Usable Songs

Yesterday, I saw John Mayer for the second time this year. Not sure if it’s caught on yet, but I am a massive fan of music, in particular live music. There is nothing that makes me feel more alive than live music. Absolutely nothing.

So, John Mayer is one of my absolute favorites. The guy is, in my opinion, a lyrical and musical genius. The guy writes these songs that force me to play them over and over again, listening intently until a story has been born in my head and I have to write it down. The guy is, for lack of a better word, a muse in my life, brought to me in the form of his songs.

If you haven’t read ENOUGH, then let me tell you right now, it was inspired by his song “Edge of Desire.” It was the first bit of writing that I publicly released, putting it out there despite the fear and self-doubt. It will always hold a special place in my heart, and so will John Mayer for writing the song that made it happen.

Anyway, the first time I had seen Mr. Mayer this year, I had been harassing him for months beforehand, asking him to play “Edge of Desire.” I needed to hear this song live, it having such special meaning to me and all. But as luck would have it, he didn’t play it.

That was fine, though, because shortly after, I bought tickets for another of his shows. This time, I harassed him for months, asking for a completely different song, which he also didn’t play. And you know what? Maybe I should just stop harassing the guy, because he obviously has some issues listening to requests, but that’s not what this post is about. This post is about something else. This post is those “simply meant to be” moments, those “this was no coincidence” moments in life that make you think, “Holy crap,” and make you want to cry.

So, there I was, a little peeved that he wasn’t playing “Wildfire.” One song after the next, I’d look to my sister with nagging disappointment, and then we’d proceed to enjoy whatever song he did play, because seriously, the guy doesn’t have a bad song. They just weren’t the song I wanted (cue selfish whining here).

This was the course of the night, until one song. I heard the drums, heard the guitar riffs, and I turned to my sister with reluctant acknowledgment. Her face wore a similar look of uncertainty before she finally said, “Oh my God, ‘Edge of Desire!'” And guys… I flipped my shit. It took everything I had to not break down right then and there, because it was my song. My song that he hardly ever plays, my song that I begged him for the first time around. He played my song and it was so unbelievably good. Like, one of those “perfect concert songs,” if you know what I mean. It meant everything just to hear that song live, to be there in that crowd.

But then, a funny thing happened. He made a little speech after that song, that song about how he loves that he has such “usable songs.” Songs that people “use.” He said that he loves to hear the stories that people have behind those songs, his songs, and I. Lost. My. Shit.

Well, okay, exaggeration right there because I’m not one of those outwardly emotional people, but inwardly… Yeah. Shit was lost. Shit is still missing. Shit is floating around somewhere, waiting to be found, and I’m sitting here, writing this post because I can’t get over that odd little coincidence. What are the chances? I mean, the likelihood of this guy actually reading my story is slim. The likelihood of knowing I was in that audience last night is even slimmer. But it was just one of those cosmic moments, you know? One of those “meant to be” moments where you just know, you just know, that sometimes things line up and you are in the exact place you’re supposed to be at the exact time you’re supposed to be there.

That moment will live forever in me, J. Mayer. Thank you.

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