Nancy Slotnick: Vienna Waits for You

Some of you are too young to be Billy Joel fans.  I’m just young enough to admit it, and yet old enough to see it as retro chic.  Regardless of the complexity of my Billy Joel fan status, I had to bring him up today because his song Vienna keeps ringing in my head.  So it must mean something, despite the fact that I don’t want to recommend you take relationship advice from Billy Joel.  But his poetry is another matter entirely.

Vienna waits for you.  I’ve never been to Vienna, but I think I know what he means.  What is your Vienna?  I’m asking myself this lately.  What is that dream of yours that you might be missing because you’re “so ahead of yourself that you forgot what you need”?  Slow down you crazy child!  It’s so weird- we have to slow down so we can speed up our dreams?   Hard to understand but it’s true.  You can get what you want or you can just get old.

In 2006 I wrote a book entitled Turn Your Cablight On: Get your Dream Man in 6 Months or Less.  What does Dream Man mean for you?  Can he still be the man of your dreams once he’s a reality?  You know how they say—Be careful what you wish for, because you might get it.  Once you get it, it’s hard to remember how to appreciate it.

In 1996 when I was single and about to open my dating-café, Drip, I chose an architect for the project who was also a college classmate of mine.  We’ll call her Amanda, because that’s her name.  I won’t say her last name, because this story could be a little embarrassing but it’s totally flattering.  So I’m walking with Amanda and she realizes she has to go to her apartment to get some architectural plans.  She invites me up to her apartment, but stops first for some instruction: “When we go up to my apartment, you’re probably going to meet my husband.  So, I have to warn you, he’s a babe.”  Well, I have heard a lot of things in my life, but that one was without a doubt the coolest thing I had ever heard anyone say.  Still is.  I really don’t even know why she felt the need to say it but it was so cute.  (And, yes, he is a babe.)

And I was single at the time and I thought—“I want to feel like that about my husband when I have one.”  And, thankfully, I do.  But I am not nearly bold enough to warn people about it.  Plus my husband wouldn’t really want me to talk about him in an objectifying way.  (It’s a good thing he doesn’t read my blog.)

Vienna waited for me.  I got there.  But that song is still ringing in my head- there must be a reason!  I think it’s because there’s a natural tendency to get complacent with what we have.  The anticipation of what you might get has a much more powerful pull.  Once you have it, it can start to feel anti-climactic.  But dreams and climaxes are a state of mind anyway.  And I’m in a New York state of mind.  Oops- wrong Billy Joel song- sorry!

You can get what your want or you can just get old.  I don’t want to just get old; I know that.  I have what I want, but I’ve never been to Vienna.  Vienna waits for you.  When will I realize?

If I’m so smart then why am I still so afraid?  So much good stuff in this song- I think I know now why it’s sticking in my head so much.  But there is one part where I take issue with the fine Mr. Joel.  I don’t believe that only fools are satisfied.  I get what he’s saying and I always strive for self-improvement.  But I intend to be satisfied.   And I do believe that dream can come true.  That’s why I don’t take relationship advice from Billy Joel.  And he had something to say to me about that: “Though you can see when you’re wrong, you know you can’t always see when you’re right.  You’re right.”  So I guess I must be.  Vienna waits for me!


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