Tuesday, October 28, 2008
In the last few weeks, my kids have become obsessed with the song Downtown, by Petula Clark. A friend -- a friend their age -- introduced them to it, and to see a four-year-old bust out with a huge smile and "When you're alone and life is making you lonely you can always go Downtown." The thing is, the song is so poignant. When I told a friend -- a friend whose older than me -- about it the other day he started singing the verse, "And you may find somebody kind to help and understand you...someone who is just like you and needs a gentle hand to guide them along." And listening to that verse today for the third time in a row, I was so moved by it. The song goes from loneliness to companionship and the physical resolution of that companionship is the taking of a hand, not a bump and grind. I don't have anything against the bump and grind but that pop song perfectly captures the joy of taking to the streets and the hope of a friend. Granted the verse also made me think of an old New Yorker story I heard on a podcast I was listening to while knitting when two acquaintances meet and are thrilled to be able to go drink too much together in a seedy bar -- but hey, who am I to judge where the helping hand will guide you along to? All this to say it can be pretty great to rediscover an old jewel and, I've got to say it!, let it sparkle.