it’s cryin’ time again

It’s hard for me to cry.  This is probably due to my daily dose of SSRI, which keeps me from falling into the bottomless pit of depression, but also seems to keep me from feeling normal sadness also.  The last time I boo-hooed was a few weeks ago when Ken woke me up on a Sunday morning to ask me to go to a graveside service with him for his nephew’s stillborn twins, which is a pretty sad event.  His nephew’s wife had been pregnant with triplets, but only one of them made it.  The event actually happened about 3 weeks prior to that and the babies had already been cremated and interred, so everyone had had a chance to grieve and feel their own sadness about it.  At this point we were all just happy to focus on the surviving baby.  So you probably think I became teary about the thought of attending a short service for the babies, because babies just shouldn’t die.  No, the reason I had my crying jag was because Ken had sprung this 90 mile drive to Topeka on me a mere hour before we had to leave the house.  I was in bed, barely awake, being woken up from a sound sleep and given a task, while not impossible at all, was what I would consider a mini-marathon.  The following things went through my mind as I lay in bed:  Get up, shower, make coffee, wash hair, decide what to wear (never an easy thing), dry hair and attempt to make it look presentable, get dressed, drink coffee and suck down a couple of cigarettes.  The sobbing occurred in the shower, with me in full self-pity mode, feeling terribly put-upon and misunderstood.  Somehow it’s easier to cry for myself than it is for other things – like genocide or world hunger or Hallmark commercials. I’m not sure if that makes me normally self-centered or just plain self-centered, and I’m almost afraid to ask other people about what makes them cry and their personal crying frequency for fear that I’ll discover I’m abnormally self-centered.   Anyway, now you know something about me that probably would be best sent as an anonymous postcard to Post Secret.

The only other thing that can easily make me tear up is music.  Something about the magical combination of lyrics and melody of certain songs just kills me.  At one time, it was that sappy Titanic theme song that Celine Dion sang.  Another time I always teared up whenever I played Ella Fitzgerald singing Cole Porter’s Someone to Watch Over Me.  Today it was a song by Richard Shindell called Transit, which I actually listened to twice.  I’ve always adored this song, but today it really did a number on me.  Here are the lyrics, but I really think it’s the melody that makes the whole thing work so well.

Transit

from the album Courier

The merge from the turnpike was murder, but it’s never a cinch
It was Friday at five, and no one was giving an inch
They squeezed and the edged and they glared
Half them clearly impaired by rage or exhaustion
The rest were just touchy as hell

Somewhere near Paterson everything slowed to a crawl
The all-news station was thanking someone for the call
It’s a van from St. Agnes’s choir
There’s a nun out there changing a tire
By the time they got by her, tempers were out of control

So they all hit the gas in a dash for position
Bobbing and weaving and flashing their highbeams
Flipping the bird and screaming obscenities
A well-insured hoard hell-bent on Saturday

And so they continued west-bound and into the sun
Law and decorum constraining nary a one
By then it was devil-may-care
Not one even vaguely aware
That they had come all the way to the Delaware Water Gap

But how had it happened? They had all missed their exits
How had it happened? Was it some kind of vortex?
And in they all went, bumper to bumper
Faster and faster, no sign of a trooper
In they all went, like sheep to the slaughter
Bankers and carpenters, doctors and lawyers
And in they all went, families in minivans
Ashcroft republicans, weekend militiamen
They followed the river, and rounded the bend
Between Minsi and Tammany and into their destiny
Lying in ambush right their before them
The angry old sun right on the horizon

Sister Maria tightened the bolts of the spare
She said a quick prayer and put the old van into gear
Thank God that the traffic was light
If she hurried she might not be late
For that evening’s performance at the state penitentiary

She entered the common room and their was her choir
Altos and baritones, basses and tenors
Car thieves and crack dealers, mobsters and murderers
Husbands and sons, fathers and brothers
And so it began in glorious harmony
Softly and Tenderly – calling for you and me
With the interstate whining way off in the distance
And the sun going down through the bars of the prison
They poured out their souls, they poured out their memories
They poured out their hopes for what’s left of eternity
To sister Maria – her soul like a prism
For the light of forgiveness on all of their faces

And to think this made an atheist like me cry.  Is it possible that Observant really does have a heart?  Anyway, if you like folky music, check this guy out.  He’s one of my all time faves.

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5 Responses to “it’s cryin’ time again”


  1. 1 speckledbiter May 3, 2007 at 10:07 pm

    We all get there in the dark…kudos to you for 1) Knowing how you feel 2) saying how you really feel 2) doing your best to get through it.
    I am always a sucker for sad songs!

  2. 2 prisonmike May 4, 2007 at 8:39 am

    Music has always been the great tear motivator for me as well. Many Ella songs can do it, but STWOM is probably my favorite. Ella conveys such emotion and you realize at the same time her personal life was not a happy one. Oddly, Joni Mitchell’s The Circle Game never fails either. There, I’ve said it. I’m man enough to admit I wept openly. Although it’s a manly sort of crying. Not that hysterical vapor locking kind of crying that you see little kids do. Mine is like that Native American guy in that 1970’s PSA about littering. One single tear slowly descending the cheek.
    BTW, last night’s episode was one of the funniest single episodes I’ve ever witnessed. Do you have a women’s bathroom like that at your office?

  3. 3 observantbystander May 4, 2007 at 10:35 am

    I only wish I had a couple of couches in my bathroom. It’s got a tasteful wallpaper border and a scented candle though. And some Contractor magazines. And air freshener. And I keep a lipstick in there too. The shop guys aren’t allowed in my bathroom. They have their own bathroom with their own nasty urinal.

    I loved it last night when Michael admitted he wasn’t comfortable wearing the schoolgirl outfit for Jan. Classic Michael! And Dwight was great. We laughed our asses off.

    OK, I give up. What song is STWOM? I’m drawing a complete blank here.

  4. 4 prisonmike May 4, 2007 at 11:01 am

    Initials dyslexia. STWOM. Someone To Watch Over Me. Her entire Gerswhin songbook is excellent.

  5. 5 observantbystander May 4, 2007 at 7:10 pm

    Duh. And I typed it out even. And a Gershwin, not a Cole Porter. My bad.


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