Monday, August 31, 2015

Debussy and Baseball

Backstory: Sam, a baseball guy, is not a classical music fan. I, a classical music lover, struggle to understand his game.  It wouldn't appear that we have much in common. 

Except that he is my huge fan, and I am his.  

In honor of his 21st birthday, I am posting one of my favorite "Sam" stories.  Happy birthday, Sam. Thank you for teaching me one of the biggest rules for a successful life:  You have to be at bat to score.

From 2011
I listen to classical music in the car which, Sam says, makes his ears bleed. It’s kind of a dance. We get in the car. I turn on "Classical New England". Sam groans and changes the station. I hear “Ridin’ Solo,” and change the station again. Then I make a ridiculous, fictional statement about a pop celebrity, preferably a rap star.
“Did you know that Little Wayne –”

“Did you know that Little Wayne and the one he went to jail with, the one with a T in his name. Mr. T – "
“T.I. And they didn't go to jail together."
“Did you know they both grew up listening to classical music?”
“That’s not true.”
“It’s true. I read it on Rhapsody. And did you know that Lady Gaga went to medical school?”
“That’s not true.”
“You’re right. She went to Julliard.”

He changes the station to JYY and looks out the window, and I turn the station back to classical and tell him if he listened for just two minutes he’d be a fan, and he tells me you can’t do that because with a classical music station, there’s so much silence before and after the song, when nobody says or does anything, you don’t even know if the radio is on which is why it makes his ears bleed and he switches the station to 94.1 where they play California Gurls once every twenty-five minutes. I ask a question like, “Do they spell Girls with a “u” because of copyright issues with the Beach Boys?” He looks at me as though he's not sure we know each other. 

And yet, if he dominates the radio in the car, he’s made no attempt to change the station in the house, where classical music plays 24/7. 

At dinner one night, he looked up and said, “I like this one. What is it?”
“Claire de Lune by Debussy,” I said.
He nodded thoughtfully, then told me something about baseball which I understood after he drew diagrams on the back of many envelopes.

Now that Sam has a license and a vehicle, we’re rarely in the car together and I can listen to as much classical music as I want. Every so often, I feel the tug that comes with knowing my last child is home for only a year plus. When that happens, I scan the radio stations or turn to a disc Sam left behind, select one of his favorites, and listen until the light changes.

Maybe someday, a year and change from now, when he’s far away, Sam will feel a similar kind of tug and if he’s alone, maybe he’ll listen to a classical music station until the light changes and if he’s lucky, maybe he’ll hear Clair de Lune and remember that it’s Debussy. 

Probably he won’t remember the Debussy part. But maybe, soon after this happens, he’ll call home to talk about baseball.

And I will take notes, and remember all I can.

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Where do we keep the compressed air?

One of these things is not like the other
My laptop is whirring, which means there is a visit to the Geek Squad at Best Buy in my future, which means my mood is a C+ when it should be an A.
There will be a guy in a white shirt and black tie who, if he's like my last geek, will prefer computers to people. He will be behind the counter helping a customer when I arrive. When the customer leaves, the Best Buy guy will motion me forward with a blank facial expression. 
I will explain that there is a whirring noise and he will look puzzled and say, "What do you mean, 'whirring?'" And then I will have to either mimic the whir with a sound effect or say something like, "You know the sound a car makes when it's trying to accelerate uphill and then suddenly goes downhill again?" And he will say, "So, really, it's more of hum." 
So, thinking about this, I thought I'd first pose a DIY question to Google, and see what it could suggest: 
Why is my computer making a whirring noise? I typed.
Google came back with a few possibilities, including a clean-up of the laptop's backside for which I would need a screwdriver to remove the casing, and compressed air to blow all of Gus's writer-cat hair and my writer crumbs away. 
My husband and I have always been traditional in this way: he has guy things in his workshop I don't want to know about and I have girl things all over the house that I don't want to explain. It's good, it works. 
Our chores fall along the lines of inside stuff and outside stuff. I take care of the inside using products I can find easily, like Pledge and Windex.  He takes care of the outside using  things in his workshop that have dangerous parts and orange CAUTION! stickers that make me uncomfortable.
Back when we were June and Ward and he was traveling a lot, if I'd sent a text asking where we kept canned, compressed air, he would have called me and said "What are you doing and why do you need that?" 
And then I would have explained that I wanted to clean my laptop and he would have offered to do it when he got back and I would have said "No, you don't have to," and he would have said, "No, I have to clean mine anyway," etc. 
But he's traveling more frequently now, and I no longer wait for  many things as a rule, and I wanted to clean my laptop now and I did not want to talk to the geek at Best Buy, so I texted him: "Do we have a can of compressed air anywhere?" and he texted back: "Yes. Look on the shelf in the office." 
We've grown since Wally and the Beav left. 
I've learned something, or maybe I've learned something I already knew, but it is this: 
Life is better when you can do anything for yourself if you want to, and life is definitely better when you don't have to do everything for someone else. 
And life is the very best when you don't have to go to Best Buy.