Thursday, August 16, 2007

Original Air-Blue Gown

Sometimes Mountain Goats song titles are like words in a language you don't know. No, that's not right. They're like English words that you don't know yet, so you go to your dictionary, but then there's no entry for "Original Air-Blue" (you're pretty clear on the "gown" part -- or are you?), because your little brother scribbled "BAD" all over that page with ink. This does not seem fair. "Original Air-Blue" cannot possibly mean "BAD."

So you invent your own meaning. This is my meaning:

There's a girl I've had a crush on since I was fifteen. At that time it was a fierce and lonely crush, because she spent a lot of time eating Chinese food and making out with her boyfriend against my locker. It was also a confusing crush, because I didn't really understand why I liked her. Well, OK: I liked her because she was cute and tallish and awkward and lanky and a little nervous. But she was also the kind of girl who, if she had been an indie boy, would have had natural indie rock bedhead (in fact she did have natural indie rock bedhead) and spent hours writing emo-indie lyrics in a Moleskine with ballpoint about Girls. (Indie boys are very capital letters about Girls.) That isn't usually my type. Perhaps for this reason, I've never really been able to explain why I liked her so desperately. Now it's even harder because I haven't seen her in who knows how long, but whenever I think about her, I have a gentle sweet powerful feeling of loving her just as she is, wherever she is and whoever she's with, whatever she's doing. And of wishing her all the happiness possible.

Sometimes I still dream about her. When I wake up in the morning after those dreams and try to capture them in chalk pictures, the color I use for her eyes is "Original Air-Blue."

12 comments:

Hardy scholar said...

Woman much missed, how you call to me, call to me,
Saying that now you are not as you were
When you had changed from the one who was all to me,
But as at first, when our day was fair.
Can it be you that I hear? Let me view you, then,
Standing as when I drew near to the town
Where you would wait for me: yes, as I knew you then,
Even to the original air-blue gown!

Or is it only the breeze in its listlessness
Travelling across the wet mead to me here,
You being ever dissolved to wan wistlessness,
Heard no more again far or near?

Thus I; faltering forward,
Leaves around me falling,
Wind oozing thin through the thorn from norward,
And the woman calling.

--Thomas Hardy

a good egg said...

That's embarrassing, because I actually do like the Hardy. Thank you for pointing the allusion out!

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