Words by Sean Moeller, Illustration by Johnnie Cluney, Recording engineered by Mike Gentry
It's quite a serious deal to buy a house. There's no fucking around there. You have to make sure that you're certain you want to do it because there's no simple undoing of the act. You find a place that you could see yourself living in for what could be a large percentage of your life. You should understand the lawn that you'll despise every spring, summer and fall, as your greatest nuisance. You get the house thoroughly inspected by someone who does that for a living - someone who knows what to look for in a healthy chimney, in a sump pump, floor beams, furnace and more. You find a bank that will loan you the obscene amount of money that it's going to take to wrest it away from the people wishing to sell it. Then you have to furnish it. Then you have to maintain it. All of that has to happening, but there are quality checks and balances in place (when the system is done right and fairly, away from the hands and claws of predators) to make sure that you're really able to do such a thing. It's not going to kill you, or even mess you up all that much. It amounts to a huge deal, but with a multitude of precautions for the peace of mind and the protection.
The same should happen when two people decide that they'd like to get involved with one another intimately. There should be background checks and some kicking of the tires. There should be full disclosure and recorded proof of the character that you'll be connected with for however long you can take it, because frankly, most relationships wind up in that phase - just withstanding, not enjoying them, and then arrives the long overdue split. But this never happens. We don't have the resources. We're willing to base our foolish decisions on an idiotic set of data acquired within the first few moments of meeting, which is heavily weighed in the categories of face, chest and clothing. We just grin and bear it when it's, once again determined, that we should never base human relationships strictly on face, chest and clothing, no matter how much we always want to.
Austin band One Hundred Flowers, led by the wonderful songwriting of Harrison Speck and the voices of he, Eva Mueller and Amber Nepodal, bring to mind these ways in which we're routinely demonstrating our inadequacies when it comes to love. It's usually just one faulty body reaching out to another attractive, but likely just as faulty body and the results are predictable. They are so predictable, in fact, that we don't think anything of them. We just marvel at the ways in which we're not suited or equipped for very much at all. We're so quick to commit to another person and yet we're going to take our fine time and pick the place that is essentially just a holder of our stuff. Love and the messing around with it, the experimenting and tinkering with it are just frivolous endeavors that we dive into absently. Whatever, right? Oh, but they turn so bad sometimes. They turn great on the rare occasions, but they turn bad so much more often. Though, because we're so used to that, we barely get affected. We hear the kind of music that One Hundred Flowers gives - something akin to a fresh spring, a picnic on a pleasant summer's day and a garden being pollinated - with piano keys tinkling and voices joining with harmonious touches, and we mistakenly hear little wrong with the world. It's likely a ruse, but what's really the alternative? Wizening up? Hardly gonna happen. As Speck sings, "We take our stories and try to sustain."
**Essay originally published February, 2012