Another way of thinking and living
"You know what you should play next? That 'so sorry' song."
My son and I have spent a lot of time in the car together over the past few years and as long as his phone has sufficient battery, there is music playing. In the early days, my favorites were well represented, but then his musical curiosity took over and now it's a steady stream of new bands and albums.
He pauses, puzzled. "Which song?"
The pause made me nervous. It's not that he's particularly judgmental, but I wasn't eager to play the part of clueless parent. A widely off-the-mark guess at a song's lyrics was not going to help.
I ran the song through my head again and reaffirmed my confidence.
"You know.." Now, I'm humming the guitar riff. "I'm so... so so sorry".
He actually loves these pursuits, so he stops the song we're listening to and starts playing his best guesses.
"What about this?"
"No, it's more upbeat than that." I try to hum the riff again. In my defense, I never get to see the album covers or read the song names. It's just a never-ending playlist. I call it Bendora.
"Wait a second." He's shaking his head, which makes me think this doesn't end well for me.
"Is it this song?"
I recognize it immediately. "Yes, that's it!"
"Yeah, that's Stoned and Starving."
"That's the name of the song?"
"Yeah, but that's also what they're saying: I was so stoned and starving." Now, he's laughing. "Not, so, so so sorry."
It made for a good story when we got home, but the rest of the day passed without mention and I was grateful for its short lifespan. This faux pas wouldn't be a regular source of entertainment. I was safe.
A quick digression to set the next scene: we've previously watched the entire Seinfeld series together and my son often mentions that one of his favorite moments is when they find out that George's fiancé has died. Elaine's reaction is so perfectly awkward, unexpected, and hilariously awful. "I'm... so sorry, George."
We rejoin our story the next day. The three of us are in the car together and Ben plugs his iPhone in as usual. We wait for the first song to start, which seems to be taking awhile. Then, the riff for Stoned and Starving starts playing.
My wife bursts out laughing. I start shaking my head. Then, from the back seat, a perfectly timed denouement.
"I'm... so sorry, Dad."
The last dispatch asked, Is there a memorable doorway you’ve passed through?
Many of my doorways involved choices and committing to a next step: Choosing to get a degree in performing arts; Choosing not be in the theatre but choosing to create in so many other ways; Choosing to commit to a life in the USA and then eventually choosing to become a US citizen; Choosing to get married; Choosing something other than an MBA; Choosing to take a job, or leave a job, or start a business; Choosing to find joy in as many places as possible; Each choice a doorway. Often one among many but sometimes the only one in view.
When I closed on my first house, I was still in college. In celebration, my friend Joe and I planned to camp out in the house that night, rolling out the sleeping bags on the living room floor since I hadn’t had a chance to move in my scant furniture. Instead, as soon as I walked in the front door I smelled that the previous owners’ departure had stirred up a fog of dog urine long buried beneath their poorly-cleaned carpets. Even without considering our mutual allergies, the stench quickly convinced us to spend the night back in the dorm, and I didn’t start sleeping at the house until my parents and I tore out the carpet. My wife and I recently sold that house. We had been living elsewhere for a long time and renting it out, so even though we moved in again for a few months to get it ready for sale, we had spent more of our married life out of it than in it. Still, I had infused a lot of pre-marriage and early-marriage memories into those walls, and when we stood in the empty dining room on the last night of our possession, with all the lights off and the keys laid out on the kitchen counter for the new owners, I found it hard to turn away and walk out the door for the last time. My wife put her arms around me and reminded me that the next set of memories were waiting for us outside, and when I had swallowed the lump in my throat, we locked the garage door and took a deep breath of fresh Indiana night air as we closed it behind us.
Not a door, but a window. There is a house on Route 661 in Ohio that I often pass. Driving north: the southern face of the house has four windows, three of the shutters are grey, one is pink. The top left window is pink. I've often thought about that window, who lived there, what their story is. I bet it is very mundane. The child told their parents he or she wanted pink shutters outside his or her window. A friend gave them some cheap shutters and they didn't want to waste them. And yet I can't help but think this window as an embodiment of something much, much more. I want the story, but if I went through that window, it wouldn't exist anymore. To have the story is to have the distance.
I remember two doorways, really. The first was a light frame door that slammed perfectly when you stepped into a screened-in porch. You had to go through there to reach the second door, which led directly into the kitchen of the home of my first boyfriend. It was different in every way from what I was used to. I lived in a newly built modern house. He lived in a 100-year old Victorian. My family's kitchen was spare and functional. His was homey, complete with fireplace, couch, and antiques. The differences didn't stop there. His kitchen was filled with vegetarian meals, a steady stream of people stopping by, and hours of conversation. I still remember how completely nervous I was walking through those doorways the first time I met his Dad. And course since we were teenagers, there, were plenty of long, lingering goodbyes there too. Ultimately, those doorways were my entry into another way of thinking and living...and perhaps most importantly, the relationship I still enjoy with my boyfriend-turned-husband :)
The Space Between You and Me by Frank Chimero:
Anything good we may do with this network must be built in a way that utilizes the fabric that binds us, that brings us closer so that our humanness may snap back into focus by eliminating distance. We are all swaddled in the same blanket. By recognizing that, we inch closer to being understood.<br><br>We might forget too easily that these nodes, these usernames, are in fact people. People deserve more than the term username; they’ve earned a richer biography than a series of labels or a list of favorite movies. We must not allow interactions online to be perpetually stuck in the conversational depth of a first date. We can shun complex and shallow and embrace simple and deep.
Should We Put Baseball on Speed by Mark Taylor:
Faster is not always better — speed has limits. Acceleration cannot continue forever... The only way to break this cycle is to call a time out. This is precisely the possibility rituals create. To enter the space and time of ritual is to participate in an alternative reality that allows one to see the world differently.
Do you have a favorite story about mistaken lyrics?