Happy Birthday, Justin!

You remember Justin. I talked about him a while back in my Please Go Away post, and have alluded to him once or twice since then. “Ah yes,” you say, “it’s all coming back to me now.”

Well let me take you back even further, to the day when Jason Mraz brought us two crazy kids a little bit closer together, forming a Mraztastic bond that has lasted lo all these, um, two and a half years, hither and yon, there and back again.

Twas the winter of aught four. I was hanging out at Justin’s barren bachelor pad in Oakland’s Chinatown. We were sitting on the floor because that was the only option. (The boy had like $4,000 in bicycles, but no couch. Oh, the priorities of youth.) He also was without cable, so for entertainment I brought along the new Jason Mraz DVD. I had only known Justin a few months, and mostly by email, but I knew he was into all kinds of music so I wanted to introduce him the beauty and magic of a live Jason Mraz. I figured he would either love him or hate him, and I was right. In fact, he loved the show so much, I think I was shushed a couple of times, and when I suggested turning it off so we could talk, or eat, or whatever, he just sort of ignored me and instead muttered, “Wow, this guy is really something.”

And yes, Justin is completely straight, but that doesn’t matter. In fact, I’m reminded of my friend Steve’s wedding that took place a couple of years ago. At the end of the night as the reception was winding down, my friends popped on a quick Mraz video – a little acoustic set and some light banter – and with his beautiful new wife by his side, minutes away from his honeymoon, Steve blubbered, “I’m so gay for Mraz.” To which his bride sighed, “Well, he’s not going to want to sleep with me tonight.” Sorry, Sarah, but that’s some tough competition.

Anyway, Justin enjoyed the DVD more than I could have imagined, so when Mraz went on tour with Alanis in 2005, we grabbed tickets and had an amazing time watching both the Prophet and the EarthMotherMusic Goddess. When Mraz hit Lake Tahoe this past January we managed an overnight road trip, a sort of pilgramage where (enter dramatic chick flick music) we learned about ourselves, about each other, about us, about who we are and who we can be, about life, about the complete uselessness of mapquest, and about the power of acoustic music played by a well-mannered, wild-haired young man who I could try to describe in another very long way just to drag out this bad movie-trailer sentence even further, but I think I’m over it now so I’ll just leave it at that.

We also drank and gambled and had a lovely chat with a cab driver. An audiotantric time was had by all.

And even though I know Justin and I would still be close even without our Mraz bond, I think my memories that include a soundtrack by Mr. A-Z  are some of my favorites. He brings out the best in us, and I think we in turn bring out the best in each other.

Side note – For his birthday present, I treated Justin to the Mars Volta on Saturday. I’ll sum the show up for you as best I can: Skinny little men with a huge presence. Also very loud. Singer is bat shit crazy, likes to writhe, flail and throw things. We get it guys, you’re crazy talented, crazy experimental, and just plain crazy. And loud. Now can you play something recognizable? Thanks. Love your hair, I hope it wins.

The show was followed by an attempted dinner, cut short by fisticuffs between the cook and a customer and then the arrival of police. One thing I can say about Justin, he only takes a lady to the classiest of places.

Love ya, babe. Have a beautiful new year of your life.

Like tiny little catacombs of delight, (that’s classic Justin, not Jason),


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