You just have to remember how fragile she is. I have to always remember it, and how fragile I am. We met in a cafe in Berkeley fifteen months ago, when she was still married. She was reading a fantasy book and I wasn’t reading anything. We loved each other with one foot out the door. Or we loved passionately, recklessly. We loved each other like we didn’t care if we lived or died or what the world looked like a week from tomorrow.And then we woke up bored, looked around for who else might be in the room.
And she whispered softly in my ear, “We’re doomed. It will never work.”

– Stephen Elliot, “The Score”

“The Score” reminds me of a Mountain Goats song called “Autoclave”, one of the few Mountain Goats songs that actually has a chorus. At first, I just dismissed it as another indie bit, rife with self- pity and written from the depths of John Darnielle’s “tortured” soul. An autoclave is basically a sterilizer, you’ve probably seen one in your dentist’s office. When you think of the whole process of sterilization, you don’t automatically think of death, but that is essentially what takes place when you enclose objects in an environment that is designed specifically to obliterate any form of life. Life as a contaminant, something like that, bacteria after all is a form of life. Just ask the Yakult swallows.

Autoclave’s chorus has the line “No one in her right mind would call my heart her home, my heart’s an autoclave.” Pretty much the same idea as Noah and the Whale’s “Peaceful, The World Lays me Down” with its picture of unsettled lovers who “move from fuck to fuck”. Once emotion comes into play, your autoclave heart makes all the necessary motions to destroy it before it destroys you.

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