Feature Story

Hit Songs

Silver Slumbers
Agua de la Playa
Broken Wing

Fingering the piano chords of the "Long and Winding Road" into the bed sheets wasn't what stirred her, it was the moaning Frankenstien-esque vocals, which to me in my dream state seemed totally appropriate and in tune, but for her it meant an early morning wake-up call. What I noticed was a hand on my neck interrupting the performance somewhere near the end of the first verse as I was introducing a playful affectation on the line "...leads to your door" (much in the way I'd imagine Paul might do in an intimate live performance).

The probing hand was wondering if I was in some kind of aching pain which might result in such odd groaning sounds but I relieved the hand's apprehension when I mumbled "Winding Road" which the hand somehow understood and as the crowd had begun to chant I returned to the song after a laugh which reminded me of the 4 year old Japanese boy that I had been staying with recently. It must've seemed like the song was an encore to an intensive, sold-out concert performance because of the sweat pouring off my exposed, naked body but that was due in most part to the loss of the hand-me-down air conditioner which had belonged to the house's previous residents which gave out the day I returned from Japan.

The hand belonged to my long time partner (who would surely find it insulting to be called girlfriend due to the trivial and utterly lacking social definition of the term) and as she was aware that every moment of my life is accompanied by a mental soundtrack, a malady which I both appreciate and loath depending on the tune and the time of day, she got out of bed and left to get some coffee at the nearby cafe.

The performance ended with great applause and I somehow immediately ended up in a car discussing art and authors along with a musician who I just had seen perform the night before and actor Steve Martin who sat in the backseat as I drove us through the mountains of what appeared to be mid-coast Maine or the Berkshires. As I began to approach the subject of my own art the mountains quickly transformed to those of Kyoto and the conversation was interrupted this time by the electronic beats of MGMT's "Time to Pretend" which cued me to lean over and grab my iphone, sliding my finger across the digital lock and grumbling hello. The reply was a mix of sobs and panic which make me awake completely, grab last nights clothes, and quickly step out the door to my car.

This was her fifth or sixth accident, her second in recent months, and although I was aware of her atrocious driving ability, I was hoping she was not at fault because of her lack of finances, collision insurance, and total emotional instability. My driving was akin to a road test due to just hearing about her crash even with my still sleeping eyes and pulsing, jetlagged muscles.

I followed the trail of mangled glass, plastic, and metal to the local hairdresser's parking lot where I found a lanky, archaic man complete with a WWII battleship hat sitting beside a woodsy looking police officer and across the bench I saw the look of complete frenzy in her enormous, swollen eyes as tears rolled down her sunburned cheeks and 2-3 hairdressers in skimpy black uniforms attended to her lamentation. She looked at me and cried "Golden Slumbers" which was a reply to my ponderous curiosity some years back when I wondered what song might be my last if I were to get into a life-ending accident. Irony had it that the accident that nearly killed us both a few years back off the expressway ended with a cover version of "Blackbird" and the Beatles seem to be keeping up their calamitous streak with one more hit.

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—The JPG team

5 responses

  • Brian Betteridge

    Brian Betteridge said (4 Aug 2009):

    love the photos, very abstract and interesting.

  • Michael Adams

    Michael Adams gave props (4 Aug 2009):

    Very nice photos. The text is very cool. I have had a few of these moments with my wife and her accidents. The worse being when she was pregnant and me having to convince her to go to the hospital to get checked out. Good luck to both of you!

  • Kathy Needles

    Kathy Needles gave props (11 Aug 2009):

    No more Beatles in the car guys!

  • Frank Needles

    Frank Needles gave props (22 Aug 2009):


  • Rhonda Taylor

    Rhonda Taylor said (3 Sep 2009):

    I love the way you approached this story totally involving us in your thoughts, reactions and emotions rather than a monologue of what happened..great stuff. Maybe take the keys off your partner though..safer perhaps..lol

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