All Mixed Up

Just over a year ago, when “lockdown” was still a new term, I wrote a blog post about the song “Good Times Roll,” from the 1978 debut album by the Boston, Massachusetts, USA band The Cars. (Months later I posted “You’re All I’ve Got Tonight,” another song from the same album.)

Today, I was out on my road bike for the first time in two weeks. It felt so great… the sun was shining, I managed to figure out the right clothing to wear for the rising temperature, and my newly-tuned-up bike was running beautifully. It was a reasonably short ride at 30 kilometres (20 miles) but thoroughly enjoyable. Lots of happy people were out walking, cycling, rollerblading, playing.

At one point, riding through a quiet neighbourhood that’s well off the beaten track in St. Vital, Winnipeg, I got to thinking about all the emotions that had come up yesterday when learning I had become eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine. As all those feelings were processing in me overnight, I realized this morning that there were several layers to them. And now, knowing there is a light at the end of the isolation tunnel, I recalled the many occasions we couldn’t gather with family and friends to mark important events and to support our people in troubled times. We will never get those lost experiences back, but I feel we are still fortunate. We’ve all been healthy, and while loneliness, work and financial challenges have been a reality for some, we are all here. That’s the main thing. It’s all that matters. And it’s not that way for all people, that’s for sure. We can look forward to creating new memories when we’re all able to gather again. But I do think it’s important to pause and honour the losses that occurred during that, as they were real. Hopefully, they will influence how we interact in the future; being more present, appreciative and caring, not just to those close to us but also to the strangers we encounter every day.

During the ride, that mishmash of emotions, thoughts and memories brought to mind the song “All Mixed Up,” the closing track from The Cars’ first album. It’s a powerful piece about the singer’s desperation over a troubled relationship that isn’t feeding his soul. The song starts in a transition from the previous track on the album, “Moving in Stereo.” The punctuation of its steady cymbal beat leads into crashes, then a crescendo toward the middle, a short bridge and then a key change that seems to signal a change for the song’s character, sung by the band’s bassist and alternating lead vocalist, Benjamin Orr (1947-2000). The song, for me, is one of those that I think of as the closing theme to a movie (like I mention in my post on Dire Straits’ “Sultans of Swing”), and I suppose that when it came out, I was still feeling the awkwardness of young adulthood so it would have spoken to some part of that.

At home this evening making our usual Saturday night pizza (with movie or Netflix series to follow), while writing this post after such a splendid afternoon outdoors, I’m grateful for the day and all the many blessings in my life, while remembering the past and feeling hopeful for the future.

Now you know a little about why this is my Song of the Day for Today. Thanks for joining me here, and please enjoy.

Here’s the audio for the song from The Cars Official YouTube channel:

Full, unofficial lyrics are available courtesy of AZLyrics.com.

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