Sometimes, a song captures a moment. That’s how I felt the second time I played John Mayer’s “Love on the Weekend” on guitar.
The same week the song came out, I was strumming the song in the living room of a janky old house in Chapel Hill that I live in with five other guys. After asking two of them if they knew how to play it, I showed them the simple chord progression and we jammed out. Just like we always do.
But instead of slouching on the gaudy red-and-gold 1970’s couch we got from a friend, like normal, we wandered around the room. There was no crowd, but there was a performance. Necks craned, voices creaked and the floor stretched while we played and danced. Eyes closed.
Somehow, after only listening to it a few times, it felt like we were capturing the heart of the song: the pining for love, the desire for adventure and the realization that sometimes, love doesn’t work out the way you hoped.
We shared those thoughts, and hearing them through the croon of Mayer with the backing of his melodic guitar riff just felt right.
Love is a hard thing. It seems to come and go. We hear about it in music, we watch versions of it on screens, we think we find it when our eye catches something, or someone, beautiful. But it’s more complicated than anyone says. It can make a grown man pull out his hair until he finally gets a phone call. It can make his grown-man friends jump and yell in elation. It can make people do crazy things.
It makes Mayer sing, “I gotta leave ya, it’s gonna hurt me,” and later, “I’m busted up but I’m loving every minute of it.”
Playing this song is one of the last memories I have living in that old house on Ransom Street, and I’ll cherish that forever.
That house is a place where I learned to love so many things: coffee, podcasts and longboarding are just a few. But it’s also a place where I learned about heartbreak. I heard the depths of my friends’ hearts spilled on the floor, and saw them pick the clumps up and move on too many times.
When we pour our hearts out, we don’t always get everything we gave back.
But if I’ve learned one thing from the outstanding men I’ve been able to live with, it’s this: When the world gives you hate, give it love right back.
That’s what people admire about my housemates. No matter the odds, no matter the situation, no matter the cost; they love unconditionally. That’s why their friends love them, their peers are impressed by them and their competitors respect them. There’s nothing more valiant, or valuable, than loving others and genuinely caring about their lives.
I don’t think John Mayer’s song is about the unconditional love of my friends, but I do think it’s about the possible joy and inevitable pain you get when you give your love away.
Take a listen. Sure, you won’t be able to get the song out of your head — but even if you could you won’t want to.