Saturday, January 21, 2006


“Wherever you go, whatever you do
I will be right here, waiting for you.
Whatever it takes, or how my heart breaks
I will be right here waiting for you.”

--Richard Marx, “I Will Be Right Here Waiting For You,” later covered by Bryan Adams

I’m sitting in a tiny little coffee shop right now. There are eight other people here (including the baristas). Some of us drink coffee, some of us drink hot chocolate (me). Three of us type on laptops.

In the corner, there is a man playing guitar and singing songs by Bryan Adams. (Honestly, that’s all he sings. Songs written by, or once covered by, Bryan Adams.) He’s probably somewhere in his ‘50s. Slightly over-weight. Red hair. Grizzled face.

This man in the corner playing guitar and singing songs written by (or once covered by) Bryan Adams—he’s not very good. His guitar playing is okay at best. (It’s better than mine, but that’s not saying much, seeing as I’ve never played a lick in my life.) And his voice is, well, not very good at all. (It’s better than Tom Waits’ voice, but that’s not saying much because, well, the reason Tom Waits’ voice is so good is because it’s not good. Hm. So maybe me saying this guy in the corner’s voice is “not very good at all” is actually a compliment.)

There is a woman sitting across from me. She’s probably somewhere in her ‘50s too, but I’ll say she’s somewhere in her ‘40s in case she reads my blog. She’s thin. Asian. Professional looking. (She wears a pants suit.)

This professional looking, thin, Asian woman sitting across from me—she’s in a sexual relationship with the man in the corner playing guitar and singing songs by Bryan Adams (if not written by him, then once covered by him, and I'm gonna stop mentioning that because I think you get the picture). I don’t know if they’re married, or if they’re dating, or if they’re only lovers—but they were holding hands when they came into the coffeeshop. (That’s how I know they’re together.)

Whatever they are to each other, she definitely loves him. I can tell this because she’s singing along with him to every Bryan Adams song he sings. (Which, in and of itself, is obviously love. If I wanted to sit in the corner of a coffeeshop and sing Bryan Adams songs and you wanted to sing along with me, I would know we were in love.) This woman, she's not singing along with him in a loud obnoxious way. She's not even singing in a remotely obvious way. She’s just sitting there, quietly singing to herself. (Actually, I don’t think there’s even any breath coming out of her mouth, I don’t think she’s making a sound—she’s just mouthing the words. Mouthing the words along with him and smiling.)

She doesn’t look at him. The way she’s sitting, she’s not even facing him, she’s facing me.

So this man in the corner playing guitar and singing songs by Bryan Adams—he’s singing his Bryan Adams songs to the back of her head. You can see that he’s sending them in her direction--but she doesn’t want to take them. Not right now, anyway. Right now, she wants him to have this moment with his public, with his people, his audience. (All eight of us.) She doesn’t want to take anything away from this moment, which she knows he needs.

A few moments ago, he launched into “I Will Be Right Here Waiting For You,” and this woman sitting across from me…she smiled a big smile. She started nodding her head. She mouthed the words with even more conviction than she had before.

This is their song.

“Wherever you go, whatever you do
I will be right here, waiting for you.
Whatever it takes, or how my heart breaks
I will be right here waiting for you.”

She knows he is not a great singer. She knows he is not a great guitar player. But she also knows how much he loves this, his rock star moment. So she will let him have it.

She will let him have this moment with the rest of us, his audience.

And then she will go home with him, and she will be his, and he will be hers, and there will be no more waiting.


Sherril said...

I just love your blog. I recently started my own and with one exception of a woman who found me and comes back regularly (I love her for that), I don't seem to be able yet to generate dialog.
I am commenting here on your request from your Profile about the 365 new things to do this coming year. You live in CA, so my suggestion is probably old hat for you, but take a look at this post on my blog for my recommendation of something new to do (at least it was new for me, but then I'm from NJ).

Sherril (the same Sherril who commented on your Pee Post).

Poop (aka Aimie) said...

sorry sweetest pea, that's richard marx, not bryan adams. i saw him twice in concert growing up, not my choice, either. ooh, i'm embarrassed that i know this. must stop talking now...

Poop (aka Aimie) said...

and, more than that, now that i've read the rest, all i can say is....


thank you.

Bonnie said...

Actually WORKED for the man (Richard Marx) and helped catch his stalker well over a decade ago. Definitely, those are Richard's lyrics.

But, agreed. Great blog. Inspiring.

