Out of Tune

Dear Unexpected Visitor,

I’m sorry I couldn’t meet you face to face when you stopped by the house earlier. I know how these impulsive visits can be; no one ever seems to be available when you walk up the driveway.

Of course, considering you left the driveway with my wife’s iPod, maybe you weren’t so disappointed after all.

Your timing, I must say, was excellent. By the time I saw the glove compartment ajar and the arm rest open, you were long gone. Since that was the only item missing, I’m guessing you didn’t have a lot of time to linger; cluttered cars are such a pain to search, aren’t they?

Out of curiosity, was it the Stone Age electronics that attracted you, or the old nail polish stains? Heather and I have a bet.

It’s quite an accomplishment, you know. Thirty years ago, it would have taken at least a pickup truck to get away with a few thousand tracks worth of music. Now you can just slip the whole library in your pocket without even thinking about it.

Oh, sorry about the “Desperado” recording, by the way. That Eagles album never really transferred well.

I’ll admit, I was a bit hot when I found you’d been and gone before I could say “Hi.” Or maybe “Hey!” There’s a certain sense of violation involved. And frustration at the time needed to rebuild the collection. And of course, disappointment by Missy, our disabled ward who likes her tunes loud, constant and rapidly changing.

(You don’t know Missy? Nice young lady. Lot of people like her. No, I don’t expect to make introductions any time soon.)

But you know something? You got the raw end of the deal.

What you got was a piece of metal and plastic worth maybe $20, tops. (I mean, an iPod without a touch screen? Come on!) Maybe you got a little bit of puzzlement, too, if you fired it up and discovered meditation rhythms, medieval hymns and the theme to the cartoon “Arthur” among the more conventional tunes.

But Heather, Missy and I – we have the memories.

I still have the vision of Missy cranking the Hallelujah Chorus as far as she could – in July.

I remember the device’s seeming psychic qualities, popping up John Lennon’s “I’m So Tired” on the day after the time change, or Bob Dylan’s “You Ain’t Goin’ Nowhere” in a Graduation Day parking lot.

And since Heather was the one who loaded it all, I could always count on a surprise or two if I hit “random” – though including “Adventure Time” and the Brady Bunch in the mix was really low.

Those are the real treasures.

So yeah, if you want to just bring the iPod back where you found it and set it on the stoop, I’d love it, especially for Missy’s sake. But if your generosity doesn’t extend that far – well, I’m not going to let you hold my mind hostage over it. Just do me a favor and at least crank the tunes before hitting the pawnshop, OK?

May I suggest starting with “Folsom Prison Blues?”

One Reply to “Out of Tune”

  1. Dear Scott,

    I’m writing you real quick, see if I can get it in before you post your next column. Why? Because so often, I don’t know whether to wait and read your column Sunday in the paper or read it here online; I look forward so every week to your columns, and I don’t know, it kind of feels like cheating nearly, to read it online instead of waiting till Sunday. Feels a little like a little kid sneaking a peek. Sneaking a peek into their Christmas present under the tree or their birthday present hidden under their parent’s bed. Know what I mean?

    And I mean, I enjoy your columns so much. Sometimes I wait till Sunday. I make myself wait. Sometimes I can’t wait and I read them early. And it’s not really like I’m cheating or anything, I mean, the column’s not all wrapped up and hidden somewhere; it’s just a click away, and like I just hit click and it clicks! I like clicking noises, I guess.

    Reminds me of when I was a little girl. My sister, Karen, and I, we would place those old-fashioned metal tacks in the heels of our Sunday shoes or go go boots we wore back in the 60’s. Remember those vinyl things? (Probably not. I don’t think you’re that old.) They’d get earwigs. In West Texas. We had earwigs out there a lot. They liked to get in our vinyl go go boots. Always had to dump your boots out in the morning before putting them on.

    And, oh, this is so funny,…just going this direction…didn’t know I’d say this…it’s funny I guess…depending on how you look at it. Cockroaches.
    Yes, cockroaches. In the kitchen. Texas is chock-full of critters, even nighttime critters. If you woke up in the night to go to the kitchen to get a drink of water, you made sure you turned the light on first. Light on. Cockroaches dispel in ever which direction. Then you can walk. Without stepping on them. In your bare feet. That was creepy.

    And we didn’t have cockroaches all the time, but the times we did have them, we do remember them. Had to turn the light on before you passed through. Gross.

    Everybody had roaches though. It was nice to move to Colorado. They don’t have roaches so much here. Kansas has a lot of June bugs, though, huh? And Houston has huge roaches. Flying roaches even.

    Oh, I never thought I could talk so much about roaches. I did not set out to talk about roaches. Just came up… like a roach in the night. Except, I will not run away. I am not a roach.

    That’s silly. You know me. Silly Saff.

    I was talking about taps on our heels. We’d place the taps in the heels of our shoes and enjoy the clicking sounds we made when we walked. Sounded so exquisite and sophisticated. Especially down the tile isles of church walking back to your pew after communion. Click click click click. So delicious. Delicious sounds. Did you know sounds can taste? Do you think so? I do.

    And I was very sorry to read your last column, I was in Williamsburg, Virginia at the time, read it Sunday on my phone, in my online TC edition, “Out of tune.” It broke my heart to hear of someone stealing your sounds. Stealing Missy’s sounds. That’s just pure ugly. Horrible taste that leaves.

    I know I quite often put my little (blue with clear sparkly crystal-like protective cover non-touch-screen) iPod in my purse or very safe spot, for that is one thing I would not want to be stolen. So I feel your pain. I taste it even. Lousy.

    I hope you are able to replace your treasured tunes.

    I think yall are pretty cool, too. And to have the Brady Bunch theme song, too cool!! Although my favorite is the theme from the Beverly Hillbillies. I loved that show. Loved the Brady Bunch, too. They had some good shows back then.

    Well, may the music to your ears taste incredibly sweet from now on, the bitterness be washed away, and replaced with much joy somehow, someway. People like you who offer sweet sounding and tasting words, surely should reap sweetness also.

    Sometimes, though, perhaps the bitterness makes the sweeter oh so much more. In ways we do not fully comprehend.

    Most importantly, keep on keeping on. Looking for the good. Listening for the good. Tasting the good and the sweet and the lovely, even when life delivers lemons.

    I didn’t know lemons had livers. How is it we can de-liver them? Makes them sweeter, that’s for sure : 0 When life delivers lemons, de-liver them, and all will be well. Unless you like liver…..I like to live, even forever, but I don’t necessarily like liver.

    This is digressing, deteriorating, so I will say goodbye for now. Till the next column goes click, and everything goes click! Sweet sweet sounds. Usually.

    Katherin Engelhard

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