Through Glass

A strange week, this one. A drastic departure from the routine that comes with the changing of seasons. We’ve had our first lingering snowfall here in NE Indiana, and the requisite two-hour delay. Schedules have been disrupted, replaced by frantic juggling of appointments, once confidently written ink, now crossed out, stacked and reshuffled, dealt anew. And the desire to write something . . . buried under glass. Visible, yet out of touch.

So I give you this . . .

There was once a day when I prided myself on being in step with pop culture. While I didn’t always embrace the latest trends or fashions, I knew what they were and could relate to those who chose to embrace them. I could recite the Top 10 Movies/Albums/Songs by heart, and engage in discussions about their relevance to our changing world. It sprang from my desire to add something germane to the conversations around me.

Now I’m older, and being on the cutting edge just doesn’t appeal to me much anymore. I let my subscription to Rolling Stone expire. I haven’t been to the theater since The Dark Knight, even though this is my favorite time of year for movies, when all the good ones come out. I’ve purchased a couple of recent bestsellers, but there they are, sitting on my desk, uncracked. There just isn’t enough time to keep up with the hip. Or perhaps digesting the hip just isn’t me anymore.

A fitting segue into this week’s song. The song that has been on repeat this entire week. In my car. On my phone. In my sleep.

Released in 2006.

Perhaps things speak to us when they’re meant to. Once their hip-ness has passed. Or become something more than hip. Become a lasting, undated, and poignant reminder. Some timeless message that means something, regardless of when it’s downloaded and assimilated.

That’s a lot of weight to place on a pop song. Especially an old one, by today’s standards, when things barely last Warhol’s fifteen minutes and then vanish into Wikipedia, leaving a murky film, becoming tomorrow’s dotsam and netsam.

This song weighs on me because of the season in which I have discovered it. A time when everything around us, those things most prominently on display, seem so real and important and necessary, and yet are manufactured to induce in us the tyranny of the urgent, a façade of lasting importance and eternal gratification that dissolves, breaks apart, in a fog of disappointment, by the time the new year dawns. With a vacant smile we embrace that which is presented to us, and then gasp in terror when it slips between our fingers no matter how hard we grip it.

Is this reality?

Today, I give you this song. Do with it what you will . . . as I sit here and try to figure out what’s real.

I’m looking at you through the glass,
don’t know how much time has passed.
Oh God it feels like forever,
no one ever tells you that forever
feels like home, sitting all alone inside your head

How do you feel? That is the question . . .
But I forget you don’t expect an easy answer.
When something like a soul becomes
initialized and folded up like paper dolls and little notes,
you can’t expect a bit of hope.
So while you’re outside looking in,
describing what you see,
Remember what you’re staring at is me.

I’m looking at you through the glass,
don’t know how much time has passed.
All I know is that it feels like forever.
and no one ever tells you that forever
feels like home, sitting all alone inside your head

How much is real? So much to question . . .
An epidemic of the mannequins
contaminating everything
we thought came from the heart,
but never did right from the start.
Just listen to the noises
(Null and void instead of voices)
Before you tell yourself
It’s just a different scene,
remember it’s just different from what you’ve seen.

I’m looking at you through the glass,
don’t know how much time has passed.
And all I know is that it feels like forever
but no one ever tells you that forever
Feels like home, sitting all alone inside your head

And it’s the stars
That shine for you.
And it’s the stars
That lie to you.

[photo credit]

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16 thoughts on “Through Glass

  1. Just FYI there’s no need to only buy the best selling books. I find much more consolation in walking into the library with no plan and picking a book off the shelf that has been there awhile. One that seems a little bit lonely. I don’t like to follow trends, that’s not fun because the story isn’t just yours.

  2. me neither, though I like the way the guests all morph into cardboard cutouts.

    I generally don’t like things that are popular. I prefer the obscure and offbeat but if i’m honest with myself it’s another form of elitism that justifies my distaste for the general public…..

  3. I used to do the same, trying to be on top of everything, always. Just to have an opinion, almost.

    As far as pop culture goes, once something interesting comes along, I learn EVERYTHING about it. This happens about once every other month. So, I am an expert on six things a year. Better than nothing.

    “dotsam and netsam” = brilliant.

  4. CDawgOwnd – The bestsellers I picked up include 1) The Story of Edgar Sawtelle, 2) The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, and 3) Stephen King’s latest collection of short stories. All are interesting to me, so I do plan to read them. But I am a philosophy and English major, so my shelves are lined with plenty of dusty tomes. My favorite place to hang in town is the used bookstore. You are right, there is nothing like picking up an old book just begging to be read.

