There are certain albums that are the comfy ancient levis jeans of my listening habits. My nerves frazzled to within an inch of giving up on me entirely, my head hurting with a stress headache, I need to blur out the yelps from the street tent encampment and the shouts and bangs from some of the other MALE residents here. None of the women here cause issues, they just don’t. They talk about “being in this together” and offer air hugs. Then men get hyped up and start banging and smashing and shouting and fucking whoever they drag to their rooms (where ARE the children?), the men smuggle in margaritas, us women are just trying to survive with our family’s intact. Not all men. Man, it gets tiring saying that. No, not all men. There are good male residents. Why are some men so fragile about women’s reaction to the men that are not “good” that hurt and intimidate and harass and rape?
These are days for things which make a statement, things which comfort in their familiarity. Songs to survive to. I have Let it Bleed on right now. The guitar player is wasted, Jagger is at his swaggery best. The music is deep southern rhythm and blues by way of London, England, but more than that it is familiar and comforting. You can blast out The Stones and it says “I am not broken. I am alive!” Earlier on I played Transformer end to end, Lou Reed’s voice and mannerisms so familiar, having been through a lifetime with me, that I felt like I had invited a friend over for a chat. The choir is singing to me about not getting what I want, but not what I need. I’m not so sure about that one, boys. The drugstore is outside my window, and this is not the Chelsea Hotel, this is the ‘Loin. In the room next to me a man is winding himself up into paroxyms of rage, beating on doors and walls. I can’t take much more. I want him to stop. He has to stop. I need him to stop. I need him out of here, away from me, I need to feel safer than this. I am not going to get what I want or need.
I look for Asian Lives Matter marches to go on with the Boy, trying to show him the community has his back, as we have theirs in return, that he is not alone. There is nothing really happening. He insists he doesn’t want to protest. He says it is too dangerous, people might want to hurt him. I can’t tell you how sad that makes me. I’m too tired for anger today, I am just sad.
People always tell me I am strong. I’m not strong, I’m bloody minded. There is no way I am letting life beat on us again and again. I will not give up without a fight.
It’s the Boy’s turn to put on music of his choice. He chooses Wish You Were Here, by Pink Floyd. Shine on You Crazy Diamond. He likes Roger Waters. In the absence of male family, he has his musical heroes. Uncle Thom Yorke, Uncle Roger Waters. I am Team Roger in the whole Pink Floyd band break up mess. The Floyd would have not been what they were without Roger pulling them out of whimsy (apples and oranges, anyone? It’s a good song, but it is no Shine on you crazy diamond) and into experimental genius. An elegy for the still living, the longing poignant drip dropping of Gilmour’s guitar, the album is pure genius, and not one I can ever listen to comfortably. As David sings “how I wish you were here…” I think about people I have lost, and my heart breaks. As hard as this is, as scared as I am nowadays, how I wish they were here.