Good news to anyone out there who enjoys paying for their music, but still gets it primarily electronically: Tori Amos' music is largely available for sale in MP3 format after years of being locked up in old CDs at used record stores. You can find quite a few full tracks to listen for free on Last.FM (Probably has something to do with her recent release of Midwinter Graces, which I only just found out about.) So I added some of her old CDs to a playlist.

I don't believe I went to~o far
I said I was willahing, willahing, willahing
She said she knew what my book did not
I thought she knew what's up
Past the mission, behind the prison towers
Past the mission, I once knew a hot girl
Past the mission, they're closing every hour
Past the mission, I smell the roses

-Tori Amos, Past the Mission

This was one of the many songs I heard on repeat freshman year studying, lying in the papasan chair in my girlfriend's dorm room. Prior to college, I didn't listen to music much except the oldies stations my mother would play through the house when cleaning on the weekends. Almost any song I recognize ties to recent memories and the person who introduced me to it.

Humanity and I frequently don't get along. We both tend to fall short of each other's standards. There's been a limited supply of friends for me, and I've lost a fair few of them to distance or time or worse. You spend a long time in one place, and everyone moves away. You combine that with too much time in college, and graduation gives a catapult assist to the potential interstate move waiting in everyone. Distance is a drug to the finally-independent, eager to find what the world will make them into. It seems music often reminds me of these friends and the reasons we cared about one another.

I spent most of my life being sufficiently asocial that a week in hermitage was barely notable. But humans are addictive, and I picked up the habit. The growing distance gets to me. The last few days, though, I've been feeling better. Nearby and far away friends have been reconnecting in a coincidental, electronic communication festival.

With all that floating about, Past the Mission struck me in a strange way. My friend from freshman year, we haven't talked in just about two years to the day. She might have her doctorate now. The distinctive flowery singing style propelled my stomach in a sudden lurch — pleasant memories mixed with regret. The most negative feeling was of being unable to share the memories that flooded in.

No one else knows the smell of those old radiators (now thankfully replaced) overwhelming the cheap incense and sappy lumber of that hastily-constructed bed loft. These thoughts had a bond to only one other person. It's weird thinking, as the memories fade in my head with nothing to reinforce them, some of my happiest days so far will fade to nothing.

So I wrote this up to remember them and this. May I be wise enough to never lose a connection like that so completely again.

I feel really weird today.

I went home this past week. My brother told me that one of his childhood friends and his father died last weekend in a car accident. We lived 3 houses down from them at one point. I didn't know the father very well. I didn't know the kid very well either for that matter, but I remember him.... He and his twin brother would always be at my house or in my driveway, being annoying like little brothers and their friends are. And now he's gone.

My heart hurts. Mostly for the surviving twin.

I feel weird and sad and I don't understand it.

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