Audition Blues

A couple of weeks ago my husband had the opportunity to audition for a recording session. The guy came to our apartment for the audition, so I had the opportunity to hide in the bedroom and listen to the goings on.

I didn’t see the guy because my stepson and I scurried to our bedrooms like roaches as soon as his car pulled up. If I remember correctly, his name was Rob. According to my husband, Rob was a straggly man with a beaten up car that looked like he hadn’t bathed in weeks. He brought his guitar and amp with him so they could play together. He was making a blues album. I should say CD because they don’t make albums anymore, but album sounds so much better to me. You know what I mean? I write album, but when you read it, you think CD. Okay?

Anyway, this is what I overheard and it was all very interesting–dubious but interesting. Rob was from the other coast of Florida but came over here to record his album because their are no decent recording studios on the east coast. He had four days booked in the most expensive studio in the area. Maybe he had money. Some people with money like to dress down. Maybe he was planning on recording and running without paying the musicians he hired. I mean come on now, there must be good recording studios on the east coast of Florida.

The first problem was that Rob couldn’t tune his guitar. When this became apparent, my husband said he was thinking, “Oh no! What can I do to get out of this?”

My husband played an E repeatedly on the piano and Rob said, “Now play an E.” So my husband played the E again for him. Finally, after he was as tuned up as he was going to get, he said, “Play a B blues progression.”

My husband asked, “What feel?”

“You know, a B blues progression,” Rob said.

“Okay but what kind of tempo do you want?” my husband asked.

Then Rob did the strangest thing. To demonstrate the tempo it sounded like he just vaguely rubbed the strings. I could hear the sound of strings being scratched or something, but no pulse. So my husband started playing and Rob launched into a solo that, surprisingly, sounded pretty good.

“Now lets do something with a different feel,” Rob said. Again he vaguely rubbed the strings to demonstrate the kind of feel he wanted. I wondered where he had learned this technique and came to the conclusion that he must have made it up. My husband started playing a bass line and Rob didn’t play anything. He just sat there, watching him play. “Do you listen to any John Lee Hooker?”

“No,” my husband answered.

“This isn’t going to work out,” Rob said, and he packed up his stuff and left. Everyone in the house exhaled when he walked out of the house.

My stepson and I emerged from our rooms and tried to get a full report of what had happened. “I felt like he was going to kill me,” my husband said. “I was waiting for him to put down his guitar and start punching me in the face over and over. I’m glad he left.”

We were all glad he left. We went back to our normal lives–talking about politics, writing about magic boxes and recording accordions–and tried to forget about Rob.

Meeting in the Middle

My husband is nine years older than me. I like to remind him of this as much as possible. Not because the age difference is a big deal to me, but because I like to see him squirm when I use the word older in reference to him. My father is 15 years older than my mother. I think that my grandfather was nearly 25 years older than my grandmother–now that’s a big age difference! I can’t even imagine. So, I’m keeping the family tradition alive.

Though we have an age difference, people usually assume we are the same age. They are shocked when they discover my husband’s age. Upon finding out that my husband was 41, one of my friends sat on our sofa and said, “That’s amazing!” repeatedly. I guess he does look young for his age.

One day an elderly woman started talking to us. She thought we looked like a nice couple. She talked to us for a little bit. As she talked, I was stunned by what she was saying. First she told my husband that he looked too young to be married.

“How could you be married? You’re so young,” she said to my husband. Then she turned to me and said, “Don’t worry. You have such beautiful skin, you’ll never age. White skin ages so fast. One day you’ll meet in the middle.” What’s that suppose to mean?

I must look older than he does. I looked at myself extra hard in the mirror that night after washing my face. I didn’t see many wrinkles–just a few lines under my eyes. Are these few wrinkles enough to make me look older than him? I hope not. I’m not into beauty products, but maybe I should look into buying some anti-aging cream. I could solve the problem by stressing my husband out so much that he gets some gray hair and wrinkles, but I would never do that.

Open Up

I‘m thorough. I always wear a moisturizer with sunscreen. I always put sunscreen on my tattoo. I brush my teeth after every meal. I get my teeth cleaned every six months. I can’t imagine not doing these things. That’s why I was shocked and appalled when my husband told me that the last time he went to the dentist’s office was the same year that Bon Jovi released the Slippery When Wet album.

He went today for the first time in twenty years. I pushed him out of the door with a scared look on his face. He had muttered something about canceling the appointment earlier in the day. As he left he said he’d be back after they pulled out all of his teeth.

We go to the same dentist. Maybe they give nervous patients free hits of laughing gas. They sure didn’t give me any. I don’t know what they did to him, but he came back with all of his teeth and a big smile. He was gleeful. He was delighted to show me a copy of his x-rays and his paperwork stating all of the work he needs done.

