I did it. After years of holding out. For reasons that I can barely remember. Something about my ex-boyfriend being a fan and the stubborn need to dislike anything he pushed on me. Be it music or food or television shows. No surprise that one failed. So, I come to you with virginal ears. That’s right, I just downloaded The Essential Bob Dylan. I liked the song Lay Lady Lay that I had heard on a movie months back but still I held out. Tonight for reasons unknown to me I felt the walls crumbling. Maybe because the letter still goes unanswered or because my best friend just cut ties with her ex and his brother or because time is finally providing the closure so often promised by it. In any case, I thought now is the time. Where better to start then with the essentials? It’s the same euphoric feeling that washes over you when you discover the undiscovered. Treasure in a dingy old box. Forms in your peripheral vision that make you believe. Ghosts! That time I finally tried a cake made of cheese and fell in love. Why had I waited so long?
I listen to the album straight through and suddenly have the urge to name a future son Dylan. Damn.
The truth is, it’s better this way. Here in this empty apartment Bob Dylan is singing only to me. His voice is an empty road calling. A sign pointing out of town. The harmonica is hefting a bag onto my back and wearing out the soles of my shoes. These classic and beloved songs are being heard for the first time here. They aren’t chained to a relationship the way other songs are. They are clean with hope. They are ready for some traveling. They are a worn map and the glaring sun. And later, a fire and a bottle being passed hand to hand between new friends. They are the complete unknown. Like a rolling stone.
What’s next? Sushi? The Beatles? Whiskey? Cuban cigars?
I get the feeling this is just the beginning.
Bob Dylan – Mr. Tambourine Man