Friday, March 27, 2009

From the Vault: Postal Service - "The District Sleeps Alone Tonight"


It was late 2003 and I was at a crossroads in my life. I was on the path to southern California to pursue a career in screenwriting when "life" happened. With my Hollywood mission derailed for the time being, I landed in Bloomington, IN living on a temporary basis with my best friend. A new town, a new start...a new life. I was 23 years old at the time and I did not know that one certain song would carry me through that difficult time in my life.

I left everything behind and started my life over in an attempt to grasp what I would become in the wake of my failure to reach the west coast. Long mornings of contemplating my choice to move to a new town were common. Long nites of hard drinking and making new friends were even more common. As the days became weeks and the weeks became months, one song stood out above all the rest: "The District Sleeps Alone Tonight" by The Postal Service.

The song itself was written by Death Cab for Cutie/Postal Service frontman Ben Gibbard. The genesis of the song began during the Death Cab for Cutie and Dismemberment Plan tour of 2002 (aptly titled "The Death and Dismemberment Tour" which is funny considering both bands play a style of indie rock/pop that would not conjur up metal-mania tour titles like "Death and Dismemberment"). Gibbard, struggling with where to go next in his life, spent a short period of time living in the Washington D.C. (the district) area with Dismemberment Plan lead singer Travis Morrison. "The District Sleeps Alone Tonight" is essentially a journal entry for the time Gibbard spent searching for himself in our nation's capital.

I attached to this song so much so that it became my personal anthem of losing, gaining and understanding that I won't always foresee all of the trap doors that will occurr in my life. Every line of the song became my gospel for making it through the difficulties of poverty, confusion and my overwhelming fear of the unknown. I learned more about myself by not having life work out the way I wanted it to. I learned that strangers can become some of the most wonderful people you will ever get to know...and most importantly, I learned that I was the one worth leaving in order to become who I wanted to be.

Lyrics:

Smeared black ink
Your palms are sweaty
And I'm barely listening
To last demands
I'm staring at the asphalt wondering
What's buried underneath where I am

I'll wear my badge
A vinyl sticker with big block letters
Adherent to my chest
That tells your new friends
I am a visitor here: I am not permanent
And the only thing keeping me dry is where I am

You seem so out of context
In this gaudy apartment complex
A stranger with your door key
Explaining that I am just visiting
And I am finally seeing
Why I was the one worth leaving

D.C. sleeps alone tonight

You seem so out of context
In this gaudy apartment complex
A stranger with your door key
Explaining that I am just visiting
And I finally seeing
Why I was the one worth leaving

The district sleeps alone tonight
After the bars turn out their lights
And send the autos swerving
Into the loneliest evening
And I am finally seeing
Why I was the one worth leaving

1 comment:

Jessica said...

A locksmith helps with rekeying locks or security locks complete with a new door key.