on amy grant and the subversive powers of nostalgia

i’ve touched on here before about how much i like amy grant. i want to talk about that some more now.

when i hear old amy grant tunes like baby baby, every heartbeat, that’s what love is for, and good for me, i feel awesome. it’s not just the superb pop songwriting, charming vocals, and oh-so-80’s-but-not-ridiculous production, though. part of the appeal is that it reminds me of being a kid — an 11 year old kid, to be precise.

(yup, i’ve posted this video on my blog before and i know that’s lame but i don’t care. it’s one of my favourite songs of all time and i think it deserves more careful consideration. so check it out again and enlighten your dumb selves, you clods. pay special attention to the synth solo that starts at 2:22 and the chord progression behind it. they’re fascinating, especially in the context of a massive pop hit.)

tonight i got to wondering why this particular nostalgia feels so good to me, what is so special about that period of my life. i realized that this song, and amy grant in general, reminds me of my grade 5 crush on diane lamoureux. sure, that’s a pleasant memory, but let’s go deeper — why is that crush such a pleasant memory?

i think there are a few factors at play here but the most important are these: first, in my ignorant 11 year old imagination, i pictured diane and myself together in perfect harmony, and with that, everything would be right in the world. we’d be happy and do fun stuff together and hold hands and every day would be a sunny summer vacation. i pictured it being 100% bliss, and i believed it really might happen like that. like a lot of other 11 year olds, i wasn’t aware of the fact that relationships are hell: there are arguments, deception, disillusionment — normal relationship stuff that every adult is innately conscious of. i had a hyper-simplified, delusional impression of what love and relationships were like. but you know what? though my impression of how things would go was deeply flawed, it felt amazing. it was pure ecstasy to think of what might be between diane and me.

the other important factor is that nothing ever ruined my fantasy. she never told me i smelled bad or that she didn’t like me that way, i never saw her hold hands with someone else and break my heart. the school year simply ended, we went our separate ways, i never saw her again, and i more or less forgot about her. it was the perfect ending, like something out of the wonder years.


one of my fave stories of the whole series, actually.

in a nutshell, my crush on diane lamoureux was the perfect childhood crush. and now that i have more life experience and know love isn’t like i envisioned it as a kid, it’s impossible for me to recapture the incredible, innocent joy that crush gave me…until i listen to amy grant, that is. then the grade 5 feeling comes flooding back, and it feels just as good now as it did then.

and that’s why i think i have such a strong reaction to ms. grant’s old pop songs. yup, they’re genuinely fantastic and deserving of much praise all on their own, but when you couple that stuff with the inimitable, blissful ignorance of young love, they conjure up a feeling that is well nigh impossible to beat.

i love digging, getting to know myself better.


hello me, meet the real me.

for the record, i don’t even know how well i knew diane lamoureux. i can’t remember if we hung out or even talked much, and i have no reason to believe she reciprocated my fondness at all. i think the whole romance was very likely nothing more than a fantasy within my tiny 11 year old mind. not that it matters. my recollection of it still feels good and that’s what counts.


let’s do something together apart

there’s an old couple i often see in my neighbourhood. they go for walks together a lot but they are always at least 20 ft apart. i don’t think i’ve ever seen them within what i consider a ‘normal’ couple range, and i don’t understand what the hell they’re doing. do they hate each other? does one simply walk faster or slower than the other? do they ever talk about why they do this, or how weird it is? why not go for walks on their own instead of perpetuating this twisted charade?


it’s a grim day when a piece of shit like this is the best image i can find to illustrate my point. maybe i need to take a sabbatical.

i’m fascinated/horrified by this couple because i think they probably loathe each other’s company and only go for walks together out of some awful sense of obligation. i hope i’m wrong but if i had to bet on it, that’s what i’d put money on.

and just this last week, i saw something similar but even more sad. it was another old couple going for a walk far apart from each other, but the lady looked deathly ill — she was emaciated, frail, pale, and used a few canes to steady herself. it looked like she is probably dying of cancer, and not far from the end. she was trailing well behind her partner who appeared to have no time to wait for such a poor, wretched creature. he was up ahead and looked annoyed.