    Gwen – I realized after I posted that I neglected to tell y’all that the song is called “Through Glass” and is performed by Stone Sour. It’s from their album “Come What(ever) May.” Sorry . . .

    Nursemyra – I love your elitist attitude. Makes for some truly original posts, my friend.

    Kitty – Yeah, but if I went that route, then I wouldn’t have a mountain of magazines in the corner of my bedroom . . .

    Rassles – So, what is your IT thing right now?

    Flutter – I’m only a whole season behind on Heroes. Haven’t watched an episode yet this season . . .

  5. I totally love the “dotsam and netsam”. YOU are so cool.

    The thing I always found annoying growing up is that some people thought you were uncool if you happened to really like the cool things. I’ve always been a mixture of both, I think. I’ll buy a bestseller if it appeals to me, but I’ll check out the didn’t sell $5 table, too.

    Why this song has hit you now, only you’ll be able to figure out, but one thing I truly believe is that everything old eventually becomes new again.

  6. I guess I’m lucky that I never did feel a need to be on top of things. I never knew what the top songs were or even recognized the name of the artist when I heard it. I was still stuck on the classic rock songs that my older brothers used to listen to (Beatles and ‘Stones). I had to find them on “oldies” stations. So any music that came out after the late sixties and early seventies, is pretty much unknown to me. I so recognize some music that my kids listened to but not too often any more, now that they’re out of the house and I don’t hear their stuff any more.

    I think we get to a certain age, or a certain point in our lives, when we realize that there are more important things in life than being hip and with it. And the world goes on without us. I think you’ve reached that point.

    BTW, I really did not care for the Edgar Sawtelle book. I thought it was a waste of the little money I do have.

  7. I wish I could claim the words “dotsam” and “netsam” as my own, but alas I cannot. I saw them in an article about blogs, both used to describe the millions of blog posts left to linger in cyberspace as more and more people abandon blogging. They are cool words, however.

    Angel – You are now officially in my reader. Before, for some reason, Google would not recognize your blog host as providing an appropriate feed. But I guess that’s been fixed, for I was able to add you with no problems this morning. Yea!!!

    CDawg – I’m several pages into The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, and so far, it’s not too bad. I read many reviews that said it was slow setting up the characters, but that things got rolling nicely later on. I’m still waiting . . . but I will read it.

    Corina – But . . . um . . . Oprah? . . . Co’mon! It has to be good . . .

  8. I don’t know that song, but I know the feeling of slowly slipping away from whatever modicum of “cool” I ever had. I move into my late 30’s this week and I’m reminded on a daily basis, teaching college kids, that I’m no longer even approaching hip. Oh well. Not that bothered either.

  9. Beautiful writing and what you had to say really resonated with me. Thanks.

    If it’s any consolation to you, I think as we get older, the need to conform or belong to a group looses it’s appeal. After all, the need to belong is very strong in the weak.

    Nowadays, I like to imagine I’m the hippest thing in my own little world and what the rest likes doesn’t really matter all that much to me any more.

    Having said that, I’d say most of the really good things in life that I’ve come across have been introduced to me by others; as in friends. I just don’t think what the mainstream media wants to foist upon us as cool is all that interesting.

    If you ever get the chance, check out the PBS documentary, “The manufacturing of cool”

  10. cdv1971 – Happy birthday, you young whippersnapper! Thanks for chiming in . . .

    Razz – Good to “see” you again here at The Cheek. I searched for the documentary you mentioned and couldn’t find much, even at the PBS website. I found a mention of the video on a forum, but very little else. Even my local library, which usually carries lots of stuff like this, didn’t have it. They are going to try and track it down for me. But in all my searching, I did find a book written in the late 90s titled “Commodify Your Dissent,” a collection of essays from The Baffler edited by Matt Weiland. The bottom line? “When the media markets rebellion, it becomes just another consumer choice.” This quote hit me, especially as it relates to the particular song I posted. When rebelling against the ills of society becomes “cool,” then rebels are no longer truly rebellious but simply consumers. Great . . . more stuff to think about . . .

  11. My thing right now? The Founding Fathers. Yeah, dork. I’m reading 1776 by David McCullough–it is amazing. Drinking only Sam Adams. Oh, and I just bought a copy of the Federalist Papers, which should be fun to read like a novel.

    Jules Archer, who is one of my favorite non-fiction historical authors, passed away on November 13, so now I’m going on this crazy history kick. Because I am ridiculous.

    And I’m also obsessed with Battlestar Galactica.

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