Most people don’t want to go to the dentist. Even if you have good teeth, it’s uncomfortable to have someone poking around in your mouth. They say they know what they’re doing with those metal hooks, but what if they slip or sneeze? All of the drilling and scraping is unpleasant. Who knows where that suction tube has been?

My husband can’t wait to go back. His next appointment is on his birthday. He can’t ask for a better birthday present. He can have his teeth cleaned in the morning and we can eat birthday cake in the afternoon.

Let Them Eat Cake

I’m trying to be healthy. Most of the time, I eat food that is good for me. I’ve always enjoyed fruit and nuts and bark-like healthy things, like Grapenuts.

When I was younger, I wasn’t very excited about sweet food. Recently, I have developed a sweet tooth. I like sweets. I love cake. People must be able to tell that I like cake because I seem to be in situations where people offer me cake often–free cake. How can I turn down free cake?

Not so long ago, my parents stopped by to visit us after eating out. My father had a piece of cake that he got but hadn’t eaten. He left it in our refrigorator. It was a relatively large piece of white cake with a thick layer of icing on it. I can’t eat an entire piece of cake without getting a belly ache so I space it out. I’ll eat a couple of fork fulls after lunch and a couple after dinner. That is how I planned to eat this piece of cake.

About a day later my husband casually mentioned the cake and that he was going to throw it out. When I told him that I was eating it, he was shocked and dismayed.

“I didn’t think you liked cake,” he said.

I was wondering how he could think such a thing about me. Of course, I like cake. I love it. I especially love ice cream cake. If I could live in an ice cream cake house I would. That would probably never happen. An ice cream cake house wouldn’t do well in Flordia.

He thought that because I didn’t eat dessert in restuarants that I didn’t like desserts. I had to explain that ordering a dessert in a resturant is a waste because sweet is sweet. If I can buy something sweet for a third of the price in a grocery store, why would I waste my money buying it in a resturant? Why waste money on it at all? I get offered something sweet almost daily for free.

Anyway, he ended up eating more than half of the piece of cake in front of me. He complained about how sweet it was the whole time. I’m still not sure how or why it happened. It’s all a blur. At first there was enough cake to last me five days. Then there was only enough for one day. What happened? Where did it all go? It went into the belly of a cake-hater. It went into the belly of someone who can’t even begin to appreciate the lovely joy and happiness that is cake. Cake. Cake. Say it out loud with me. Cake. Doesn’t it make you smile.

He says he did it for my own good. High cholesterol runs in my family. I’m always saying I want to eat healthy food. He says he was trying to take away my temptation. He did it because he loves me. I still don’t quite understand the logic, but his intentions were good.

We are opposites, a cake-lover who fell in love with a cake-hater. We can share a home, a bed, our lives, but not our desserts. Cake. One day his eyes will be opened and he’ll understand the beauty of cake. One day he’ll come to my side, and we’ll live happily ever after in an ice cream cake house in the country.

The Nebulous Mooch

patrickMy husband is a musical genius, or at least that’s what people tell me. That’s him up there. His business card says that he is a composer and arranger, but he thinks that sounds pompous. So, I’ll just say that he is a musician.

These days he’s preparing for a concert he’s doing at a local theater. His Fender Rhodes, piled with sheet music, crackles and pops as he plays. Occasionally, he’ll ask me to play a melody for him on my saxophone, which I stumble painfully through. I’m not a musical genius. No one needs to tell me that.

He often complains about being unable to name his tunes. Since I fancy myself as a writer, I figure I can help with this dilemma. I’ve come up with brilliant titles such as, “Poop beaten gold,” a quote from Shakespeare’s Anthony and Cleopatra and “Life’s frailest barks” a quote from Phila Earle Hanely. Unfortunately, none of these have met his approval so they are yet to be used.

The other day, he asked me for help naming a tune he had tentatively titled “Beloved Son”. Wanting to make sure I came up with the best and most appropriate title, I asked him what he wrote it about. He told me a story about a Chinese movie he had seen about a family wandering around after being kicked out of their house. “It’s kind of a vague wandering,” he said. I didn’t think that “Vaguely Wandering Chinese People” would be a good name so I turned to my trusty thesaurus.

First I looked up vague and found the usual words like indeterminable, indistinct and unplanned. Towards the end of the list of words was nebulous. Then I looked up wander and found words like meander and drift. Towards the end of that list was the word mooch. “Why do they list the best words last?” I wondered until I realized they were in alphabetical order.

“Nebulous Mooch,” I said aloud and he actually typed it across the top of the page. Nebulous mooch. Sometimes I whisper it when I’m alone in the bathroom. Nebulous Mooch.