Thursday, March 25, 2010

Me & Josh

In life, generally, I am one of those people who thinks that most things happen for a reason -- this can be especially clear in hindsight. So, while I'm not sure I believe in soul mates or the notion that there is but one person with whom I could be happy for the rest of my life, I do have a sense of meant-to-be-ness about my relationship with Jon. Looking back over the nearly four years we've known each other, it's almost like it was spelled out for us in little ways. Jon's proposal at a Josh Ritter concert (as summarized in yesterday's post) was pretty much the most logical way for it to happen.

Allow me to backtrack a few years -- and I will keep this as brief as possible, I promise. Way back when, in May 2006 when I was living with my parents in Atlanta and gearing up for my master's degree, I received my monthly issue of Paste magazine, which I then thought was the paragon of rock/indie music and cultural journalism. (That has since changed.) I had torn out the sample CD included in the issue first thing and tossed it in my car so I could listen while I drove (and drove, and drove) around town.

I remember quite clearly waiting for the traffic light off the 10th/14th street exit ramp to change and noticing a tune called "Kathleen" by some dude named Josh Ritter as I scanned the CD sleeve. Ooh! I thought*, and skipped ahead to that track. Here's how it starts off:
all the other girls here are stars—you are the Northern Lights
they try to shine in through your curtains—you’re too close and too bright
they try and they try but everything that they do
is the ghost of a trace of a pale imitation of you
I’ll be the one to drive you back home Kathleen
It was a live version, and it was pretty rockin'. When I got around to reading the magazine, I saw that the cover story was about this Josh Ritter fellow, who hailed from the small town of Moscow, Idaho.

A month or two later, during the "boot camp" portion of grad school, our class of 16 arts journalism majors took a field trip to Cooperstown, N.Y., to see a performance at Glimmerglass Opera. Jon was one of the carpool drivers for that field trip, so I called a spot in his car, along with two other classmates, and sat behind the driver's seat. A few songs into the trip, Josh Ritter's "Girl in the war" came on. I recognized it from a Paste sampler and asked Jon if he read the magazine -- I figured he was discovering the same artists I was, but it turns out he was already hip to Josh Ritter and the Decemberists and the like. Doh.

I don't really remember when we had the conversation about how Josh Ritter was from the same town in Idaho where Jon had been living for the past ten years, but it definitely happened at some point. I told Jon that was so weird, because I had JUST found out about Josh Ritter and JUST read the cover story wherein writer and subject wandered through Moscow. I promised Jon I would bring the magazine back with me from my next trip home so he could read the story.

The year we were in grad school, Jon's younger brother was a junior at Syracuse, so Jon lived in a house with his brother and his buddies. Once the fall semester started up and Jon and I were hanging out pretty regularly in small groups, his brother would tease him and snicker every time Jon returned to the house, "Did you drive her back home?"

Well, that was pretty anticlimactic, wasn't it? I suppose it seemed so at the time as well, but in retrospect, it feels like some sort of sign. Josh Ritter has since become a favorite (obviously). He came to Atlanta not long after Jon and I moved down here, but I had to sing a symphony performance the night of the concert so I couldn't go. Jon went instead with a new friend we had just met, Larissa (she of the amazing save-the-date art). Interestingly, when out for a drink the night before the Josh Ritter concert at which he proposed**, Jon ran into Larissa at a bar in Little 5 Points. Coincidence? OK, maybe.

The other bookend to this rambling saga is the recent announcement that Josh Ritter is returning to play Atlanta on May 13 -- that's right, just a week before our wedding festivities really begin. How ridiculously awesome is that?? I am so excited for this show. He's playing Variety, one of our favorite venues, and he's headlining. Hopefully he'll be hanging out after the concert so we can say hello!

Of course, Josh Ritter is only part of the equation. Cheerwine, baseball, general southernisms and many other cultural references played a role in sparking our mutual interest, but Josh Ritter's excellent music has been something of a leitmotif in our relationship, you could say. (Nerd alert!) And now I must ask: am I the only sorta nutty one who looks back and sees signs in this sort of thing?

*I had a brilliant idea right before I went to college of making a mix CD of songs whose titles were the names of all my friends, and though it never came to fruition, apparently the dream never died.

** Jon's brother (and a few others) have asked Jon what he would have done if Josh hadn't played "Kathleen" at that concert. Good question!

1 comment:

  1. I love hearing stories of how people met.

    It is really weird to look back at all of the things that happened and know that I wouldn't have met the Groomie otherwise.

    I might actually blog about this too... Hmmm.... ;)