It was a quaint small town restaurant, located on the main street of a small American town. It wasn’t a name brand joint or fast food chain, but a local -honest to goodness business. The kind where you choose your own seat and eat delicious food created in their kitchen. The staff were friendly and would happily chat with all patrons- at times bringing the roughly fifteen people (of all ages) together for a group discussion or general merriment.
It was the perfect place for our family to stop for some food and air-conditioning- after a morning of sight seeing in the gorgeous (albeit humid) weather!
While sipping sweet tea and sampling delicious deep fried pickle chips- the radio began to play ‘On Bended Knee’ -which if you know your music- is one of the classics by the R&B sensation “Boyz II Men”
I began to quietly sing along with the radio while stirring my drink with my straw.
I love to sing! It’s something I do a lot – never so much in public anymore- but I can carry a tune (Provided I’m not drunk in a piano bar forced to sing Celine Dion….yeah….don’t ask…..) and I enjoy singing where I can, when I can and I don’t care where I am! Needless to say- I didn’t think much of it. My drink was cold, the food was excellent- my family was happy- I was relaxed.
The waiter had taken notice that I had gone off into ‘Boyz II Men’ La La land, and as I noticed him smiling at me, he threw out his arms and announced to the restaurant:
“THIS! THIS song– These guys! THIS is what music should sound like! Its a great song isn’t it? It is from a time when music was beautiful. Where it had soul and a deep meaning! This is what our radio stations need to play! Man this song is amazing!”
I wasn’t embarrassed to have been caught singing, I was happy to hear I wasn’t the only one who felt this way about the song, and after that speech, I knew he was clearly passionate about his music.
A chorus of “YES!” and “That’s right!” echoed throughout the small space as everyone over the age of 25 started to comment about how “Music today just sounds the same….” and how “there doesn’t seem to be any heart in it anymore”– Today it’s more ‘Make a buck’ then ‘Provide a soulful, quality tune’.
On that hot and humid day, as I nibbled on a grilled cheese (the best one I have ever tasted) and munched on some fried pickle chips- a seed was planted.
I just didn’t know it yet.
It’s been a week since that lunch and so much horror has happened in our world in that short span of time.
Bombs killing innocent people at an Ariana Grande concert.
Coptic Christians killed by terrorists on a bus in Egypt.
Two good Samaritans slayed in Portland as they protected and defended a woman from racial slurs and taunts.
……and those are the headlines I caught.
It all breaks my heart, just as much as it angers me.
I used to enjoy staying current with the news. I once enjoyed keeping up on politics, world events, pop culture and even the happenings on social media- but I am at this point where ‘I just don’t want to’.
I truly hate that I have to say that- after all- I firmly believe it is important to stay informed. This is something my teachers drilled into to me in school and for the most part- I live by that rule.
I am fatigued.
I am outraged.
I am TIRED of it.
It’s not that I don’t care- I care very much about what happens in our world.
But right now? I just don’t want to process the amount of evil that is out there because it is making me angry. I think I have honestly reached ‘that’ limit! The same limit so many us are currently facing but we can’t really distinguish or put into words.
The ‘fun’ part is, we can barely announce that we are fed up because we know that just around the corner- another shit storm awaits.
(So why waste our breath? We hold it in. Let a bit out here and there- but for the most part we trudge along and try to find solutions and answers for all the horrors meanwhile that anger moves along to other parts of our soul….)
At this point- I think it’s safe to say that nothing surprises me anymore.
If it isn’t some horrific news event, or some awful story or political scandal- it is some random person trying to pick a fight or be harsh or cruel. Stranger or not. I have actually had a few run ins in recent weeks with a few people, over what ‘at the end of the day’ can be summed up as ‘nothing’ – Nothing other then someone is just angry and looking for an excuse or an outlet to be a jerk -whether they are aware of it or not. Nothing but pettiness, infused with general sense of entitlement….. general misunderstandings, mild uproars and pure drivel.
People are easily offended
Looking to nitpick
(And at one point or another we are all guilty of it)
We’re constantly surrounded by negative things- On social media, in the news, on reality television, on prime time, day time and all kinds of talk shows, celebrity feuds, music……
We have to turn to adult coloring books, meditation, mantras, memes, gadgets ‘designed’ to relieve stress.
Not that there is anything wrong with having ways to de-stress- I am all for it- I have my coloring books, my meditation DVDs, mantras and other ways I look to chill out (My writing… painting) but isn’t it sad that we have reached the point where people are making a profit off of our anxiety? Off our unhappiness?
A lot of this has been on my mind this week. I have been deep in thought about a variety of subjects.
A few of my personal and most recent ‘angry moments’:
Just this past week, I was forced to yet again have discussions with my oldest daughter about things I would never have thought I would have to discuss with my children.