the first example bothers me but the second example REALLY bothers me. i know i can be a miserable bastard much of the time but i’m pretty confident i won’t ever walk a good 25 ft ahead of jenn, even if she is sick as fuck and i want to get the damn walk over with so i can get back to judge judy or whatever it is these old pricks are in such a hurry for. call me a dandy but i actually like walking with my wife. i even like holding her hand, despite her repeated protests.

call me a militant romantic, i suppose.

adults suck at friendship

i had an interesting conversation with someone at a party the other night. they were saying how they have friends that they have largely stopped hanging out with because of their different parenting styles. they were lamenting how hard it is to maintain friendships as adults when seemingly insignificant things, like parenting styles, end up affecting the friendships.

i agree with this person. i’ve noticed similar things, like how politics in particular really affect friendships, and i hate it. when i was a kid, all i needed to be pals with someone was a single mutual interest — transformers, building forts, super nintendo, whatever. back then, we just didn’t care about big, heavy issues or what the other person thought about those issues, and that made friendship way easier. ignorance really was bliss.


my god, life was good then.

that’s sad. it sucks that our adult friendships are so fragile, so tenuous, and it sucks that we are so lousy at accepting differences among our friends. i wonder why this is. is it reasonable, should i be ok with it? were childhood friendships easier because we were simpler creatures then? are adult friendships emotionally deeper and more complex than just a partner to play lego with? do we need people we relate or connect to on more levels in order for that deeper, more complex relationship to endure? or are we just really insecure and petty, needing to surround ourselves with ‘yes men’ who will nod and say “i agree 100%” with everything we say?

probably a bit of all those things. i suppose it makes sense but it still makes me feel like a small person.

a tangled web

it’s been a while since i complained about a news article but i just found one that got me going.

a couple in halifax was engaged but didn’t see eye to eye on the wedding planning — he wanted something cheaper, she wanted something more expensive — so the guy postponed the wedding. in response, the woman ended the relationship altogether.

then they went to court to fight over who got to keep the $19,000 engagement ring. there were texts of him telling her she could keep the ring but i guess he hadn’t meant it, or maybe he had a change of heart. she said she just wanted to sell the ring to pay off debt incurred from planning the wedding. but then she claimed bankruptcy, so neither of them get the ring — the bank gets it.

what a disaster, and what a perfect example of how petty and cruel human beings can be, even to the people we claim to love and cherish the most. it’s a good thing these clowns didn’t actually tie the knot.

my problems with this story are:

  1. a couple not being able to come to a compromise on wedding plans, and ultimately breaking up over them, is absolutely pathetic.
  2. both people going into debt just planning a wedding — not even getting to the wedding itself — is also pathetic.
  3. spending $19,000 on a ring is beyond pathetic. not to mention that the diamond industry is horrific in its treatment of workers and the environment, and carefully controls their own market to inflate prices ridiculously. every sensible person should boycott diamonds.
  4. despite their apparent dire financial straits, the couple managed at one point to afford a trip to mexico together for which the small claims adjudicator ordered the woman pay her ex back $3000. i can’t believe that a financially strapped couple would drop this kind of money on a vacation.

it’s all so depressing. i hate seeing evidence that these kind of people really do exist. i mean, i bitch about them all the time but i rarely see this kind of detailed evidence of them so this is a real mindfuck. did i mention he has his full name tattooed on his left bicep along with the words “reign” and “journey” in a crossword puzzle style? i’m not sure if those are the terrible names he picked for his poor, unfortunate children, or if they’re merely words the big cornball finds inspirational. he also has numerous other lame inspirational tattoos that mention dedication and being strong and have lots of ellipses. why do people overuse ellipses so much now, anyway? what a fucking ghastly trend that is.

man, there’s a lot to hate about this one little news story.


the unhappy couple themselves. what a surprise that a competitive bodybuilder would turn out to be crazy. i’m referring to her here, of course — some people seem to be confused about that, although i think it’s perfectly obvious.


breakup text

today i saw a pal i hadn’t seen in a long time, maybe a year or two. we filled each other in on our juiciest gossip, and she mentioned she had dated a few guys and been dumped by both of them via text. not surprisingly, she wasn’t thrilled about this. most people i know think breakup texts are the height of cowardice, but i actually like them.

