Friday, July 27, 2007

28 years later . . . .

About 28 years ago, 1979 give or take, I was living in Pullman, ostensibly attending Wazzu but really doing most of my learning outside the classroom. I was djing a campus radio show - I can't remember what kind of music, probably just a mix of pop. The guy who was on before me played a lot of 60s and 70s folk rock, you know, Fairport Convention, John Lennon, Dan Hicks, Grateful Dead and Joni Mitchell. I had never heard of her. I mean, I recognized some of her hits but I wasn't a Joni zealot -- yet. The guy let me play some of his albums on my show, and within weeks we were swapping music and life stories - stories of our lives up until that point, of course. I was all of 21. The guy became my very good friend and sometime lover George C.

George was from New York and had that great accent that makes a guy sound seasoned, jaded even. He was (is) really smart and thoughtful and interested in what I had to say. We'd spend rainy afternoons reading to ourselves or each other, drinking chamomile tea, listening to Colin Blunstone or John and Yoko's "Double Fantasy" and Joni Mitchell. "For the Roses" echoed my youthful introspection and insecurity and we'd set the record player to repeat so it played over and over and over and over. John Lennon hadn't been killed yet. I hadn't begun to see the inequities and atrocities of the world yet. But just because the scales hadn't fallen from my eyes doesn't mean there wasn't any pain. Of course there was, like when I almost slept with his best friend at what I thought was his approval. That was a year later and George played me like a yo-yo, wanting me one day then repulsed by me the next.

At my summer job that year, working in one of the academic offices, included making copies of assignments and tests on a mimeograph machine. Remember that smell? I don't remember if I had recording capabilities, whether I was able to make copies of George's records or not, but I know I bought several of those albums for my own music collection. Twenty-eight years later, maybe even to the day, I just burned a copy of my new cd of Joni's "For the Roses" for a fellow Joni zealot, whose birthday is today.

Of course, now I can Google "joni mitchell for the roses," upload an image of the album cover, get the lyrics, buy it with a couple clicks and have it shipped to me or to anyone else in the world. Maybe I should send it to George.

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