Sing a New Song

It may be somewhat surprising to learn that, despite having grown up in Oklahoma, I was not a fan of country music.  All that twang and depressing subject matter just wasn’t of interest to me.  One of my favorite jokes was always, “What happens when you play a country music song backwards?  He get’s his wife back, his dog back and his truck back.”  This was only made that much better when I once saw a country music video showing an overhead shot of a cowboy lying in the back of his truck with his girl and a dog lying on the ground next to the truck.  As the video progressed the woman disappeared and then the dog disappeared and I burst out laughing thinking, “what happens if you play this video backwards…”

I was forced to listen to, and then eventually came to like, what was then modern country music, in the mid-90’s, when I was dating a girl who I thought I was going to marry and who decided that she was going to become a country music fan and always had it on in the car.  I listened to country music pretty regularly for a while after that and it was only after I moved to the bay area where there is no country music station that I quit.  I had a number of country music albums by that time though and most of them have made their way into my iTunes and therefore, fairly regular rotation in my music listening routine.

Michelle doesn’t dislike country music though it is a LOOOONG way from being her preference.  Our tastes overlap fairly well, though she does like some of the more… urban?  R&B?  stuff.  I’m not even sure what you’d call it.  Let’s just be really tacky and say that her tastes are more ethnically correct…

Michelle also doesn’t like anyone to hear her sing.  She thinks she has a bad voice.  Truth is, she sings fine.  She may not be recording any albums anytime soon, but she shouldn’t be embarrassed for anyone to hear her singing.

On the way to Cache Creek Wednesday afternoon my iPod in my car was, as always, on random and there wasn’t anything that she might object to that came on.  At one point I even heard her singing.  I started to say something, only, every time I tell her I can hear her singing she stops  and I didn’t want to embarrass her or have her stop singing, so I didn’t say anything.  I was surprised at first at the song she was singing, because it was, shall we say, more ethnically appropriate for me…  Also, it was from October, 1994 and it surprised me that she’d be familiar with it.  But she does have a couple of years on me and she was actually far less sheltered than I (I didn’t really come to know the song until about five years ago, so…)

As we were driving through the parking garage at Cache Creek, a song by Terri Clark came on.  The song is called Cure for the Common Heartache.  If you have iTunes (and who doesn’t these days) do me a favor and go listen to the preview.  I tried to find a way to post a sample here, but I’m just not that technologically savvy…  Anyway, the song is quite twangy:  “This mornin’ I’m achin’ all over.  Cain’t eat.  Cain’t sleep.  Cain’t rest….  Is there a cuuuuuure for the common heart ache.  An unknown prescriptiooooooooon, any loser can take…”

(By the way, for the record, there has only been one Terri Clark song, ever, that I didn’t really like a lot, so I’m not saying anything bad about her!)

I turned to Michelle, right before I turned off the ignition and said, “This is a country music song… In case you were wondering…”  I was making a joke, because the song is the epitome of country twang (though I still like it,) but she thought I was apologizing, or in some way making a joke that suggests she doesn’t like country music.

“I was singing that other song,” she said somewhat defensively.

“Which song?” I asked.

“You know.  The one about the cowboy and the horse.”

Now this is not much of a description to know which song she was talking about, except that I immediately thought of the song I heard her singing earlier and had a feeling that’s the one she meant.  I sang a few bars, “I’m a cowboy.  On a steel horse I ride…?”

“Yeah, that one,” she said as I was unable to keep from laughing.

“Honey,” I said a little more condescending than I meant to, “that wasn’t country.  That was Bon Jovi!”

(Also?  Heh.  The clothes!  My Goodness!!!)

The End of The World As We Know It

I’m continuing this habit of going to the gym during the workday in order to make sure it happens.  So far so good, but on my way back to the office today something unexpected happened.

As I walked up the tree-lined sidewalk across from the park next to my building a strong gust of wind blew down the street.  The gust of wind is not particularly unusual.  The far end of Harrison Street begins by emerging from an underwater tunnel from Alameda, serving as the primary means of reaching downtown Oakland from the far side of an estuary.  In other words, the street begins at the edge of a body of water.  Alameda is a relatively small island, and beyond it is the San Francisco Bay.

Incidentally, the beach on which I spent my afternoon yesterday, flying kites with Lil’B and, as it turns out, getting a rather unusually shaped but bright red sunburn on my right forearm and backs of both calves, which, naturally I was completely unaware of until later in the evening when I randomly scratched an itch on my arm with my meant-to-clip-those-a-week-ago too long finger nails before crying out in pain and looking down to see my glowing red flesh with the half inch wide pale strip where my LiveStrong bracelet had protected my skin, was in Alameda and the waves that rushed upon the shore were in fact from the San Francisco Bay and not the Pacific Ocean.   (Was that really all one sentence?  Heather Armstrong would be so proud.)

Lil’B spent more time with his kite in the air and looking at the ground collecting Sea Shells than he did actually paying attention to his kite which only prompted me to reprove him, I don’t know, A FEW HUNDRED TIMES.  “You’re getting too close to that tree, you’re gonna get tangled up.”  “You’ve got to keep your distance or our kites are gonna get stuck together.”  “My kite is not coming after yours, but that’s why you’ve got to keep a little distance between us.”  Finally, I reeled my kite in and followed him around as he wondered up and down the beach looking for more shells.  He told me, though how he would know I have no idea, that he’s going to have to collect sea shells for his class next year in the third grade.  I’m not sure what was behind that statement, but I told him I guessed we’d have to make some more trips to some more beaches then.  So all of that is to say that you can potentially look forward to more beach pictures that are of the actual Pacific Ocean in the future… Maybe.  Also, that my skin really hurts.

But I digress.

This wind tunnel affect on Harrison Street is not an unusual thing especially since there is a “lake” on the far side of the park and my building is surrounded by wind causing bodies of water.  So as I walked up the street, it wasn’t the gust of wind that caught me by surprise; I’m used to that and it felt kind of nice after heating myself up in the gym.  No, what surprised me was the considerable number of dried or drying leaves that fell from the trees.  It is still July, isn’t it?

I am not a fan of extreme heat; it’s the reason I moved away from Oklahoma, after all.  I don’t mind it so much in the evenings when I’m at home and I can open up the doors and windows and wear fewer clothes to keep cool, but during the work day when I have already had my work-out and showered and I’m heading back to the office, I sure don’t want to be getting sweaty all over again if I can help it.  So with that in mind, I know better than to complain.  But I’m a bit surprised because while it is still July, it is also July and we haven’t had summer yet.  We’ve had only a handful, maybe a child sized handful, of days this year that have gotten into the 80s and many that have gotten just barely into the 70s, but most days it is in the 60s.  Being anti-heat (anti-sweating) as I am, I’m truly not complaining about this.  It’s just that, well, it’s rather like waiting for the other shoe to drop.  You know its coming.  It should have already happened, but it’s not.

A lot of the continent is experiencing summer now.  Places that are farther north than I am are having blazing hot, humid weather.  Even the southern half of the state I live in is having high heat, but here in the bay area…

And now we’re starting to experience autumn?  Are we skipping summer altogether this year?  Is this the end of the world as we know it?