Erik said...

Sherril, it's funny how when you live in a place you often never do the things that that place is known for. But when you visit a place, you hit everything. Like, for example, I lived in London for 4 months, and I know that city like the back of my hand. I think I have been in every single theater in the city, (I saw 60something plays in 4 months, some crazy number like that), I have definitely eaten in every single Indian restaurant in the city (and lord knows London has a lot of Indian restaurants), and I made a point of exploring every square inch of the city I possibly could. In 4 months. Meanwhile, in 28 or so years in or near Los Angeles, have I been inside every theater? Have I eaten at every restaurant? Not quite, and I doubt it. Anyway, all of this is to say that I have never been to Napa Valley and thank you for the suggestion!

Erik said...

dear poop (aims), in my defense, I think that Bryan Adams at least covered the song at some point in his career. But he sure didn't write it. I googled this Richard Marx fellow you and Bonnie are talkin' about and apparently I'm late to the Richard Marx party, and apparently he wrote "I Will Be Right Here Waiting For You." Which kind of throws my whole "every song the guy sang was a Bryan Adams song" thing into question, and the thing is, this man who was singing the songs credited several of them to Bryan Adams and I kind of just assumed the ones he hadn't given credit to anyone for were also written by Mr. Adams, but I am by no means the authority on Bryan Adams, so it looks like I was wrong on that front.

He might not have had red hair either. It looked red to me, but I am color blind and sometimes hair color eludes me. Case in point: a couple of months ago, I was having dinner with my Emily M. and she said something along the lines of, "as a redhead," and I looked at her, like: "Um, what? You're a redhead???" And she was like, "um, yeah." This was a shocking moment for me because I have known Emily for 7 or 8 years and I always thought she had blonde hair.

So. To sum up: Maybe some of the songs this man sang weren't Bryan Adams songs, and maybe he didn't have red hair (but maybe he did); still: everything about the woman is true; and still: it's just past 3am right now and all I can think is about how those two love birds--the singin' man and his mouthin' woman--are in bed together right now, their arms around each other.

Erik said...

Bonnie, I defer to you on all things Richard Marx!

I actually found your blog through Colleen's blog (communicatrix) a week ago or so and have been reading it ever since. I love my new world of blogs. Nice to meet you (electronically).

Anonymous said...

The best Bryan Adams cover I've heard was Ms. Tina Poppy's rendition of 'Summer of 69.' But I would really like to do a version of 'Cuts like a Knife' (na na na NA NA NA na na na na), 'cause it feels sooooo right.

Erik said...

I just reread my previous comment about hair color and I want to point out that I'm not just some idiot who things redheaded people are blonde. Actually, I am colorblind and often get many colors wrong.

Erik said...

Lindsay, I miss hearing you sing!

jenny said...

Really love this post, Erik. Very sweet.

Monets said...

This was my favorite entry yet. I love your writing, Erik!

Erik said...

thank you jenny and monets...

Anonymous said...

Hey Erik,

Glad you enjoyed my guitar playing and Bryan Adams medley...just's your cousin Ilene! I have a gig tomorrow night, and though I was planning on doing my own songs, I'm now thinking Richard Marx! If no more than eight people show up, I'll start my career at Starbucks on Wednesday. Hope you can make it! Oh yeah, and my manager sends her love as she is also here with me and we can't stop laughing at your blog! It's awesome!
Oh, and one more thing...when are you coming to Tennessee? It'll give you another new thing and some undoubtedly humorous stuff to write about!

Erik said...

ilene, i would feel so bad if the guy who did the Richard Marx set read my blog and read that i thought he was so bad! you made my heart skip a beat! and i'm jealous that you and jill are hanging out right now. i wanna come to tennessee. gonna have to figure that out...(by the way, are you gonna be out here in august for the family circle?)

the shorter story... said...

oh my are so fricken hilarious! so, i get a request on myspace from ms. uma...i learn through that, by the way, that you also have a myspace. why don't u wanna be my friend? :( j/k

so, i saw this link on uma's blog and was really impressed. love this kinda stuff! i felt like i was right there with you. i even started singing along...

love u!
your cuz

p.s. my name's on your blog site...i feel special :) you're forgiven for not being my myspace friend.

the shorter story... said... added me as one of your oh-so-special 'friends of myspace' are forgiven

Erik said...

well, i just asked you to be my myspace friend, so after giving me all of that grief YOU BETTER SAY YES.

