I related a story of how we celebrated a housemate’s 20th birthday at the end of last August. I calculated that right at about the point she was taking her first breaths as a newborn to the chorus of “It’s a girl!” I was in an Urbana, Illinois bar in my first week as a freshman away at college testing the enforcement of the underage drinking laws.
The experience got me thinking that maybe the presence of snow on the ground is a superficial measure of what season we are in.
It hit 64 degrees today in Madison. It was almost warm enough for me to go without any jacket whatsoever. I was walking through Brittingham Park along Monona Bay, and noticed that half the bay was open water, with the other half, particularly near the John Nolen Drive bridge, still covered with ice.
So when I first heard Nirvana, I thought “Yuck! It’s warmed-over Black Sabbath!” I felt frustrated as the record industry and the music press seemed locked in a goose-step towards grunge, a two-dimensional world in which music “sucked” if it didn’t “rawk.” I felt that Seattle grunge represented the death of Alternative rock, with the band members of Nirvana as its pallbearers. However, I did develop a grudging (grunging?) respect for the late Kurt Cobain, born just three months before me. I have a copy of their “Unplugged in New York” CD, which I consider to be a classic. It features acoustic (and therefore non-abrasive) versions of their songs as well as some folk and blues standards by other artists, including an old Leadbelly song.
For me, reading this chapter that one morning produced a rather profound shift in my thinking. I had been carrying a lot of anger and self-judgment about my current situation, and in almost an instant, most of it disappeared. I got off the bus suddenly feeling a lot lighter about my situation than when I’d gotten on the bus.