Rainy night in the city


I’ve written about Tears for Fears’ “Everybody Wants to Rule the World” before. It’s one of those songs from the 1980s that takes me back to another time in my life. I wouldn’t relive high school for all the money in the world, but the music from that era can always make me think about those days. I don’t know why that is, but I suspect I’m not the only one who feels like this, either.

Last night it was raining in Chicago, and I was driving around, looking for something to listen to on the radio. And I turned to an 80s-related nostalgia station, and this song was playing. Whatever mental images of this song I may have already, they were supplemented by the images of night, the city, and the rain coming down.

Back in the 1980s, I was a long way from Chicago, both literally and figuratively. I never in my wildest imagination would have thought this is where I would end up living. But here I am, and there’s no place else I’m ever going to be after this, either. This is home for me now.

So as I drove through the streets of my new hometown, listening to the sounds of another time in my life, I realized that memories are a lingering thing. They can be good, or they can be bad, but they are always there. To the day I die, I’ll mentally picture the video for this song, with the guy (the singer, I think) driving a convertible through the desert, and the band playing this song in the studio, and two other guys doing some sort of a dance routine in what appeared to be time with the song.

But now, the next time I hear that song on the radio, I’ll possibly also think of a rainy night in Chicago, and a trip down Western Avenue, and the not-so-young-anymore guy who harkened back to an earlier time in life. As the band tells us in their song, “nothing ever lasts forever.”

Nothing ever lasts forever

Sunday afternoon, Chicago

The weather was unseasonably warm, so I finally got around to a task I’ve successfully put off until today. Raking up fallen leaves can be a lot of fun with children around to jump in the pile. But for one reason or another, it never happened this year. The leaves sat in the front yard instead, and I knew that eventually they had to be removed. Today was as good a day as any could be. With the sun shining and the temperature considerably higher than it should be, it was actually the best that I could hope for.

The problem was that when the raking was finished, I found that I had six bags’ worth of leaves, and only five bags to put them in. I bagged up what I could, but still had a pile of leaves left in the front yard. So I went to the local hardware store to buy some more bags. I parked the car, went inside, and headed toward the part of the store where the bags were at.

On my way over to the bags, I heard the opening strains of Tears for Fears’ first, and probably most enduring, hit, Everybody Wants to Rule the World. I smiled at the recollection of where I was when that song first came out on the radio, back in the mid-1980s. I was a high school junior, living under my parents’ roof in Springfield, Illinois. The power of music to take us back to another time in our lives is a very interesting thing.

As I was walking up to the register to pay for the bags, one line from the song jumped out at me: “Nothing ever ┬álasts forever.” How true those words are! The eighties didn’t last forever, and neither did my years in high school, or the time that I lived under my parents’ roof, either.

My parents sold their house long ago. They live in a different house now, which I have little emotional attachment to. After graduating from high school the following year, and spending the remainder of the eighties at a college 200 miles away, I never again lived under their roof, or anywhere at all in Springfield, Illinois. It’s nice enough to go back there for a few hours every now and then, but the conditions that existed when I first heard that song will never come back again. Life marches forward, just as it always has before.

As I paid for the bags and left the store, my trip back in time came to a quick end. Suddenly, it was back to reality, 2012. But I appreciated the underlying message of the song–or at least that one line from it–enough to type this out. So maybe this sentiment actually will last forever, at least on the internet. That would be something, wouldn’t it?