Erik said...

oh, you did say yes, and I'm already late. look, we're both commenting at almost the exact same time.

Joe Chandler said...

Are we sure Bryan Adams covered the song? I spent a lot of time on AllMusic today trying to justify my post that defended you, but I couldn't find anything that proved he covered it. There was the Robin Hood song which for some reason feels like the same song, but isn't. Anyways I scrapped my post and went with this. Too bad, the other post was much better. Let's just say I mentioned David Lee Roth and leave it at that.

Erik said...

Joe--several thoughts:

1. I want to read the post that you scrapped. Even if Bryan Adams never did cover this song, and your defense of me is all bunk, I still want to read it. If you still have it and didn't go and delete it. (Why do we even have delete keys? I mean, really.)

2. I'm starting to get really embarrassed because what if Bryan Adams never covered this song?

3. The thing is, I've already edited this post once. The first time I wrote it, I said all out that it was a Bryan Adams song, but then I was put in my place, which is a good thing because I don't want people thinking I'm some sort of James Frey type, even though I realize that being wrong about who sings a particular song is nothing like James Frey, still I don't want any unfavorable comparisons like that, so I edited the post so that it would say "written by Richard Marx and once covered by Bryan Adams," and I said it many times to try to make a joke of my own ignorance of that fact, or something like that, but still, and maybe because of all of this:

4. I'm starting to get really embarrassed because what if Bryan Adams never covered this song?

5. The other thing is, Joe, when I read in your comment the thing about how "there was the Robin Hood song which for some reason feels like the same song, but isn't," well, I got even more nervous, because honestly, um:

6. I thought this WAS the Robin Hood song.

7. Which was definitely sung by Bryan Adams. And which isn't to say that Bryan Adams never covered THIS song, but it sure as hell is starting to make it look like maybe he didn't.

8. Holy hell.

9. And another thing, I swear this guy at the coffee shop kept saying, "and that was Bryan Adams, from 1991," or various other things he would say to attribute a particular song to Bryan Adams, and how weird is it for him to sing Bryan Adams whole reporatoire (that is so not how you spell that word, but who's too laze to spellcheck right now? and who's to lazy to go to right now as well? me.) and then for him to only sing one non-Adams song? I mean, really, it's kinda weird.

10. Unless that's what makes it special--like really, really special. Unless that's what really makes it their song. The thing that they have that's unique from the rest of his set.

11. This is just one giant rabbit hole.

12. Speaking of the song from Robin Hood, my high school girlfriend Shirley, (who I have written about in a previous post, and Shirley, if you ever read this comment, I'm sorry I never responded to your email, but I didn't really know how to respond, and I hope you're doing well, and you won the race for Thespian Club President fair and square, and no, I'm not bitter, I was just joking about being bitter), well, the theme to Robin Hood was OUR SONG when we were dating, and maybe my brain did some weird time warp confusion thing and heard this Richard Marx song and then thought, "wow, that sounds like the Robin Hood song by Bryan Adams, therefore this song is totally by Bryan Adams too."

13. Like, you know?

14. Speaking of David Lee Roth, I once had this very vivid dream about Van Halen. (I can still visualize it, like, vividly.) I was in the parking lot outside of Studio 9, this recording studio on Santa Monica Blvd. at El Centro, and I was trying to get inside the recording studio because I knew that Van Halen was inside recording and I absolutely had to get in and they wouldn't let me even thought I told them I was in the band. I was heartbroken that they wouldn't let me in and I kept banging on the door. This is an especially weird dream because I've never been much of a Van Halen fan and so why would I want to be in the band so badly?

15. I had this dream in college, so don't try to do a dream analysis on me, because if it means anything about me, it means something about the college me, not the current me.

16. If I had the dream right now, I would dream that I was in INXS because JD Fortune is dreamy. I mean, truly. He is. Did you watch ROCK STAR: INXS? Because it was one of the most brilliant things. I had the opportunity to see a taping of the show (Marvin, I don't know if you read my blog, but if you do, thank you for the tickets--just thinking about that day right now puts a big ol' smile on my face) and JD Fortune live was just amazing. So was Suzy McNeil. Sweet Suzy McNeil. Apparently she had a fling with Hank Azaria and Dave Navarro made a few jokes about it during the taping, but then they had cut those moments out of the show when I watched it that night. But even though I loved Suzy, JD still deserved to win. He's got the whole rock star swagger and sultry thing going. Unlike Marty. Crazy Marty. Marty scared the shit out of me. If I saw Marty walking towards me on the street, I would cross the street, that's how scary he is.

