Sunday, October 16, 2005

"Running On Empty"

I feel a little awkward about posting this song. It's one of those songs that I first heard as a teenager, something that seemed to encapsulate just about everything I felt at the time - alienated, confused, in search of something - and it has stayed with me to this day. "Looking out at the road rushing under my wheels/I don't know how to tell you all just how crazy this life feels/I look around for the friends that I used to turn to to pull me through/Looking into their eyes I see them running too."
It wasn't appropriate for that time and age, and I've slowly realised it's more appropriate now, a song about hitting a wall of realisation on all sorts of levels. "Gotta do what you can just to keep your love alive/Trying not to confuse it with what you do to survive/In sixty-nine I was twenty-one and I called the road my own/I don't know when that road turned onto the road I'm on."
Jackson Browne seems to have led that sort of life - the sort of life where you get caught up in the here and now to such an extent that you don't get a chance to step back and regain a sense of perspective; and if you do, it's not always a pretty sight. It can feel a bit desperate at times: "I'd love to stick around but I'm running behind/You know I don't even know what i'm hoping to find/Running into the sun but I'm running behind."
This is another one of those "testify" songs that we all hide somewhere in our life or home, and when we're alone we bring it out and let ourselves feel vulnerable. Like the old Latin saying, "Quis Custodiet Custodes Ipsos? (Who Will Watch the Watcher?), we all need a moment of safety when we don't have to be grown-up, but we don't often find that person who'll play the role of grown-up while we're goofing off.

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