This story first appeared in the February 2003 issue of SPIN.
I was quitting a pack-a-day habit. My ex-girlfriend was getting married. The rent was due. The Paxil and Xanax just weren’t helping with the existential dread anymore. So when Irish New Age siren Enya’s four-CD box set, Only Time: The Collection, arrived, I shelved the chemical crutches and absorbed all 50 tracks in four hours. After all, 60 million health-spa owners, senior citizens, and relatives of coma victims can’t be wrong.
Noon Enya hits several high notes on “Exile.” Each time, my neck vibrates with pain. Rise. Light cigarette. Feel guilty and weak. Want to hurt Enya.
12:10 P.M. Admit harp washes on “Aldebaran” are really pretty. Imagine floating in space. Feel guilty for wanting to hurt Enya. And for smoking. Wonder if Enya smokes.
12:30 P.M. “Storms in Africa.” Resistance gives way to blissful surrender, interrupted only by vague worry that neighbors will hear me weeping.
12:35 P.M. Think about ex-girlfriend.
12:40 P.M. “The Memory of Trees.” Think about weeping willow behind my childhood home on Long Island instead of ex.
1:00 P.M. Take subway uptown. “Only Time” on Discman. Recall that this was CNN’s theme for its post-9/11 coverage. Wonder if passengers are strapped with explosives.
1:30 P.M. Check balance at bank. “Song of the Sandman (Lullaby)” plays as ATM spits out receipt. Can’t pay rent. Enya not helping.
2:20 P.M. “Wild Child” not entirely unsexy. Wonder if Enya is single.
2:30 P.M. Thoughts return to financial woes. Enya is rich.
3:10 P.M. “Oiche Chiuin (Silent Night).” Wonder if I could learn Enya-speak. And tell my landlord I’m broke in Enya-speak.
4:00 P.M. Pass local bar. Wonder if I could sue Enya if I cut wrists with shattered pieces of Enya’s CD. Decide against it. Feel peaceful. Wash down Xanax with Stoli rocks.