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The lady from the GPS on my phone suggests I turn right onto Verde Vista, in a tone that reminds me of my grandfather: slightly southern, and with no knowledge of Spanish. verdeee vista.

The road is not very green but it is still beautiful. I appreciate it no matter how poorly named it was. But still, I drive on it to get somewhere else. This is not my final destination. This green road, this city. I’m not really sure where I’m going, my life doesn’t have a GPS lady telling me what to do. Other than myself. But we all seem to be going somewhere. And it’s best to keep moving, to keep driving down the green views. If you stop you might not ever make it to all the other beautiful places. If you wait, you might not be around for the next season, no matter how old or young you are. You might not ever get there, if your phone loses service somewhere in the middle of a roundabout and you keep circling until you run out of gas.

I’ll see you next time, he says, as you drive toward and then past. But there might not be a next time. The GPS lady in my head cannot be trusted, just like most other GPS ladies.

The boy at the mexican restaurant sets down chips and guacamole on the table, yells in Spanish to his coworker, grins at us and asks if we’d like water. He is beautiful. We leave and the air is warm, perfect, green, new, lovely.

“You are lovely,” he tells me, in another language I don’t understand.  There is no time to waste on people who aren’t wonderful.

My car is not green but I can imagine that it is. I have no idea where it and I will take me. The road is terrifying and beautiful and long and if you want to come with me, you can, but I’m not turning around for you.

He is sitting at the table raking his bonsai tree. I am standing in front of him, watching. This is what he does now. It is all that he does. He grooms this little tree. He sits at this table, small, white, boring. It’s fun, he says. He does not look up at me.

Sometimes music blares in the room. It’s good music. It makes him happy, as he sits very still and stares at the bonsai tree. I listen to his music. I search for some kind of meaning in it, because he is silent. Slowly the music is becoming more interesting than he is. I watch him; he does not look up at me.

The tree is alive but he is dying. I want to dump the thing on the floor, pull him away, throw a clock at him, kiss his face, make him stare into a sunset. Wake up. Stop this. It is such a little thing, it is not as big as you think it is. He stops listening to me.

It is getting worse and worse. The music is still playing, it still sounds nice, but it’s starting to make my head hurt. Too much of a good thing. Too much of this one thing. Not enough of the man behind the tree. He is lost in it. Somehow he is gone.

Finally, finally, finally, I am tired. I sing softly along with his song as I leave the room. He does not look at me, he does not look for me. Somehow he has died. The door shuts. Maybe I will see him again in the sunshine.

“…I work hard, do a lot of push-ups, a lot of sit-ups, get made fun of, sniff benzodiazepines–” He pushes one nostril closed with a finger.

“–Barry!”

“Hey, you asked. I wouldn’t tell just anybody this, you asked.” He’s pretty drunk. The overly-bent bill of his super-American baseball hat makes his thin horse-face look even thinner. I flick at the hat with my fingers.

“How often do you get your hair cut?”

“Every one-and-a-half-weeks,” he says, taking off the hat to show his ‘do.

“Wow.” The sides of his head are shaved, while the top is a bit longer. He’s got golden-brown hair under that hat, and a tattoo on his chest. And on his side. He shows me both after another beer.

“This is a wolf. And this is a quote from the bible.”

He asks me to dance with him, and I do, feeling it’s my duty as an American citizen. He is an Army man, after all.

He twirls me around a bit, and does some fancy twist with far too many moves for the amount of gin tonics I’ve had.

“Is this what you do, go out on the weekends and dance with girls?”

“I don’t know what a weekend is, anymore. I just have off days. And, no. Not really.”

He spins me again, and once I recover, I ask him more “meaningful” and “deep” questions about his life. About being in the Army. About how he likes Korea. About his hat.

At some point, later, after the dancing, I laugh to myself, thinking about how quickly I’ve become the English teacher who hangs out in the Westerner neighborhood, who drinks on Friday nights and dances with American Army dudes. Typical. Typical. Wonderful.

But it’s more than that. It’s the first moment we saw the group of “Army dudes” walk into the bar, forearm muscles out, baseball caps on. It’s how wrong we were, so quickly. It’s how all people, if you give them the chance, might just be good, interesting people in your life. Even if they wear sleeveless shirts.

