Song #9 // Robert Ellis, “Drivin'” [Robert Ellis]

No one tells you much about love. No one tells you about the guilt, and feeling of unworth. No one tells you about they inbetweens of love and hate and jealousy and sympathy and pity and need. No one draws you a Venn diagram, points, and says It’s right there!

We learn about love through songs and books and movies and TV and porn and poems and greeting cards. We learn through watching and listening, eventually feeling, around in the dark. We learn to reconcile our desires with our abilities and our capability to express it all. It very rarely turns out.

And so we stumble by ourselves, bruising and wrecking people along the way, the way an unmoored boat does more damage to other boats and docks than it does to itself, a battered but yet seaworthy vessel.

How can I explain to myself? To myself yesterday, or years ago. How can I explain to you? As a warning or a confession.

How can I receive a hug from my daughter in the evening, her love and belonging visceral in need and expression, while in the morning she saw me screaming, impatient, unable to accept the role of a father not in control in most parts of his life?

How can I receive that hug, feel so much guilt, feel so much self-loathing, feel so much sadness that comes with age, and yet squeeze her so tight? Squeeze her and tell her I love her, and mean it?

I’d listened to this song dozens of times (and liked it) before I studied the lyrics. It was then that I fell in love with it. It said everything: about the times I drove around the Presidio before heading home on Greenwich, about the times I’d run out to the football field on Sundays to watch the sun go down, about the times I needed to know everyone I loved was safe and happy even though I felt like I couldn’t make them either. And yet the longing, the waiting, wins out

This don’t feel like living
It’s just surviving.
I ain’t going nowhere
I’m just drivin’