17. I wonder if anyone is still reading this comment thread or if people are like, "dude, why is he still talking about ROCK STAR: INXS. Like, it's so over."

18. My favorite INXS song is Never Tear Us Apart. Great song, right? Let's leave it at that.

Joe Chandler said...

Erik...Wow, so much to respond too.

I didn't delte my comment persay(that doesn't look right). But I did close the window and thus lost it. I said something along the lines of:

Erik, don't listen to these people. It's not about who wrote the song, it's about who defined it for you. A lot of people would say that they love the song "Just A Gigolo" by David lee Roth. When in actuality the song was written by Julius Brammer/Irving Caesar/Leonello Casucci. Who the fuck are those guys? It doesn't matter because as far as I'm concerned Louis Prima wrote the damn song. The person who played it for YOU first is the person who wrote it.

Imagine that paragraph but really eloquent. I think I then said something about Robin Hood. Because I too thought that song was the Robin Hood song, because they just have to be the same thing. If you played me either song I would say, "that's the song from Robing Hood." And if you told me I was wrong I would argue, and if you argued back I would probably be willing to come to blows, because I so firmly believe that it is the Robin Hood song until I go on write amazing reviews) and find out I'm wrong. So don't feel bad.

Of course the entire thing was rendered moot when I looked to see if Bryan Adams covered that song and i found out that I was talking about the Robin Hood song.

I had a dream where I was a professional baseball player. But I was still me and therefore I was really bad at baseball and it was a horrible nightmare and I woke up sweaty and scared. Then I went back to sleep and dreamt I was a pro hockey player and I was really good.

That dream was three weeks ago. Please analyze me because I'm flabbergasted.

Erik said...

Are you now, or have you ever been, from Canada? Because maybe that would explain the hockey thing.

(I know you're not from Canada.)

Erik said...

But Uma is from Canada--maybe she could explain the hockey dream thing? And have you ever played hockey ever? And in the dream, was it ice hockey or field hockey?

Erik said...

And also, Joe, good point:

Even if Bryan Adams never sung that song (sang that song?), he still sung it (sang it) in my mind. He still defined it for me. I stand by Bryan Adams as at least someone who covered it.

Monets said...

Okay, it was driving me crazy so I quick looked it up and it appears that Bryan Adams DID cover that song. I had only ever heard the Richard Marx version so I didn't expect to find it listed under Bryan Adams, but there it was. In several places. I'd include a link but I'm too lazy - anyway it's easy to find.

Anonymous said...

Yes, yes. It's all about who covered it IN YOUR HEAD. Right here waiting for you/Everything I do I do it for you. I hear a medley in my head and it is WILDLY FRIGHTENING.

I was really dissappointed when I just logged in and there was no new post, but then was so happy to find your uber-long comment hidden away here like a gem. or like a jem.

xo Lindsay

Joe Chandler said...

I played hockey as a kid. But I played baseball as a kid. I really like Canada. I really like Uma. I never played field hockey. None of this will ever make any sense. I'm so scared.

Anonymous said...

Yes I'll be at the family circle! Sorry I made your heart skip a beat....but wasn't it worth the laugh? Jill said it was. (:

We anxiously await your trip here THIS year for new thing # ???

Erik said...

Lindsay, I'm glad you thought my comment above was gemlike. The last few days have been crazy and I haven't been able to put together a real post, but I will have one up soonish. I promise.

Erik said...

Monets, thank you thank you thank you for the confirmation / validation.

Erik said...

Joe--don't be scared.

Erik said...

and Ilene, my heart skipped a beat in a good way, and yes, I definitely did laugh.

Anonymous said...

tina poppy says: when i used to cover "summer of '69," it occured to me once how fun(ny) it would be to break into a bryan adams medley at the end. so, one time and one time only, towards the end of "summer of '69," where it just repeats, "it was the summer of '69, oh yeah..." so i just switched up the chords and sang, "look into my eyes, you will see, what you mean to me" *which IS the robin hood song* and then i straightaway ended with, "oh, thinking about all our younger years," which is the first line in bryan adams' long-forgotten hit ballad, "heaven." (singing): " was only you and me, we were young and wild and free..."

Erik said...

tina! i love when you do medleys at the ends of songs! that bryan adams medley sounds like something adam would do at the end of 'round here.' i want to go to a tina poppy concert again soon.