On Sunday I took Selene (my 14 year old daughter, if you just tuned in) to Best Buy, which is one of her favorite places to go. This is because they have the largest collection of the kind of strange minorstream music she's fallen in love with. And she likes it when I take her there because I don't take her there unless I plan to buy her yet another CD. She has about four million of the things, but her tastes are evolving rapidly, and thus I feel obliged to feed the beast when I'm able.
I feel utterly unable to help her pick out anything, as my knowledge of popular music is stuck back in the '60s for the most part, with an occasional nod to something less than ten years old, but no clue about music less than a year old, never mind CDs that were pressed last week. So I wander the aisles aimlessly, causing trouble whenever I can by, for instance, saying to her: I bet I can sling this Van Morrison CD into that air conditioning unit over there in the corner.
[Note 1: the air conditioning unit is about 300 yards away, given the size of this consumer electronics emporium. Note 2: I am opposed in principle to anything Van Morrison did after, say, Astral Weeks. And that's being generous. He did his best stuff with Them, notably, Mystic Eyes, the 45 of which I always thought sounded better at thrity-three-and-a-third; much spookier. Where was I?]
Oh yes. So I find this CD you see pictured above right, and I'm immediately taken by the resemblance of the grafik to a certain ornithological genre, regarding which new readers will draw a blank, but longtime diehard (that is to say Valued) readers will, I hope recognize. If they do not, then all my love's in vain for good and sure. And love is not love. And it fades away. The intertext is way too deep at this point to warrant further explication. If you think that's true for you, imagine what it's like to wake up in my head every motherfucking morning. Yeah the blue light was my baby.
And the red light was... my mind.
But you and I, we've been through that, so as Dewey says in Scream II: OK, let's move on.
Yes. So there I was standing in the D aisle, I guess it must have been, looking at the Death Cab For Cutie cover, when I noticed that there were not one, but two of those flat plastic label things that stick up above the CDs and tell you the name of the band, in this case, of course: Death Cab For Cutie. So I stole it.
I didn't mention this to Selene, as I thought her inbred sense of morality (which she gets from her mother's side), though it's probably really just paranoia (which she gets from mine) might cause her to force me to put it back. In fact, I forgot all about it until we were driving back to Boulder on Route 36, from which there is a fantastic view of the Rocky Mountains as you top the rise and begin the descent (both real and metaphorical) into Boulder valley. And it was just short of this apogee that I remembered I'd ripped off the Death Cab For Cutie display divider.
"Oh oh oh!" I enthused. "Look what I got!"
"I don't believe you!" says Selene. "You stole that?"
"Yeah. Cool, huh?"
Selene's right there, of course, our chances of being apprehended for the theft having now been left about five miles behind.
"Cool!" she says.
I tell her I need to find a place to stick it in the car, so that it's visible but not too immediately visible. "That way," I say, "I can give some good looking girl a lift" -- as if -- "then casually turn to her after we're back underway and say: 'hey, you're a real cutie!' I'll just wait after that until her eyes wander around the car and finally light on the Death Cab For Cutie thing and she starts screaming 'Let me out! Let me out!!!'"
Selene already knows I'm insane -- she's told all the kids in her school the true story of how I once escaped from a mental hospital -- so she goes along. In fact, I can tell she thinks it's a great idea. She's trying different places to stash the thing, finally settling on the perfect place: tucked behind the passenger-side sun visor so the Death Cab For Cutie label is just barely sticking out. Nice. Subtle!
I'm reaching over and helping with the arrangement and we're both totally into it, when suddenly I notice that the car has drifted entirely out of the right lane is now, traveling at 65 miles per hour, is within inches of the guard rail between us and the Scenic Overlook, on the other side of which is a plunge of several hundred fairly fatal looking feet. ("How does a foot look fatal"? I ask myself, but then decide now is hardly the time for idle rumination.)
"Oh SHIT!" I yell, scaring the crap out of Selene, especially as she now sees what's about to happen. But I get the car back under control and back in lane. Checking the rearview mirror only afterwards; there was no time before. And I see a whole line of cars move in unison, like synchronized swimmers, into the left lane so as not to be behind such an obvious drunken maniac.
I say "Whew, it almost was death cab for cutie!" And as the first car in the line that had been behind us goes tearing past, both driver and passenger shooting us glaring looks at once alarmed and indignant, Selene and I are totally cracking up laughing. Which the people in the other car see, of course, just as they've seen us just nearly go through the guard rail and plummet to an untimely demise. I try to explain using American Sign Language for the deaf, but they clearly do not understand the meaning of the complex finger gestures I am articulating in their direction. Then again, neither do I, having never actually studied American Sign Language for the deaf. And this only further fuels the hilarious uproarity Selene and I are somehow unable to contain. Me yelling "Stop! Oh stop! You're killing me, cutie! Let me out of this goddam fucking death cab!"
And well, that's the whole story. Just another example of the huge difficulty human beings often have in communicating what's really going on in their heads. Heh.