The Summer of Uncertain Vibes

Soon you’ll find the answer.

— The Polyphonic Spree

Apparently, July is for binging The Polyphonic Spree. The last time I decided to pull up the albums I love from the Texas-based psychedelic pop choir was this same month six years ago. I don’t remember what sparked that session, so let’s mark this one.

I bought airplane tickets to Paris, France, this week. The anticipated travel feels both imminent and precarious even though it’s a couple of months away. Trying to live in the age of COVID-19 continues to be like this: having the courage to live life to the fullest in unsettled times.

A tweet that Ann Friedman referenced in her most recent newsletter defined this well:

It is the summer of uncertain vibes! On the night I bought those tickets, I also chose not to go to the gym because I couldn’t find my preferred mask for working out. Those tickets were purchased weeks later than I intended because I struggled to work past my fears that something might derail the adventure before it even got off the ground. Will my passport renewal return in time? Will the variants change border and travel rules? Will the anti-vax fervor in the states continue its expansion across the globe? Will some yet to be known threat grip us anew?

As I fought through those thoughts to click a big blue button to confirm purchase for two on a rocket that will cross the Atlantic, Section 14 (Two Thousand Places) shuffled up into my ears.

You gotta be good.
You gotta be strong.
You gotta be two thousand places at once.
And I know there’s a lot outside the window.
It seems a lot for you and me.

— The Polyphonic Spree

This was the vibe. It’s a lot but you gotta do it. So I went down the rabbit hole. First, playing all of Together We’re Heavy and then moving on to The Beginning Stages of…

I’d already been thinking about making a playlist for this summer in which, internally, I am two thousand places at once. Mostly, there’s joy here. There’s sun on my face and in my heart as I get back to all that is outside my window. But, there’s also trepidation and anxiety as we mask up and fires burn, and dudes with too much money go to space while the neediest of us sleep under those same stars hoping to make it through the night. I’ve been bopping around between the latest from Hiatus Kaiyote and Tyler, The Creator sprinkled with productions from Adrian Younge and the mysterious folks behind the artists associated with Sault but it was Tim DeLaughter’s box of oddities that brought it all together.

I bought plane tickets. I bought some new masks. I’m grateful this week for my good fortune and the sun and courage.

And I’m grateful for this music that is soundtracking one weird-ass summer.

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