As one of my friends pointed out, I'm a moody guy. So I don't know how much of this is just my nature and how much is a reasonable response to the state of the country, but I'm kind of freaked out right now. The economic meltdown, while not really a surprise, is pretty nerve-wracking, as is our elected leaders' pathetic response. And while I know that it's not related (except in tangential ways), my little corner of the world is experiencing a gasoline shortage the likes of which I've never seen before. Some pundits are comparing it to the shortages of the late 1970s, but I lived through that and don't remember anything like this. In Atlanta, about one in ten gas stations has product, and the lines often take an hour or more to sit through. I've been lucky and/or smart in my gas purchasing, so I haven't had to wait more than ten minutes, but the whole situation is unnerving.
Add to that the current freakish unpredictabilty of my job, which is teaching elementary school band. I've been teaching for 27 years, but I don't ever remember the kids and parents being this bizarre. I just never know what to expect when I correct a student's wrong note or open my email. Oh well, at least I have a job. It's looking like that might be a luxury that many Americans aren't going to have.
The soundtrack for my anxiety includes four songs by very different singer/songwriters: "American Tune" by Paul Simon, "The Day After Tomorrow" by Tom Waits, "A Few Words in Defense of Our Country" by Randy Newman, and "August 29, 2005" by Darryl Rhoades. They are not all directly relevant to today's situation, but one way or another they all have to do our government letting us down and/or our country being on the wrong path. And no, you've never heard the Darryl Rhoades song (and that might not even be the final title), but I hope you do when it is released on his new album in a few months.
And tonight I think I'll listen to "Hard Blues for Hard Times" and "Soldier's Blues" by Michael Hill's Blues Mob. A tough band, indeed - you should hear them if you haven't had the chance before now. The great Vernon Reid has a guitar solo on "Soldier's Blues" that will take the top of your head off.