The introduction to “Yes Maybe No,” by Telephone Friends, is a mix of wind instruments and light synthesizer sounds that don’t reappear in the rest of the song. It reminds me of my college days, sitting in the hallway between practice rooms, hearing a variety of instruments playing a variety of songs, and enjoying the apparent cacophony.  

After the introduction, guitars and percussion come in, and the first sounds disappear.

Really, in a way, that represents “Yes Maybe No.”

“Yes Maybe No” is about choices. Sometimes, you start with one choice, and then you change it up.

When I first read Telephone Friends’ description on the ‘About’ section of their website, I thought that maybe “Yes Maybe No” would be about uncertainty. They write, “Telephone Friends is a raucous, tumbling collection of songs that exude joy and possibility under the weight of a new and enormous uncertainty – songs that represent something bigger than the sum of its parts.”

And, in some ways, “Yes Maybe No” is about dealing with uncertainty. More than that, though, the song is about “opportunity cost.” This also reminds me of my college days, but different college days. Maybe I spent too many years in college. That’s another story – and yet, related.

Opportunity cost is the idea that, when you make one choice, using limited resources of time, money, and energy, it automatically means that you can’t make other choices, because your time and money and energy are already expended. It says a lot about how waffling between making music, and writing, and becoming a Social Studies teacher, got me where I am.

Enough about me, though.

Long story short, “Yes Maybe No” is about embracing uncertainty, knowing that every choice is a step along the way on a somewhat nebulous journey, and you just can’t take every possible path.

You ask, where does the light go when it hits the edge of space,

Does it burn up someplace?

There’s that energy, disappearing, perhaps not lasting forever, or perhaps just taking a different turn.

Every ‘yes’ is multiple ‘nos’ – do you know what I mean?

Every ‘no’ is a ‘yes’ to a future ‘yes’ you seek

In some ways, it would be nice to have a clear plan, a clear path, based on certain results. Telephone Friends, in “Yes Maybe No,” suggest that life isn’t like that – that life is, instead, more like a “Choose Your Own Adventure” book. You make your choices, and you don’t see the consequences until you turn the pages – but every choice has its own conclusion, sometimes overlapping the conclusions of other choices, but often precluding alternative endings. It’s just how it is. We make do with what we know right now, and see what happens – which is perhaps why so many philosophies and theologies relate instead to appreciating the journey, rather than depending on an outcome.

Yes maybe no

I don’t know

I don’t know

And that’s okay.