jon brionMay 3, 2012
I am inspired to write this post by this nod to the song “Ruin My Day” from Jon Brion’s 2001 album, Meaningless.
Meaningless reminds me of my four-month stay in Los Angeles in the summer of 2005. At first I was so lonely; I called my mother and then-boyfriend in the middle of fits of gulping sobs, knowing they could do nothing about it, wanting them to take responsibility for the consequences of a decision I made myself. It was terrible of me, like burying them in the sand and walking away from the mound.
I was 21 and about to enter my senior year of college. I was living off a settlement from a car accident in a subleased apartment in Westwood. I had a car. I went to an internship three days per week and took a class some nights. It took me a few weeks to see how good I had it. (And right now, I’m pretty disgusted to think it took me that long.)
Eventually, though, I learned to relish this alone time. I read on the outdoor patios of coffee shops with honey-flavored coffee drinks. I strolled through art museums, skipping rooms that didn’t interest me. I stayed home and chain-smoked cigarettes on the apartment’s tiny patch of deck. I listened to piles of previously undiscovered records in hours of traffic. Being by myself is the best, I realized. I can do whatever I want.
Halfway through the summer, my boyfriend came to visit me for an entire week. That Friday, we got in line at Largo at 4 p.m. and sat on the sidewalk, the sun-heated concrete searing the backs of our thighs. (The one person in line before us was obvs insufferable.) During this time, Jon Brion was playing there weekly. The table seats sold out weeks in advance, but there were 12 or so bar stools available on a first-come, first-serve basis. Chris and I were determined to get two of them, and we did. And sure, we saw him together, but the experience of watching the show is my own. I cried when he played tracks from Eternal Sunshine (duh).
This album, which I listen to straight through like a movie, reminds me of that entire summer, when I came to rely on my own reserves.
(P.S. A brag: While in Los Angeles, I got to go to the office of NANCY MEYERS because she’s an AU grad).