Throwback Sunday: why not? Pink Floyd, Wish You Were Here

Posted on 24.04.2011


This song, this song. It’s been a part of my life since before I was allowed to play records without supervision. My parents were (are still) raging Floyd fans, so we have all of the records in what will one day be MY massive collection.

I know it seems somewhat cliché, being THAT song from Floyd and all, but for me it’s the truth. Much like Standing Outside a Broken Phone Booth…, this song always comes to me at the times when I’m unsure of my life and reminds me that I’m on the right path. And it ALWAYS comes when I’m alone and deep in thought, just kind of floating along.

It came today out of nowhere while I was at a coffee date with our neighbors. I’m still not great at German and can definitely understand a lot better than I can speak. Everyone around me was talking really quickly and with words that I didn’t learn in German class and I was feeling slightly disconnected and discouraged. Then the radio (which up until now had been playing Kylie Minogue and Lady Gaga) gave me that ‘get back in there, kid, you’re where you’re supposed to be at this VERY second’ push by giving me this song.

I don’t know how else to describe it except to relate past experiences. Luckily, I was able to catch the tail end of one such experience on video.

It was 2008. I was confused and feeling lost. I’d made a trip to NY alone (I had a boyfriend at the time and did NOT allow him to come with me, as I was already plotting my escape and had just realized a lot of things about myself) with only three plans: see my friends, train at a seminar, and really figure out what I wanted from my life with my time away. The trip had until this point included a trip to an amazing palm reader, and what was the beginning of a break up with a friend I thought was closer.

I’d just returned to Manhattan from 2 days in CT with a great friend that really helped me to cheer up. The next two days would be spent with a couple of equally great friends, which was just what I needed to recover from my first three days and a realization that one friendship was not able to be saved. I took a walk in Central park (just for the hell of it and because I never had), on my way to the Guggenheim to see the Louise B. retrospective. I sat myself on the lawn near a really gorgeous fountain and just started crying.

It was a beautiful summer day. I couldn’t believe that I felt so completely lost. Broken. Here I was in Manhattan surrounded by friends and all the art I could possibly be able to see, and I could NOT deal with what had passed on the first three days. I was already planning at this point to move to Chicago and was afraid. Not of moving to Chicago, but of how I would survive out there trying to work and attend grad school. How my life would go from that point on the grass forward.

I was also feeling a little lost about being in NYC in general. Here I was in my homeland (I was born in NY) and it didn’t really feel so welcoming. Kind of like the attitude on the street, it felt like the city had looked at me and said, ‘what, you think you’re special? Welcome to NYC. You and everyone else. Fuck off.’ While this was still a nicer sentiment than I had felt in some places, it wasn’t what I needed right at the moment, and was a far cry from the gigantic hug that Chicago had given me as soon as I stepped off the plane at Midway. It’s amazing how in a city so full of people, one can be so anonymous.

I walked to the bridge across from the fountain and saw an underpass. I went and sat at the fountain and that’s when I heard the music coming from the passage. I thought I recognized the sound, but couldn’t place the song. It was just the tone. But the tone resonated and felt like home, so I got up to see where in the dark the music was coming from. Just as I passed the threshold into the shade is when it started.

I took the moment for what it was and pressed record as I went to drop cash in the guitar case of a total stranger that had just inadvertently told me to calm down, because my life was right on track. It was really hard to hold the tears in when the guy started talking to me, but thankfully I was able to laugh instead.

Posted in: music