Here at the way-station, there are neighbors, and from all appearances they are Normal. So I try to tread lightly. No more wandering around outside in various states of nakedness. No more greeting the day, or acknowledging the night, with hearty bursts of gibbering song. When I speak to the rabbits or the turkeys or the dragonflies or the trees, I try to do so quietly. Cat conversations are confined to the interior of the house. I think I’ve been pretty good about all this.
Then the other night I come roaring into the driveway, returning from a late-night shopping expedition, with the car windows more or less rolled all the way down, thereby treating the entire neighborhood to Joan Osborne pleading “I’ll Be Around” at pretty much top volume.
I didn’t cotton on to what I was doing until about the third trip into the house, lugging groceries, Joan continuing to loudly sound from the car. Is this Normal? I asked myself. Is this the sort of thing permitted by Neighborhood Watch?
Probably not, I decided. Oh well. Because it was just not possible to turn Joan down. A sin, that would have been. Akin to killing a mockingbird.
At least, I rationalized, this is the sort of abnormality the Normal can easily understand. Kids. And their music. Even if The Kid is in, uh, his fifties. And anyway the song is almost over. And it’s not even ten o’clock yet, for chrissake.
Back in the house, car radio silenced, flipping through the memory cards, I realized I had been unconsciously indulging in this behavior since I arrived here. Now that I know that, I don’t do it anymore. Probably.
I generally believe that inflicting music on people who don’t want to hear it is a form of rudeness, and so I try not to indulge in it. For instance, someone up the canyon here each Friday night feels compelled to drink vast quantities of liquor and then reel out onto his deck to serenade all and sundry with lubricated versions of such chestnuts as “House Of The Rising Sun” in a manner that would find him heaved bodily off any karaoke stage. I don’t want to be that sort of person.
The problem is that songs that come onto the car radio are different from those that you control via CDs or tapes or I-units or your own vocal cords. They’re ephemeral, a little gift from the cosmos. And sometimes even if your journey is at an end you have to sit there in the car with them until they’re over.
Jump the “furthur” for the five tunes I realized had over the past couple months drilled me to the driveway.