The song was playing in the shop. It strummed from high speakers, working its way into the ears, mind, memory, source of us. While it continued, the sun broke through, lighting half the space, making me notice instantly, before the baristas chirped and incoming customers came in fresh.
There was a mythic quality about it, a moment of youth, of being really young, knowing nothing but the atmospherics of the immediate surround and not of the wider circle, the serpentine, the bog path.
There was a counterpoise that made the innocence stand out even more, causing shine: a flicker that this was NOT a moment 'frozen' in psychologically hopeful explanation for an nuclear annihilation a microsecond into its inception.
Not coincidentally, that irony isn't lost on the makers of Fallout 3, whose marketing includes retro recordings quite at odds with its apparent post-apocalyptic game world. They've used the Ink Spots' song, first released in 1941 -- if you recall a year of Pearl Harbor, Nazi occupation of Europe, the air Blitz over Britain, German invasion of the Soviet Union, and Japanese imperialist conquest of Southeast Asia and voluminous island populations of The Philippines and the Dutch East Indies.
Almost with antiquarian breathlessness, I went to the Amazon music and MP3 sections to dig out what versions I could find of 'old pop'.
At first it was a search for Rat Pack and lounge-istic style, upbeat, never-again-to-be-duplicated . . . uh . . . swingin' sounds rising from the optimism and wealth of post-WW2 American (not-yet-even-dreamed-to-be) 'hegemonic' influence over international culture. Vegas, Miami, Hollywood. Supper shows. TV Specials, replete with sophisticated black tie ultimately, often, loosened, glittered with polite perspiration showering diamonds on our appreciative vision.
The task was managed. Rat Pack, certainly, but not overloaded thereby. Also music written by -- and if possible also performed by -- Mancini, Bacharach, Hefti. A pinch of McGuire Sisters, Four Freshman, Four Lads to remind us of the roots of Big Time Entertainment in the harmonically pretty.
Two Discs: Kitsch In The Throat and Son Of A Kitsch.
Embarrassing, sentimental, naive. No one young today would 'get the message' -- not 'ring-a-ding-ding', mind you, but 'how generations pass'.
Within the fifth layer of cleanliness, by which we understand the lowest, were two people interviewed in the 1990s. To their defense, it might be said that they worked outside, possibly among animals, and whatever habits they might otherwise have had had disappeared as pointlessly, inefficiently, old-fashioned.
The smell was a personal smell, one body crevice outdoing another in its shout for attention.
People have it that human odor is an evolutionary advantage, something like enormous size, red coloring, spines.
We stink, therefore, we are.
As I spoke to them for a long 30 minutes, receiving lethargic answers to bureaucratic questions, my nose closed down for 'maintenance', sign up, facility shut.
Their memory stayed with my clothes until later: a bath, a re-robing, an hour of wash-dry cycle.
Uniformity of computer font: a democratic excellence that masks bad smells.
Me own handwrite, though: all of the 2s look different, even when I try for them to be the same. My own mind pitches itself in concert with itself, my taste divagates into richness, my self brings into the universe the new.