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Posts Tagged ‘Keep Austin Weird’

Photo: Stephen Samuel

While I was putting myself through college at the University of Texas at Austin, I lived for a while in a small apartment complex in the Clarksville neighborhood.  It would’ve been the mid- to late-nineties.  For a brief time, Marc Katz’s ex-wife, a realtor, lived across the street from me.  She gave me her card once:  “Katz Always Kloses.”

But I digress.

I was trying to figure out some things about my life, make sense of my past and figure out who I was going to be in the future.  It was a heady time.  I had trouble getting quiet in my mind, though.  Friends of Bill W. suggested I might benefit from long walks along the Town Lake, and I did.  Five miles from Clarksville to the bridge where North Lamar becomes South Lamar, up to Barton Springs, through Zilker Park, up to MoPac, back to North Lamar.  A wonderfully quiet, nature-filled 5 mile walk smack dab in the middle of a bustling city.

I have fond memories of those walks.  Feeling the perspiration evaporate off my sweaty arms when I rounded the northern, shaded edge of my route.  The sound of my footsteps on fine gravel.  Long leaps to avoid mud puddles.  Neighbors greeting one another as they passed walking in opposite directions — even Governor Ann Richards if it was early Sunday morning and you were lucky.

There was a spot along Barton Creek where I always stopped to watch the mallards and geese.  I can still envision the late afternoon sunshine lighting up thousands of bright green and yellow leaves.  A gentle breeze made the flowers and grasses sway ever so slightly.

The Sony Walkman had just become affordable enough that I’d managed to obtain one.  I bought cassette tapes at Waterloo Records or Tower.  One of my favorite accompaniments to those long meditative walks was Sarah McLachlan’s Surfacing.  Society was so high tech then; we could take actual recorded music in our pockets on a long trek.  Who would’ve imagined it possible?  These were good times. Sarah MacLachlan’s style was helping to usher in a new era of popular female vocals.

“Your love, is better than ice cream” the mezzo-soprano crooned as the newly out lesbian tried to figure out why she couldn’t get a date.

The very sound of Sarah McLachlan’s voice has brought fond memories to mind ever since.  Some of her nineties songs feel like audio hugs, lovely and comforting.  A walk down memory lane.  Warm fuzzy feelings pour over me every time I hear Sarah McLachlan’s voice… even today, right?

No!  Not anymore.  Not since she’s become a spokesperson for the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA).

From the ASPCA’s commercial, on YouTube:

“Every day thousands of dogs & cats are abandoned, left to suffer alone .”

And that’s just the beginning.  I can’t bring myself to tell you any more.  You’ll have to watch the video yourself.  Gawd, I’m getting teary-eyed just writing about it.  I’ve been playing the video so I can quote it accurately.  Gah.  It’s killing me.

Damn it, I hate you Sarah McLachlan.

Hate. You.

Because I can’t stand, omg the kitten face, the sad hound… oh (dabs eyes with kerchief).  Okay.  I feel soooo guilty.  It doesn’t matter that I already live with two cats who might’ve ended up on the streets otherwise.  One came from a house full of teenagers who needed to find homes for a litter of kittens, and the other lived in foster homes or shelters the entire first year of her life.  But I can’t take on any more.  Nobody would rent to me ever again, I can’t afford vet bills for a third pet, and our Alpha Cat would just eat another animal anyway.  And right, I could send money, but the budget is tight these days.  Tight.  Besides, by the time the commercial tells us what the ASPCA is actually asking me to do, I’ve tuned it out.  The guilt causes an involuntary reflex.  One I’m not proud of:  denial.

Chosen ignorance.  A closed heart.

Damn it.

I hate you, Sarah McLachlan.  I really do.

Willie Nelson, you’re on thin ice yourself, my friend.

(Ed. Note:  Sarah has helped raise at least $30 million for the ASPCA.  But there’s always more to be done.  Donate here:  ASPCA.)

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