a few weeks ago ryan was watching an episode of the sopranos in which johnny thunders’ “you can’t put your arms around a memory” played over the closing credits. i knew the song; the verses were familiar and i could sing along with the chorus, but i couldn’t figure out where i’d heard it before. i thought it might have been from another tv show or a movie, so i checked around on the internet, but i never found anything. this sort of thing happens to me often; i have a good memory for the music itself but a less-than-impressive memory for where i first heard it.
recently i went to houston for a craft show. i’ve made the drive to houston and back quite often over the past few months and it’s starting to get pretty boring, so this time i brought some of my older cds for a change of pace. when choosing which ones to bring along i had to be really careful, because most of my older cds are too sad to listen to. a few of them are too sad because they remind me of the bad parts of my past, but most of them are too sad because they remind me of the good parts.
i’ve been having trouble with my past lately. as most of you know, i’m having a pretty rough time right now, and thinking about when things weren’t so rough depresses me in a way that nothing else does. i used to be in school but i’m not anymore. i used to be in therapy but i’m not anymore. i used to have a really close group of friends, but they all moved away and got engaged or married or found themselves a different really close group of friends. or they joined the navy or joined a band or got new jobs or went to other countries. some of them changed so much they didn’t make sense to me anymore. one of them disappeared altogether.
but things were good back then, with those people, and i miss it so much that it hurts to think about it. at the same time i can’t stop thinking about it. this, then, is why most of my cds from that time period are unlistenable.
so i chose carefully. i took the velvet underground, the velvet goldmine soundtrack, a warhol-themed compilation, odelay, exile in guyville, two luna albums, a mix cd from jonathan in 2002, and one of the three cds shaun made me in 2001. the second track on shaun’s cd was johnny thunders’ “you can’t put your arms around a memory.” which, of course, was where i’d first heard the song.
i listened to that song at least three times on the way to houston that day. shaun and i haven’t seen each other in awhile, but i know that Past Shaun was pretty smart and perceptive and knew me pretty well. maybe Past Shaun put “you can’t put your arms around a memory” on that cd so he could tell Future Alison to quit dwelling on the past.
duly noted, Past Shaun.
(this post would segue nicely into another one i had planned about how music is less important in my friendships than it used to be, but i probably won’t write it.)