1. Every time I get a text message, my heart beats a little faster because it might be from you. Or maybe that’s some weird medical condition? Hmm.

2. What would the world do if banana bread had never been invented? What would people do with all of their overripe bananas?!

3. Your goal shouldn’t be to save the world, just to help make it a little bit better. If we all do small things, big things will happen.

4. Don’t let people walk away – literally or figuratively or both – if you still have something to say to them! It sucks, and it’s going to suck more later, thinking back on it. Be strong in the moment and say it!

5. They probably love you back.

6. If you have a positive attitude about it, it’s more likely to happen.

7. Horoscopes may or may not be true, but they’re fun to read! Right? Leo and Cancer are made for each other this month! How cool is that?

8. If you’re doing something for the wrong reasons, other people will know that something’s not quite right.

9. Stop assuming that people who walk around looking unhappy are unhappy! Maybe that’s just the way their face is – it’s not your job to tell complete strangers to cheer up! “Smile!” Stop doing that! You’re just making them even more pissed, or, if they were perfectly OK to begin with, now you’ve went and made them angry!

10. If you’re unhappy with your life, maybe you just need to buy more pillows for your bed. Hey, it could work.

When I was 18 I went to my first concert ever. It was at this old church in Detroit that had been converted into a concert venue. I went with my friend and it was the coolest thing I had ever done and I immediately fell in love with live music. Who did I see that night? None other than the lovely man with a lovely voice:

Paolo Nutini

You might have heard of him – he has this one song, “New Shoes” that is in like 500 different movies and commercials. But, he’s more than that. His lovely scottish voice can be heard on two albums – and, yay, he’s making a third! Hopefully he comes back to the USA soon so I can again stand in the front row directly in front of him and the speakers and become temporarily deaf. Ah, the fond memories.

Now, on to the music!

When listening to this song I like to pretend he’s singing to me.

The lyrics in this are beautiful:

“And the children all smile as the boats suffle by them
Trying to pretend that they’ve got some space”

One more! Here’s a newer song.

 

Paolo’s music is the kind that will never go out of style, and you’ll never get tired of listening to. His lyrics are fantastic and his voice is unique and beautiful. Don’t you think?

 

Happy Monday!

 

Get you some pretty Paolo music here.

It’s Monday! A late Monday… but, still Monday.

“Monday” is sort of a bad word, isn’t it? Ugh, it’s Monday.

So, to help with the international Monday blues, I thought up

Good Music Monday

This catchy title has been bobbing around in my head for awhile, and on this lovely Monday night, I thought I’d add in a little good music. Oh, and I’m also going to use this opportunity to study up on my roman numerals.

So, without further ado…

Father John Misty

I found this guy mostly on accident. I’ve been a big fan of Dallas Clayton and his Poetry for a while now, and from him I stumbled on to Alexi Wasser and imboycrazy.com, a website which happened to feature a music video by the guy whose name is up there above, big and bold; I hope you didn’t miss  that.

His actual real name is Josh Tillman, who apparently was a member of the band Fleet Foxes before he began is FJM gig. I’d heard of Fleet Foxes before, but I had never listened to their music until I “discovered” Father John Misty. I was surprised to find that I didn’t like the music of the Fleet Foxes. It just wasn’t my style. Good thing Josh left the band (or whatever – I didn’t Google it), because Father John Misty, is, well, beautiful.

Aside from the fact that every time I say, “I’m listening to Father John Misty”, it sounds like I’m at a church service. Freaky. Man, I can dig it.

Ok, here, listen.

If you’ve got a spare 45 minutes, Father John Misty’s new album “fear fun” is avails to listen to entirely here via YouTube.

If not, here’s the song that got me hooked.

I think Father John Misty is a very interesting creature. His song “I’m Writing A Novel” makes me want to dance, “Everyman Needs a Companion” makes me curl into a ball and cuddle my Ipod, while with “Misty’s Nightmares 1 & 2”, I enjoy screaming along to “Gonna take my life back one day” as I drive to work at 5AM.

You can get some Misty for yourself here.

Go forth, and enjoy your Good Music Monday.

The man can howl.