The Friday Morning Listen: Bruce Springsteen – Wrecking Ball (2012)

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It’s been a long time since I’ve listened to Wrecking Ball. For going on a year now, it’s been riding around with me in the car, never making it into the player. Why? I just can’t.

A couple of years ago, me and TheWife™ thought we’d caught the break of a lifetime. Or at least…the break of middle age. Her job was about to vaporize and, much to our amazement, she landed a position located at what can only be described as our favorite region in the world. I had played there as a kid. We had vacationed there for years. And now…we were moving there. It all had a very dreamlike quality. Since the economy we still in the toilet, we held onto our house and rented a small apartment close to her new place of work. Since I push around bits and bytes for a living, the idea was that I could mostly work up there.

After a time, that’s pretty much what happened. Before working remotely full-time, I spent about six months staying in the old house (and working at a customer site) during the week, followed by a crazy commute “home” for the weekend. And by “crazy,” I mean 5 1/2 hours in the car. One way. But hey, I’ve heard of people doing even longer hauls, so it didn’t feel crazy to me.

So on Friday afternoons, I would load the laptop into my car, pop in Wrecking Ball, and head out. The insistent and more angry first half of the record got me through the aggressive and choked traffic of that first half an hour. As the more hopeful second half played, my mood soared as I could feel “home” over that horizon. By the time “American Land” came to a feedback-laden halt, the cares of the week were gone. Now it was just the rolling country, sea air, and that one person waiting.

But things turned sour. TheWife™’s “dream” job turned into a nightmare. It had to go. And so did we. It was heartbreaking. I only hinted at this in an issue of this feature. There were no specifics because, well, what good would that do? And why the heartbreak? That’s hard to explain. This wasn’t just our favorite place. We had history there…and we could see down the road. Our post-work years would be there. They just had to be. But…

We moved back into the old house and made the best of things, but it’s been hard. She found a new position with some old colleagues that had the unfortunate feature of an hour-plus commute. Since the economy has picked back up (with more cars on the road), mine has regularly pushed 90 minutes. Those drives had begun to wear us down and cause some health problems. Something had to give.

And so it has. We found a small place to rent not far (fifteen minutes) from TheWife™’s place of work. Though the housing market has picked back up, nobody seems to be interested in a big old antique house in the “middle of nowhere,” so we’re going to rent it out. My commute has been transformed from the merely “crazy” to “mega-insane,” but I don’t plan on doing it more than once per week. Over the rest of the summer, we’ll clean the old place out and get to some serious downsizing. It’s the kind of thing people usually do before they give up their house and move to Florida…except that we’re going north.

Yesterday, I finished work and got into the car to go and meet TheWife™ and the landlord at our new place. In went “Wrecking Ball.” All of those old feelings came back, including the tendency to drive too fast during “American Land.” I arrived…at small house in the middle of a working horse farm — Earth and Sky Farm. It felt like home.

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