Towers, constructed of brick and granite, float by like a cardiac pulse against my window. the morning sun paints my face in warm orange bursts as if by flash, as its waves navigate through the passing office buildings and cafes. Green Street Coffee, bank, New York style falafel, University Hospital, bank, bank, bank. Longing faces hurrying to work, paired skirt with running shoes, heels-in-hand. I feel your anxiety, Mr. Business-casual, that of the 21st-century semi-casualized laborer: dressed down(ish) but fluid enough to walk away with the illusion of ‘moving up’, hopeful that the sequence will bring contentedness and that-for-which-I-have-always-searched. I float over and along the double yellow line past a million and a half potential best friends. Every stranger could change your life, until you get to know them. The person walking beside this bus could one day teach me how to see things again, or could be the one comforting me at a funeral years from now.
But I may never again encounter this weathered clement face. For this silent patriotic moment when our eyes met we cohabited this city block, and we were united by our shared human condition. They may be a vociferous reader of Murakami, or find Thelonius Monk rather pedantic, or be perpetually haunted by the hollow eyes as they looked up coming around the corner from the clinic where a future first laugh ceased to be, or perhaps they just really love the warm marinara sauce between the cheese and crust. They once made somebody cry: from happiness or pain I’m not sure, but maybe it was a little of both. Maybe they will someday they will turn that force onto me.
This street corner could be where the right arpeggio will someday grip my throat, nearly sending me prostrate. It could be where I eventually realize that bigotry isn’t a symptom of a dishonest soul but is the disease essential to our mutual coming-together. Is there attraction without repulsion? Inclusion without exclusion? Goodbye without a new hello? Sitting in that single-piece folded oak coffee shop chair, sipping my third cup of Ethiopian Yirgacheffe, I may someday resolve within myself answers to these questions. From that chair I will write the fortunes of melodies by the legion, returning to them small bits of my trembling appreciation. That seat will be where I finally let go – again – and then later fail at letting go – again.
Such actual, imagined, symbolic, discrete, always-already moments will, would, or already did pass me along the unresolved pulses of Steve Hauschildt’s “Vicinity”. Like the track, those moments will be overwhelmingly hopeful but in character true of most life, contain within themselves some element of regret or despair. As I look out across the cityscape I will wonder at my serendipitous encounters and the magnanimous assortment of memory-snapshots. I got here, and I’m still trying to figure out how, but I saw visions of the next few delirious chapters and I think I turn out alright in the end. Like “Vicinity”, these moments come in a stream of hazy electrons that indicate their own perpetuity, not their demise. There’s only progress.
Hauschildt, former member of Emeralds and crafter of the phenomenally gorgeous “Watertowers“, again sends me into introspective hopefulness laced with the hemlock of nostalgia, regret, or something. “This ambient shit, man,” an inner voice always whispers, “it always does something to me. Every time.” Thanks, Steve.