Song of the Day #268: ‘Closing Up’ – Witness UK

underasunWitness UK’s album Under a Sun was a serendipitous find. Years ago, it was playing while I browsed a used CD shop and after hearing three songs I walked up to the counter and told the guy I wanted to buy it. If that guy hadn’t opted to play that CD at that moment, I’m sure I never would have heard of this band in my life.

Now obviously that wouldn’t be the end of the world, and I could also choose to look at it the other way and imagine all the great albums out there I don’t know about because they haven’t been playing in a used CD shop right when I walked in. But I prefer to celebrate the happy accidents rather than dwell on the missed opportunities. So even though I don’t play it very often, this album has always been special to me for what it represents.

Jumping from the minor victory of a chance record store discovery to something much more meaningful… I often think in these terms about the first time I really had a conversation with my wife, the moment our friendship began.

We both worked at a movie theater on the 4th floor of an outdoor mall and one day started talking/flirting during an elevator ride from the lowest level of the parking garage. And the thing is, I never took the elevator… normally I parked higher in the garage and even when I didn’t I took the stairs. But that day, for some reason, I took the elevator. And she happened to take the elevator too. And if we hadn’t? Who knows. We probably would have interacted at work at some other time in some other way. But when you can point to such a specific moment and say “this began here” it’s scary to think of how close that moment was to not happening.

To single in on an even more perilous moment… I had worked at the same theater during summer break a year earlier and I had no intention of working there again. But I happened to be watching a movie when one of the managers recognized me from the summer before and asked if I’d like to come back. Now if that hadn’t happened, I almost certainly wouldn’t have met Alex, elevator or not. So do I owe my marriage, my kids, my life to a movie theater manager who needed another usher? Weird.

It’s cold out here mother, what you doing to me?
This isn’t my idea of good company
It seems like I’ve heard everything I need to have heard
But I still don’t understand a word

The humor here is dry I don’t get the joke
I seem to attract the weirdest folk
Our minds are of the same kind, they’re tired and worn
We were born in a strange time to be born

Closing up on reasoning, closing up on the middle ground
Into the night time mind and the day time grind
And the finding strength and the first light of morning
And before I risk all that to relying on luck
I’m closing, closing up, I’m closing up

Well, I drink another drink but I pace myself
If I want a good life I must take care of my health
Think about tomorrow, tie up all the loose ends
Never forget who are my real friends

Closing up on reasoning, closing up on the middle ground
Into the night time mind and the day time grind
And the finding strength and the first light of morning
And before I risk all that to relying on luck
I’m closing, closing up, I’m closing up

Did you hear about the man
Who wrote the story of his life
On the back of his hand?
He gotta start his life over again

Look round for someone to blame
When it all got washed up in the rain
He gotta start his life over again

Closing up on reasoning, closing up on the middle ground
Into the night time mind and the day time grind
And the finding strength and the first light of morning
And before I risk all that to relying on luck
I’m closing, closing up, I’m closing up

6 thoughts on “Song of the Day #268: ‘Closing Up’ – Witness UK

  1. Dana says:

    I think the question is what movie were you watching when the manager approached you? Perhaps you owe Steven Segal a thiank you card:)

    These important moments in time in our lives as you describe them are precisiely what makes all of these time travel stories so fascimating, whether it be the Terminator or Back to the Future or Lost. This notion that altering one moment, one event could have such a monumental impact upon the future, whether it be in just a personal sense or in a broader geo-political sense. Of course, what I find fascinating about the way Lost deals with this premise is that, in Lost, it seems that you really can’t ultimately alter the future. The “island” or fate or whatever will just keep restacking the deck until the key event takes place. If you are supposed to meet wsomeone, you will meet that person, maybe not the way it was supposed to happen, but it will happen, and if you are supposed to meet your maker, you will.

    Anyway, it is fascinating food for thought. I, for one, am happy that Amy didn’t get into Georgetown, so that we could have the opportunity to become best friends and then life partners. And I’m happy that you took the elevator that day, as I’m sure your parents are because it was looking for awhile there like you might NEVER move out of that house:)

  2. pegclifton says:

    well, you could have stayed as long as you wanted Clay, but we also are happy that you took the job and the elevator that day. I’m also happy that 47 years ago I made my mother happy and went to Haulover beach (I didn’t want to go that day) and Dad happened to be visiting from New York and the rest is history 🙂

  3. Amy says:

    I decided to listen to the song that began this provocative discussion, and, within just a few bars, I’m completely hooked. Yeah, I can see why this would have led you to buy the album immediately. I’m ready to go download it from itunes right now. Why haven’t you ever recommended this album before, I find myself wondering.

    As for the whole serendipity/fate deal, I can make myself (and have made myself) crazy thinking about all the permutations of it. I do believe that you would have met and spoken to my future sister-in-law regardless of whether you had taken the elevator that day, but I also believe that had you been approached for a summer job at some retail store instead, you may be making the same comment about your other wife and other children. There is some man I otherwise could have married and other children I might have otherwise had. Hell, had our father decided not to go to Haulover beach the day he did on the vacation he took from New York, he would never have met our mother, and then all of our children couldn’t be our children 😉 It’s mind boggling.

    Regardless, I’m very happy it all worked out – for all of us – exactly as it did. And Georgetown can bite me 😉

  4. Amy says:

    🙂 I just posted my comment, which I was writing before I ever refreshed the page and saw Mom’s comment. Yes, I’m very glad you finally agreed to go to the beach that day!

  5. Clay says:

    I wish I remembered what movie that was. If only I’d been blogging then!

    While I love what Lost is doing, I don’t subscribe to that deterministic philosophy where everything is fated to happen one way or another. I definitely fall on the side of blind chance.

  6. Dana says:

    I also don’t subscribe to the Lost theory.

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