Tuesday, May 26, 2009

On days like this, thank god for iPods...

Today, you are having one of those days. It doesn't seem possible to turn it around.

One of "those days" started out with another insomnia-plagued night in a seemingly endless string of them. You woke up late, too late for your son's piano class with the teacher who you think is marvelous despite your sinking suspicion that she regards you as a hopeless ditz. You aren't hopeless. You do have hope, though whether it's warranted or not remains to be seen. Your son cheers a bit too vigorously at hearing that piano class is cancelled for the morning, which makes your itchy, tired eyes feel like they could pop and - plink! - roll out of your head like in a Tom and Jerry cartoon. Your child may not grow up to be a soloist at Carnegie Hall, may not even grow up to be able to play Chopsticks on that scuzzy piano at the bar with the boarded up windows and the Schlitz sign on Division Street, and it'll be your fault. It is your fault in that your body seems to not be able to successfully accomplish the basic function of sleep.

The day just gets worse as days like this do.

Bad news. Disappointments. Your spam filter is powerless against Viagra and easily distracted by the promise of an enlarged penis. Your spam filter is apparently a 20-something party boy in the Castro. You try to write but your sentences are clunky, your ideas are a-dime-a-dozen and you are a fraud about to be outed. At dinner you learn that the boy your son loves in kindergarten more than anyone else told him that he loves only one person in his class and it isn't your son. Your son tells you this in a matter-of-fact manner but a part of you wants to crumble into tears at hearing this story of unrequited six-year-old love and then you know that it's time for a walk.

Your husband has filled your iPod with twenty more songs today, music he has heard and knows you will love, music you don't know because you're cloistered alone with your little writing mind during the day. He knows what you like, though, better than anyone but you. Are you that predictable? Yes, you think as you slip on your shoes. Your son is balking at helping with the dishes as you head out the door.

At first you observe with clenched teeth that your husband didn't organize the songs right as they are all shuffled with the ones you already had, but that first song was pretty cool. And the next one. You start to notice the daffodils. When your son was three, he called them daffodilos and when you corrected him one day, he said, "But I like to call them daffodilos." This makes you smile to remember.

Regina Spektor is finally on your iPod. The sound of her trilling voice, all bop bop bop bop ba dop makes you happy. Oh, your husband is a good man.

You see robins, all puffed up and proud, hopping along the grass, rolled out in front of them like a green carpet. Cardinals dart by, squirrels corkscrew up the oak trees, chasing one another. It's like all the little creatures got a memo on amplifying up the cuteness quotient. No room for the lethargic or self-pitying here.

There's a sapphic version of "Shenandoah" on your iPod now, and a new version of an old Cure song ("Pictures Of You") and June Carter Cash, singing in her senior years about the ring of fire around her and her Johnny. It's all women singing, but it's not Lilith Fairy, thank goodness, and it's actually all perfect. The new songs are sentimental at times, full of bravado at others, weepy when appropriate, confident and proud always, and this music matches your need just right. You walk through the town and you think to yourself that it's not all bad, or at least that which is bad is temporary.

When you come back home and take off your iPod, your son has still not begun the dishes but it's okay. You draw with him for a few minutes then he skips off to wash the dishes. Your perspective has returned. Life is bearable again. You hug your husband. Somehow he just knew.

Shalom, everyone.


  1. Beautiful post. I was delighted to discover non-Fairy female music as an adult. Music changes everything.

  2. It sure does, Chandelle. It's amazing what a transformative medium it is.

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