“Strange Condition” by Pete Yorn

“Coffee and cigarettes”, and the conversations that come in-between the exhale and the inhale. The flick of ash into a thrift store ashtray, your crooked smile emerging just as my eyes dart quickly away. The heat of too much turning my cheeks pink. Feeling a little too seen, too soon.

These are the moments that leave imprints deep beneath my skin.

These are the things of memories.

“Strange Condition”, off of Pete Yorn’s debut album, musicforthemorningafter, reminds me of those kinds of memory-making moments.

“Stories and cigarettes,
ruined lives of lesser girls.”

“Strange Condition” by Pete Yorn
from the album, musicforthemorningafter (2001)
Song Of The Day – February 1, 2011

Remembered moments like these, they are made up of stolen hours in those in-between night and day moments. Two people swapping stories for the first time, unpacking late-night confessions, slowly revealing layers of who they really are while partaking in some not-so-good-for-you behaviors. No matter the “not good for you” warnings affixed on the label, I’ve always loved those “coffee and cigarette” conversations.

They are the stuff that start a love story. Exchanges wrapped up in leftover youthful rebellion. Sharing something that felt a little forbidden. Desirous. Full of want, and possibility.

We exchanged words. I remember most of them, or at least the way they made me feel. Words tumbling from our mouths as smoke swirled off pursed lips. Like a kiss, or the promise of one to come. In many ways, moments like those were more intimate than sex.

We each sentence we gave more of ourselves away.

And what happened next? Did the wonder hold on tight, or did a little bit of doubt creep in? A tiny whisper of fear? Those traded slices of our lives, they felt like something I could trust, that I could believe in. Enough to silence my insecurities, and shield me from any warning signs.

Two people willingly exchanging slivers of secrets, showing a little more of ourselves as we sipped our now lukewarm coffee. You reach for the lighter. Sparking another cigarette, the last in the pack. Another thing for us to share. These conversations over “coffee and cigarettes”, did they ruin me? Did they save me?

We were both trying. Prettying up our mortality with lipstick and unshaven shadows.

“Another cup?” you asked. Adding a nip of creamer, and maybe something stronger. A half shot of whiskey to swirl around in the caffeine. Am I remembering that right?

Have you ever fallen in love during a “coffee and cigarettes” night?

I know I have.

We all so desperately want to tell our stories. Longing to be listened to. To be something to remember.

“Strange Condition” by Morgan Page, featuring Lissie

7 thoughts on ““Strange Condition” by Pete Yorn

  1. lyriquediscorde – Los Angeles, California – Los Angeles writer, mother, lover of music, books, film, tv, travel, cooking, jukeboxes, lists, themes, game nights, potlucks, coffee, letters, postcards, and conversation. Ever-evolving, learning, and changing. Every day is another opportunity to do better. 
    lyriquediscorde says:

    it is my favorite album of his, and one of my all-time favorite albums period.

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