here’s why: breakups suck, and if it’s going to happen, i just want to get to the meat and potatoes of the conversation and then have some time to process how i feel about it before we bother delving into it any further. ideally, the text conversation would go something like this:

you: hey i don’t think we should see each other any more. you’re too needy, surly, depressing, covered in fungus, you eat with your mouth open, etc.

me: ok no sweat. i’ll stop by after picking up groceries to kill you later tonight

what more needs to be said? i think both people will be dealing with some complex and conflicting emotions after that exchange so why not mull it over for a few days, and then possibly have a phone or email conversation to talk about the details? i’d rather do that than break up in person at starbucks and bawl my eyes out in front of a bunch of people or have anyone bawl their eyes out in front of me. i don’t want to share those hyper-emotional, tedious, embarrassing moments with anyone.

i also don’t want to have to rub anyone’s back and give them some bullshit pep talk about how it’s not you, it’s me, and i sure as hell don’t want them to do that to me. plus it’s too easy to indulge our emotional selves then and ask pointless questions like why? and say stupid things like i pictured us getting a dog together but i guess that’s never going to happen now. most of that stuff doesn’t need to be said at all, and the stuff that does need to be talked about should be done when you are both able do so without yelling, blubbering, moaning incoherently, etc.

phone call breakups are ok but i have some of the same problems with them as in-person ones. there are still too many opportunities to drag out the breakup conversation and make it more excruciating. at least you can do it from the comfort of your respective homes, and one of you can easily bail on the conversation and hang up at any time if it’s getting too agonizingly tiresome, but i’d still prefer a text or email any day.

i know most people feel like partners “owe it to them” to break up with them face to face, but i don’t understand exactly what is supposedly owed. maybe they want the dumper to have to witness the emotional turmoil they are causing, or to support the dumpee as they wrestle with the things they are feeling. i don’t care about either of those things. breakups generally aren’t done out of spite or malice so i don’t think anyone should feel repentant about hurting the other one’s feelings. supporting the dumpee makes the most sense to me but i still don’t relate to it. if i’m going to sob like a poopie diaper baby, i want to do it alone in the comfort of my damp, sparsely-decorated basement suite, and i wish other people felt that way too. people should be ashamed of their ugly crying faces.

it seems that what this boils down to is that a) i like to be alone during intensely emotional times, and b) i lack sympathy.

i’m fine with both of those.


is this going to take much longer? i told the guys i’d meet them for wings at 6.

fair weather lover

i used to be a real fair weather lover/partner/boyfriend/spouse, whatever you want to call it. i would jump ship from a relationship at the first sign of difficulty. my routine was to start dating some chick, have a great time with them in the honeymoon phase, eventually run into some annoying minor disagreement with them, break it off, and then meet someone else and start the cycle all over again.

it took a long time before i realized that every relationship, no matter how good, has its own issues that require effort to work through. obviously not all of my girlfriends would have been suitable for the long haul — good grief, in some cases one of us would have wound up dead by now — but my point is that compromise is hard. swallowing your pride, admitting you’re wrong, and apologizing can be hard. accepting ‘sorry’ when someone else fucks up can be hard. and there are always going to be disagreements, stupid arguments, little things two people will butt heads over. i think it takes a lot of emotional strength and integrity to accept or work through all that stuff and maintain a healthy relationship.

but this is where it gets tricky. if i were not already with someone who is worth shutting my fucking mouth for occasionally, how would i know if someone else was worth it? say i was dating some chick and things were mostly good but she was kind of weird or bitchy or arrogant or whatever sometimes — would she be worth the effort to look past that stuff, or would it be futile and ultimately doomed? how would i know if or when to give up and pull the plug? how many and what kind of flaws would be acceptable? thinking about that kind of stuff makes me really grateful that i learned this lesson right around the time i met jenn. i can’t imagine the mental struggle of finding a good match who had a few serious flaws, someone who really straddled the suitable/unsuitable line, and left me paralyzed with indecision as to our future together.

fuck it, i guess it wouldn’t be that hard. i’d just dump em and find a partner that didn’t keep me second guessing them.

the good news is once you get to that face, it’s easy to keep going with it. cry faces are hideous.