songs that make you cry

If you are anything like me, a sap for all of time, there are a slew of songs that make you cry. I cry through hymns, songs of celebration and praise–Amazing Grace, How Great Thou Art, Christmas hymns like Joy to the World make me swell and tear with an almost fanatical fervor (I have a healthy religious background). I cry with the Beatles, Barbara Streisand, songs from the musicals Rent and West Side Story, Disney movie songs, the theme song from Legends of the Fall, songs that I attached to loved ones and lovers. But one of the oddest pieces in my music box of tears, and one that gets me every time, is John Mayer’s Bigger Than My Body.

Someday I’ll fly
Someday I’ll soar
Someday I’ll be
So damn much more
‘Cause I’m bigger than my body
Gives me credit for

When my sons played high school football, the big rivalry game (Severn vs St. Mary’s) was held on an arbitrary field. Luckily for my sons, me, for the entire community, it was often played at Navy Stadium in Annapolis. It was awesome; the boys suited and ready to rumble, echos of wars fought on and off the playing field, history and teen age histrionics together for one night, for one big show. It mattered not at all that Navy Stadium was (and still is) considered a puny and technologically pathetic venue by any university standard. It was Navy, for cryin’ out loud, and far superior to either team’s home field, equipped with (among other pluses) a jumbotron and a great sound system. And at my second son’s big game, through a fog of hot breath and hot chocolate, I watched the team warm up on the jumbotron while John Mayer sang his heart out. I cried like a baby, like a football mom, overcome with maternal and national pride, overcome by lyrics that confirmed what I believed then and believe still–that someday I’ll be so damn much more. If I want it badly enough. Truth and tears.

Full lyrics here – Bigger Than My Body

drunk neighbor

She came to visit the other night, sometime after 9 p.m., something that doesn’t happen very often; basically because, God’s honest truth, she’s too stinkin’ drunk to walk across her yard to my porch or because she typically passes out around eight. She’s wrapped in a thick, pink, terry cloth robe, and really (I know this is so bitchy), I immediately thought, “pig in a blanket.” Ugh. She sat down next to me, smiling that dumb-ass smile that drunks get when words become too hard to sort through.

“Oh, my dear …. on the lane …. drama, draaaama.”

“What, Dotty (not her real name but she could easily be a Dotty), haven’t heard a thing.” Can she see my eyes roll, I suspect not.

“The twins …. that pool …. thirty thousand dollars …. Leo’s daughters …. little cunts ….”

Ugh. Like that for fifteen minutes, my finishing her sentences, her nodding and laughing and cursing and close to tipping over in her chair. She paws, she drawls, she drools. Play the work card, said my brain, a trick I often employ regardless of whether I’m working the next day or not. “Well, so sorry, got to go, Dotty, work tomorrow. Good night, sweetie.”

“Good night, my dear,” and she stands, opens her robe and flashes me, twirling around the porch several times. Not an ugly woman, but yes, pig in a blanket. Ugh.

There are many things that disturb me about Drunk Neighbor Dotty. As another neighbor has said, “she has more issues than Time magazine,” and indeed she does, but alcoholism is the primary one. She’s my peer, a woman close to 65, a woman who assumes the role of a twenty something party girl, holding hangover court on her porch once or twice a week. Her attempts at acceptance and recognition are ridiculed and rightfully so—and I want to shake her. I want to tell her to put the bottle down, stop being a twat, get over the mountain of fucking pity parties that stand in the way of everything. And, of course, I can’t and won’t say those things. I’m not her family, not privy to her demons, I don’t want to be a fixer. I’m 27 years sober and far enough removed from the insidiousness of addiction that I am no longer as empathetic as I once was. It’s her fight. I just wish she would get past the denial and get on with it. But it’s also a sisterhood thing–and it’s painful (in ways I don’t want to remember) to watch this woman spiral downwards.