28
Jan 03

JOHN MAYER — ‘Your Body Is a Wonderland’ (a conscientious rebuttal)

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This isn’t the wonderland you’d find a hyperactive grade-school kid pinballing through — sure, the kid’s happy to pull on pant leg & dress hem screaming MOMMY DADDY LET’S GO HERE I WANNA SEE MICKEY WHERES MICKEY MOMMMMMY!, but what about their flagging enthusiasm? Undoubtedly, their once-boundless happiness at seeing little Horatio geek over Captain EO for the 15th time becomes subsumed by sore legs and crotchety financial concerns and those ever-so-brief thoughts to distract their bundle of joy with nice animated rodentia while exiting stage left for a quick soak and a quicker snog.

No, this is a more reasonable type of wonderland, the sort of place that’s always a joy to explore and admire. For me, that’d be the hilly outskirts of my home state, Connecticut. For the 99% of you unfamiliar with the area — ‘outskirts’ in this plot of land equals any area 25 miles to the left or right of the state capital, Hartford (excepting Fairfield County, of course, which I still think is just a part of upstate New York looking for tax breaks from us yokels). If there’s one road, one general store, actual trees, and lots of rusty dilapidated gas stations, then you are definitely skirting the out. Thompsonville, Moodus, Hebron, Canton, New Fairfield, Lebanon, and so on for another 50 towns. Once in a while, my job would lead me to navigate those winding, inhospitable lanes of asphalt slicing through the thatch surrounding these quaint little hamlets. More often than not, I’d grouse and gripe while beat-up trucks nearly knocked me off the slim little bit of road I called mine, or whine that the street-signs / picket-fence-type posts don’t catch the eye of a working tourist gunning past them at approximately 25 MPH. And when it rained or snowed, I did my best to stay the hilly course and avoid flirting with any of the sleepy hollows abutting the road, while stinking up the plush felt interior with my potty mouth. But, of course, once I shut my pseudo-city-slick pie hole, and business was done, and I took a moment to actually look around at the trees and the buildings and the sky and the snow dappling the scenery and that strange, alluring mixture of openness and isolation — well, it’s a cliché because it’s true.

So when John Mayer is half-whispering about this wonderland, he’s not some randy lothario willing to squeeze out a line of bullshit for some lemon-squeeezing action. He’s not even that overly poetic awestruck artiste treasuring each inch of milady’s skin like the water that passes between the lips of a island castaway. He’s the guy waking up at 1 PM on a Sunday afternoon while his girlfriend of 2 or 3 or 5 years sits up in bed, in her glasses, reading Fox Trot, sipping on some coffee, and the light from the bedside lamp mixes with the way the pillow tousled her hair, and he falls in love with her all over again. The song’s not complacent — it’s confident and it’s comfortable. Maybe a little cocky, too — save that ‘if you want love / let’s make it’ line for the gals you pick up after your wonderland kicks you out of Space Mountain, John — but after all this time together, she can see what he really means to say. Of course she puts down the paper and coffee — wouldn’t you?

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