Double tapping

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

I’m on a borrowed laptop. This might make things difficult this evening. We’re again in Doolies’s parents’ house. I planned to bring my laptop but in the rush to the dog park after work to make it here in time, I forgot to grab the bag. Even now it sits on our entryway table.

I imagine it like in the movies where the camera sees the bag in the distance and then zooms in a jagged motion toward it. At first you don’t know what the camera is looking at. You see an entryway with a black wooden table and a low black bench (that’s where we keep our shoes). The camera zooms through the ceiling in cut after cut, as it gets closer the angle changes in a dizzyingly alarming way. After the last cut you see what all the fuss was about: a brown leather messenger bag, its strap standing straight up as if waiting for the hand that forgot to grab it. The music stops, and the camera remains on the bag almost tenderly for a few beats before fading out to black. Fade in to David sitting on the couch with an oversized laptop on his lap, terribly missing his own computer.

That didn’t come out as poetic as I thought. My thoughts rarely do. Doolies’s sister is playing the piano while I type, encouraging me to keep to a rhythm. I was never very good with rhythm. Even as I played trumpet through college, I always kept the beat by following others and counting very carefully. I did not have an internal rhythm.

That lack of rhythm was evident during the holiday concert senior year. There was a trumpet solo in the only Hanukah song we played, and they mistakenly gave it to me. A trombone graduate student conducted us. Up to the solo the song was in 4/4 time, which means that there were four beats to a measure. When it came time to play the solo, the time signature changed to cut time or double time. There were still four beats in a measure but you played it twice as fast. I must have decided that the solo sounded better at a slower pace, and played it half the speed stretching out the long beautifully vibrato notes. Beautiful to me that is. The graduate student conductor was none too happy as he had to get the rest of the ensemble to switch to cut time after my solo. Suffice to say they never asked me to play another solo—which was for the best really. I never knew why they let me play in the ensemble through college. I auditioned freshman year by playing a terrible rendition of Send in the Clowns. I think they reserved one sympathy spot every year and I was it. I didn’t have much talent and except for one lazy summer, I barely practiced. But they had me and they gave me very good grades and even free private lessons.

I feel like I shared this story already. I’m hoping it was better this time.

The laptop I’m using is an oversized Sony Vaio and the keyboard is surprisingly supple. It doesn’t look like it would be: it has small keys similar to the ones they have at airports where they charge thirty-five cents a minute to look at the internet. The airport keys are metal but these are plastic. They feel surprisingly good to type on.

It’s nice to be somewhere else. Ruts are formed when I’m in the same place day in and day out. It’s why my musings are always more interesting when I travel. I have a starting point and direction. I can talk about the day and weave in stories and thoughts. When my days are always the same, there’s nothing to grab on to. I end up writing about the echo chamber of my own tiny brain. You’ve seen what that looks like.

I had too much meat with dinner. Her parents bought three steaks even though they don't eat meat. I barbequed two of them and probably ate one myself. Now I’m exhausted and I feel meat coming out of my nose. Maybe it’s time to become a vegetarian. Vegetarians never have meat coming out of their noses. I’m just not sure I can get used to the bean thing, however. We had beans last night and they weren’t terrible. But to have them multiple times a week sounds terrible. I respect vegans and vegetarians. It’s the same way I respect people who go to the gym: I’m proud of them, and wish I could be like them, but am secretly grateful I’m not.