How she felt about taking a self defense course.
Topics my mother never once had to discuss with me when I was young.
Clearly this irritates me-
I get that the world has never been perfect- but what the hell? Why are my children having to worry about which cabinet to hide in at school? When back in my day, our biggest fear at school was not having anyone to play with at recess!
That makes me mad.
My kids may have the technology we didn’t have- but where is their freedom to just ‘be a kid’ and not have to worry about some lunatic opening fire on their school? I now have to worry about taking them to Concerts? Sporting events? Popular Tourist Destinations?
Are you kidding me world?
What wormhole did we drop into?
We are living some prelude to a blasted dystopian novel and I am not okay with that!
On yet another note…..
It was pointed out that my ‘road rage’ has escalated from the occasional:
“USE YOUR INDICATOR!”
To constantly yelling my frustration at other drivers and/or at my Car Navigation System:
“I CAN’T BLOODY TURN YET SIRI! WOULD YOU HOLD YOUR HORSES?!”
(Seriously- Use your indicator switch people- Put your phones down- All the cool kids do it and it may lessen your chances of an accident while on the roads…mmmmm-kay?!!)
Clearly I am just as on edge as everyone else……I know it…. and you know what?
I don’t like it!
I am well aware of how irritated I am- it is like getting pulled into a tide and swimming hard against it.
As I said to my mom the other day as I expressed my frustration:
“Look, I try very hard to remain positive- but you know what? If everyone else is going to be angry and rude- maybe I should just join in too! Why not? It seems to be the norm lately! I’m quite good at it…..”
(God bless my mother for putting up with my ranting!)
I was driving along today, listening to 90’s on 9 (Sirus XM) when suddenly Boyz II Men comes on the radio- “A Song For Mama” plays and fills the car with that beautiful harmony those men are known for. Their music is incredibly haunting- and every time I hear them, I wonder where my CD’s are and why I haven’t downloaded them onto my iTunes.
(If you aren’t familiar with the tune “A Song For Mama”- I suggest you Google it afterwards)
I was instantly soothed as I sung along to what lyrics I could remember. I was not only transported back to ‘the good ol’ days’ but I was reminded of that beautiful day last week; I remembered the waiter and his remarks about ‘THIS MUSIC’ and how beautiful and timeless Boyz II Men are. I remembered the people sitting there agreeing and I thought to myself…..
Is the key to society mellowing out bringing back R&B?
Is Boyz II Men playing on the radio more often what it is going to take to calm everyone down?
Do we need to organize a worldwide plan to collectively play Boyz II Men’s greatest hits so people can chill the #$%^ out and maybe we can achieve world peace or at least ‘get things back the way they used to be…..’?
Infuse R&B music back into the mainstream to inspire a bit more peace and love?
I like that idea.
I absolutely love the thought of radio stations playing more Boyz II Men instead of playing the same five freakin’ songs every half an hour.
The soothing melodies, perfect harmonies, the touching lyrics…
“Mama…Mama you know I love you……” ( A Song For Mama- 1997)
“Although we’ve come to the end of the road- Still I can’t let you go -It’s unnatural, you belong to me, I belong to you….” (End of The Road -1991)
“Let’s not wait till the water runs dry…..We might watch our whole lives pass us by….” (Water Runs Dry- 1994)
“I’ll make love to you…Like you want me to…. and I’ll hold you tight…baby all through the night…..” (I’ll Make Love To You- 1994)
“Can somebody tell me how to get things back the way they used to be?
Oh, God, give me the reason-I’m down on bended knee……” (On Bended Knee- 1994)
“I think music in itself is healing. It’s an explosive expression of humanity. It’s something we are all touched by. No matter what culture we’re from, everyone loves music.” ~ Billy Joel
Maybe I am completely off base with this idea or maybe I am on to something- Who knows?! I can only hope and pray that we can all learn to take a time out, step back and calm down as a society, as human beings- as a world.
It’s okay to get angry, but we need use the anger appropriately, not just because ‘we can’ or ‘because the other person did it first’ or because you think your entitled, vastly superior or whatever nonsense you come up with in a rage.
Use a creative outlet to blow off steam.
Avoid trying to hurt other people on purpose.
Walk away while you calm down and think before you speak.
And last but not least…
Listen to some Boyz II Men- It may just be what the doctor ordered!
(Love this song: It’s So Hard To Say Goodbye To Yesterday )
Authors Note: Clearly you know where my inspiration came from- all thoughts and opinions are my own. Quoted lyrics and video link belong to Boyz II Men.
Daily Prompt: Infuse
Question: If you could recommend a song or musical group to mellow and soothe the soul….. What would it be?