I wrote this a while ago while thinking back across the expanse of my youth spent in the same church week in and week out. I don’t know where I should go with it, but I like how it reads. It’s fantastically incomplete, clearly.
The front doors of the church were heavy, too heavy for me to open without expending real effort when I was young, so I let my mother or father do it for me, entering the vestibule before them. Sometimes, if we were running late on account of me being slow to finish my cereal or my father not being able to find a shoe, we’d enter quietly, whispering as we unraveled scarves and shed gloves before depositing the youngest of my siblings in the nursery for the first hour of service. Other times the foyer would be brimming with people trying to find hangers for trench coats and space for their shoe covers, and I’d rush in, eschewing the normal sanctimony reserved for church, looking for friends.
I remember it, the sanctuary: how it looked, what it smelled like, the weekly attendees who filled it, and where each sat, in their family rows, a silent hierarchy of faith passed down from one generation to the next, the grasp on its initial planting slipping ever into the vast expanse of forgotten time. The patriarchs took their places on the end of the pews, closest to the center aisle, their wives dutifully at their side before a mixture of children ranging from youngest to oldest, so as to keep the smaller ones occupied with religious themed coloring books. If those patriarchs’ children were old enough, grandchildren were interspersed, perched on laps, helping to find chapter and verse during the services, a slow and steady indoctrination.
Religious lineage wasn’t limited to the families themselves, but extended to the congregation as a whole, with the more senior members of the chapel occupying the pews closest to the front of the sanctuary and altar. After them, various claims on the pews went unsaid, with the more forward seating reserved for the chapel’s elders, deacons, and so on, down to the rest of the laity. It stood to reason that the least tenured member of the congregation would sit in the far rear of the sanctuary’s seating, closest to the wall, in the relative chill of the Lord’s omnipresence.
I saw this somewhere else on the internets, but I forget where, and I am literally SO LAZY that I refuse to enter the phrase into Google to find out. (It took me longer to compose that sentence then it would have to search for this.)
Anyhow, here’s a rundown of where my last $100 went. For the record, I’m leaving out bills since they’re no fun. I also just thought about doing this, so my cash purchases are not listed. Next time I do this, I’ll have a handle on the cash portion as well.
I spent $10.27 at Home Depot on refills for an edger and a new roll of Frog Tape, since the girlfriend and I were finishing up painting our bedroom.
I spent $27 at Label 7 in Pittsford, which was cheap since we used the Groupon I bought a few months ago. I got a Palm beer, split the tasting board, and got a burger. Girlfriend got the burger as well.
I spent another $8.35 at Home Depot on… that edger thing I mentioned earlier. And a first package of those refills.
I spent $17 on Amazon on the new albums from Gary Clark Jr. and Born Gold. Yes, I still spend money on music.
This puts us at $62.62. A little bit more to go.
I spent $6.43 at Balsam Bagels, probably on a whole wheat everything bagel with garlic + herb cream cheese, a coffee, and a chocolate milk.
I spent $30.50 on a couple of records - one from Indoor Voices, an excellent Toronto band, and another from 8th Grader.
That puts me right at $99.55, so I’ll call it there.
I’ve listened to a lot of Mark Kozelek’s work over the past 15 years. Whether it’s his solo output, or his Red House Painters output, or his Sun Kil Moon stuff (and I realize that those three things all overlap to some extent), he’s inadvertently soundtracked a lot of my life. Nearly half of it, come to think of it.
I saw him in concert once. He remarked how the crowd contained a lot of beautiful, corn-fed women. This was in Rochester. Our women are not generally considered to be corn-fed in this part of the United States, but I might be wrong about the geography of being corn-fed.
That’s neither here nor there. I like Mark Kozelek a lot. Songs For a Blue Guitar is absolutely an album I cannot live without. Old Ramon is close to that. I love great and wide swaths of his catalog, and I like his album of Modest Mouse covers – Tiny Cities – quite a bit as well.
But this album he put out earlier this year, Among the Leaves? It’s insufferable. I just listened to the entire seventeen (17) songs on it from beginning to end, and it’s the longest (nearly 74 minutes), most boring album I’ve listened to this year, and I listen to a good deal of music. I listened to it when it came out, didn’t think much of it then, but put it back on today just in case I wasn’t in the mood for it all those months ago. And it’s just as bad – if not worse – than I remember it being.
Which leads me to wonder: have I been wrong this whole time, or is this just a terrible misstep on Kozelek’s part? He has a bunch of new stuff on the horizon, and I’m going to probably buy it all, though probably not on vinyl.