Had a wonderful time strolling the boardwalk, taking my shoes off, and putting my toes in the Atlantic Ocean (cold!), watching people. It was a beautiful, warm but not yet hot sunny day -- early to mid-June, when those days can still feel somewhat new to those of us who live in the Northeast and work predominantly inside. Spring had come late, and summer had not yet fully arrived, so the day felt special just for the weather. It didn't matter what else happened at the conference, or if I could make my way back through the traffic to get home in a couple of days. That glorious weather at that particular location on that particular day was enough to make my spirits soar! Taking it all in, I chatted with the vendors, sat on the benches, took photographs, and just genuinely enjoyed how similar the sight all was to the pictures Springsteen's songs always brought to mind when I listened to them. It was one of those rare experiences when an artist's work is full of place -- and when you visit that place, you feel at home simply because you have enjoyed that artist's work for many years before you got there. I remember feeling the same way when I first visited the moors of the Bronte sisters in West Yorkshire, England. Charlotte, Emily, and Anne's house. The graveyard. The mossy, ragged, wild moors all around. I knew that place! What I saw in front of me on that gray, misty day was just what their books had created in my imagination so many times for so many years before. Well, after spending the entire afternoon at Asbury Park, New Jersey, it was time to go back to the conference location to prepare for the banquet a bit later on that evening. I got in my now-hot car, rolled down the windows, and turned on the radio, and there it was -- Bruce Springsteen himself serenading me on the radio with none other than -- "Waitin' on a Sunny Day." How did he know I was there, and how nice of him to greet me to his hometown that way! I cranked it up, left my windows down, and drove down the shore as far as I could before the song and time ran out. One of those perfect drives combined with the perfect music accompaniment, you know? The song is actually from Springsteen's post 9/11 album, The Rising, though it was reportedly written before the 9/11 attacks. In the context of that album, the simple pop melody and lyrics recall an earlier, more innocent time and a desire to find happiness and peace of mind yet again. While the lyrics make it clear the day is not yet here, the melody makes it sound like the sunny day is not far away. It is not a deeply poetic song, but its lightheartedness fits its theme. As, for me, now it's a car song and has joined my favorite driving songs playlist. And, at least for now, until another memory adds to it, whenever I hear it, it will always make me think of that sunny Friday afternoon, driving along Asbury Park and the Jersey shore in June of 2013!
2013 U.S. Grand Prix: COTA plans fan experiences