Like so many posted on social media last week, I was sad to hear about David Bowie’s death.
I appreciated his music even though I didn’t necessarily get it. I never saw him perform live, and I didn’t own much of his catalog. But in 2007, a guy named Dave introduced me to The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars on our second date, and I loved it. The album was in heavy rotation during the early part of our courtship, a soundtrack of our studio apartments and cars that we’ve long since sold.
The sense of smell is strongly correlated to memory, but sound must be a close second.
Bowie reminds me of grey Seattle days. Listening to radio station KEXP daily. Taking the bus to work and reading library books on my commute. My last flip phone. My last landline. Learning from the absolute best boss. Binge-watching “6 Feet Under” on my laptop on my bed. Drinking too much beer. Sleeping in. Consignment shopping. Working out whenever I wanted. Browsing Craigslist for mid-century modern furniture. Brunching with friends. Going to shows. Feeling violated when my apartment was burglarized and my MacBook – with all of my music – was stolen. Getting to know a guy who, from the moment we met, I knew I was going to marry.
Deeper into my relationship with Dave, my close friend Erin mailed me a mix CD that happened to include Bowie’s “Modern Love”. That song has energy, it has love, it’s got a solid beat. We played that CD a lot, and to this day the song inspires me to dance, and reminds me of lovely Erin.
I was 28 and felt like my life was happening. I felt like Greta Gerwig in “Frances Ha” (note the incredible use of Bowie).
We played David Bowie at our wedding and while we read books to our new baby Edie. When I hear his music today, it triggers happy memories of days gone by. Like so many musicians and the people that introduced them to my life, Bowie represents a precious moment in time. RIP, Mr. Bowie.