old (2008), Uncategorized

hothouse flowers = spot on

It’ll be easier in the morning
It’ll be easier in the day
Sun will shine on through your window
We got light to lead the way

(Hothouse Flowers, It’ll Be Easier in the Morning)
Christmas, 1987. I got my first CD player, though I was naïve enough that I didn’t realize I also needed an amplifier and speakers, so I sat there on Christmas Day, looking at its shiny silver casing, pressing the Open/Close button over and over, wondering whether I’d ever be able to fit the pieces of my life together in a way that made sense and allowed the music to come through the sadness.

It was easy as a trip to Radio Shack the next day, but that feeling has stayed with me… the sense of headstrong foolishness as I rush into situations thinking I’ve got them all figured out, when it becomes patently obvious mid-way through that I’ve forgotten (or failed to realize) some component necessary for success. I’m getting better at this — way better — but there are still moments when I second-guess myself, fail to plan effectively, or tend to simply make a huge mess of things because of my crazy-lady behavior.

Lots of things have happened over the past 24 hours that aren’t blog fodder; suffice it to say that I’ve been thinking about that first CD player, especially because my new HD DVD player came in the mail and in hooking it up last night, there were components missing (because, duh, I assumed they would all be in the box…) and another trip to Radio Shack is in the near future, though Sax Man’s superior knowledge of electronics, music, and All Things Guy will, I am sure, be more valuable than going to get stereo components with my grandmother.

What I regularly choose to remember about the CD player experience 21 years ago isn’t that feeling of failure — though it is definitely still there — but, rather, what came a few weeks after: joining (like a zillion other teen-agers) some monthly CD club and getting my first order in the mail: The Replacements’ Pleased to Meet Me, REM’s Document, The Smithereens’ Green Thoughts, Peter Tosh’s No Nuclear War, The Sugarcubes’ Life’s Too Good, Crowded House’s Crowded House, Sting’s Nothing Like the Sun. None of it was particularly subversive by any means, but for me… well, for me, given what I came from (my parents listened to Barbara Mandrell and Ronnie Milsap), I might as well have dropped out of high school and started following the Dead (though, of course, later I would drop out of college and do just that, more or less). As foolish as I felt about not knowing what the hell I was doing with the CD player, getting it and figuring it out and setting it up so it would work took me to a place where I could do something so average and mundane as order a half-dozen CDs through the mail, CDs I still have more than two decades later and which remain some of my favorites.

And I don’t feel naïve about the DVD player (that was just a bit funny, seeing Sax Man sitting on my floor, surrounded by wires, seeing him have an Aha! moment in the midst of it) because we ended up watching 2 Days in Paris (which was a phenomenal movie and a must-see for a new perspective on post-modern romance) and it was all fine. And the other things going on in my life? Well… it seems to be a pattern for me that confusion and a lack of knowledge about what’s normal open the door for growth and issue a mandate to me to figure out how to put all the components together to make something that works. Sometimes I just wish it were as easy as going to Radio Shack for coaxial cables.