I live one song away from virtually anywhere I want to go.
Profound huh? But I refer to an actual physical reality. I can barely make it through one song to Target (I usually have to make up some reason to sit in the car in my parking space and finish it) the mall sits at one song and the opening bars of another, which the stereo quitting mid-song frustrates me no end (again the sitting in the car in the parking lot- I'm beginning to wonder if I have some sort of compulsive disorder regarding music) The post office is two songs away, which can stretch to three if I combine it with going through the drive-through lane at McDonalds. We have an unusually efficient McDonalds. One and a half songs (something soothing, as in Lorena McKennet or some Bach) gets us to the hospital.
It wasn't always like this. I've lived in the same neighborhood for eight years. We bought into the neighborhood before the "amenities", investing in the unlikely assurance that we would someday drive less than a mile to, well, everything. It was in the middle of nowhere in those days.
It's always had the reputation of being "the Neighborhood". You know the type, SUVs that have never seen even a gravel road. (Yep, Jeep Grand Cherokee, thank you. But more on that later.) Kids on bikes. Golden Retrievers named Bo. Moms who don't work (oh, but they do!) and love to bitch about their kids' schedules and mountains of laundry. (Ok, I bitch too, but deep down I know 've I got it good.) Dads who mow the lawns and who practice soccer in the back yard with regulation sized nets and their four-year-olds. The advantages start early here. Car seats, swing sets, cell phones, kids walking to school. And after about four years the new mall, the Super Target, the Costco, and the Safeway all went in.
Stepford? Not quite. Perhaps Utopia, but with less pressure.
So anyway, after about four more years of living one song away from everything, I noticed. I don't know what it was, but I suddenly realized I only got through one song in the car. Damn. I like music. The thing is, I love it, but I only love the songs if I choose them. I drive my husband to drink if I'm riding in the back seat. "CD four, track twelve, honey. Now go to CD seven. No, leave it. The first three songs are good. The rest is shit, but the first three are beautiful. Oh and turn it up. Thanks, darling."
He shoots me a look in the rearview mirror.
I'm not sure whether it's because I'm back-seat-stereo-controlling, or if it's because I swore in front of the baby. He doesn't appreciate my sailing heritage.
Anyway, I noticed the music issue about the same time that I noticed the interesting checker at Target. Major tattoos, piercings, crazy hair, the works. Parents of preschoolers never dream that their child would do something like that to that little body that love created. I refer to the sort of things that a business suit would never cover up. A big Chinese character on the side of his neck. Things on his hands.
When I went through his line he asked me the same old tired question, "Do you want to save ten percent with a Target Visa?"
I couldn't help but feel a little disappointed.
"No thanks," I said.
"Yeah. I didn't think so," he said, making me look up. We smiled at each other.
The next time I went to Target he was out in the parking lot collecting carts.
The relationship of this checker to my music issue? I'm not sure, except I imagine that he likes music too. Maybe he's in a garage band now, barely making it, but learning something of what it takes to succeed at what you really want to do. I sincerely hope so.