I can be a restless listener. This drives my wife nuts as I will use the hand controls on the steering wheel to skip through channels or the USB drives full of music. I can thumb that button for miles and upon miles to find something to sing. In the cause of peace, before we started listening to an audiobook, I put Sirius on the Springsteen channel and left it there. this happily included a four-hour concert from New Year’s Eve 1980.
In my second attempt in college at completing a BA, I was a big Bruce fan. The 10 year retrospective album had been released and I listened to it a lot during studio time. Having done my teenage years in on Main Street USA (both Route 66 and Main Street in Joplin) in the late 70s, cars, unfulfilled love, and conflict on search of a cause was all familiar.
In my last year of college, I hada few small exhibits of my work in coffee shops and cafes. While leaving the more risque examples of my work in the studio (I was told that some parents shielded the eyes of their children as they walked past my senior exhibit) one piece in particular drove comments. It was called Spare Parts and consisted of a woman’s torso (clothed) and a collection of automotive parts.
I think the offensive bit might have been the orifice and flange of a set of bright red header pipes. Regardless, I saw nothing bothersome. It was Art. It was not really anything like the song:
Bobby said he’d pull out Bobby stayed in
Janey had a baby it wasn’t any sin
They were set to marry on a summer day
Bobby got scared and he ran away
Jane moved in with her ma out on Shawnee Lake
She sighed Ma sometimes my whole life feels like one big mistake
She settled in in a back room time passed on
Later that winter a son came along
And broken hearts
Keep the world turnin’ around
–Bruce Springsteen, “Spare Parts”
Funny thing is, it is not even one of those songs I may much attention to. The lyrics are unimpressive and the vocals seem a bit muddy if I am not actively listening. I think I have even had a tendency to forget this song. The painting I don’t forget, although it is long gone. I have a color slide of it somewhere.
What really remains is that I offended somebody, somewhere in Joplin.
It was not the first time. It certainly was not the last.
Just another story that has been on my mind this trip. Lots of spare parts of memories, detritus of a living somewhat unfiltered.