dreary days and nights. I was miserable. Inside and out. And unmotivated. I had to make sure that I at least did my Sunday workout, which I did, but not much more than that, of anything – exercise, music, writing. I knew I was in a foul mood, at times so low I feared sinking into depression. Then last Sunday, after the sun had come out two days in a row, I found myself walking home from errands with a smile on my face. Literally. It was a big toothy smile that had grown bigger as I realized why I was smiling and why I had been in such an ill frame of mind. People looked at me as if I were goofy. I was goofy, and glad to be so. I stopped at McDonalds for a large dollar coffee, the best deal in NYC, got some writing done and gave a couple of bucks to two separate homeless guys (so they said, believably) and actually made small talk with both. That’s how good the sun is. Plus, the technician who performed my ultrasound on Tuesday said that she had been feeling the same way, so it is nice to know that I am not the only kook affected to such an extreme by extended drear.

Even though I got back to working out four times this week, I’ve broken the usual routine on days other than Sunday. I mentioned before that I had killed the Ex’s Linda Ronstadt CD. A lovely friend offered to replace it with one from his very own collection right after I posted the blog that night, however I had already found the same CD in the $4.99 rack at my local Barnes and Noble. And this one has a case with song and artist listings, unlike the ziplock sandwich bag that the Ex’s collection came in. So, instead of playing the first three songs of Ronstadt’s Heart Like A Wheel, and shrieking along to “Faithless Love,” I play three songs off of the best of CD – “Silver Threads and Golden Needles,” her version of The Eagles’ “Desperado,” and of course that song that embodies that high school angst and heartache of having a freakin’ wicked crush, “Long, Long Time.” Talk about shrieking along, and doing so with that little catch in your throat as you reminisce about that dufus who you thought you just couldn’t live without.

And back to me. I find I can only listen to those songs now as some of the others are striking me as kind of stupid or too commercial. “Love is a rose so you better not pick it. It only grows when it’s on the vine.” Huh? Neil Young wrote that. And I used to love “Love Has No Pride.” If not for her stirring rendition of the song, it would just be some sappy story of some pathetic, weak-willed sister. Regardless of it being a masterpiece in Ronstadt’s voice, I am irked by the humiliation, and can no longer suffer through it.

Those that I find commercial are the ones like Buddy Holly’s “That’ll Be The Day,” and Smokey Robinson’s “Tracks Of My Tears.” Great songs, but not for Ronstadt. She doesn’t come remotely close to making them hers. I think I covered this CD before, so the review is unnecessary, but I do love writing about Linda Ronstadt. I don’t think people realize that as successful as she was, she took chances by stepping out of what must have been a comfort zone of success, doing Broadway, singing the songs of her Mexican roots, and collaborating with other artists of non-pop genres. Not to mention dating the governor of California. She’s inspiring. I would have loved to see and hear what she would have done in her later years – loved to have seen her sing with EmmyLou Harris and Dolly Parton again, if her beautiful and powerful voice hadn’t been robbed from her by Parkinson’s Disease. At least that’s what she says. I’ll bet, and hope, that as bad as her voice may have gotten, she can still shriek out her old songs better than I can.

BTW – About once a month I take the train, whichever one happens to be running because the MTA likes to shut down half the train lines on weekends, to Brooklyn Heights to buy Max food, and have lunch at this fantastically inexpensive vegetarian Chinese restaurant that from its location one flight up has an entertaining view of the street. Yesterday, a lovely sunny day that clouded up a bit, the place was packed. And, it appeared that only the regular waitress was taking care of everything but the cooking. There was no cashier (on vacation, she explained) and not until after 2:30 (I’d been there since 1) was there someone to even help her clear tables and fill water glasses. Still, she served, took table and take-out orders, answered the phone, found the credit card a man had left there the night before, stepped over the baby dragging a pocketbook around the floor, stooped to pick up somebodies sunglasses and laughed at one of my jokes. She remained unfrazzled and pleasant. Lunch specials at are $6.43 plus tax, come with soup, but I recommend springing for the salad instead for a dollar extra. Tea is not free and you need to purchase a pot if you want one, which I do, but I have noticed that many people opt for their smoothies. Their black bean sauce is wonderfully tangy. Oh, and overtip the waitress.

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