Thursday, February 5, 2009

Musical Incompatibility

We should have a song.

When you're shooting the rapids of love, these might just be the scariest five words in the English language.

When she first said them, we'd been together for about a month. We were on a bus and it was raining. I watched a raindrop make its way up the bus window for about 30 seconds before I answered. "What do you have in mind?"

Over the past weeks, I'd marveled at her record collection -- an impossible mix of British Invasion, punk, self-indulgent singer-songwriter crap, prog, several records by the Time (but none by Prince), and treacly AM drivel. Her steadfast commitment to Elvis Costello and the Sex Pistols was only matched by her passionate embrace of all things Marilyn McCoo and Billy Davis Jr.

And now she wanted to pick a song?

I watched her as she ticked through her mental Rolodex of songs and wondered if the old 45s she bought at flea markets would triumph over the vinyl she inherited from her brother when he went to college (most with the plastic wrapping still intact, warping the records slowly as the seasons changed) or if the second-generation cassettes she'd taped from scratched CDs of albums her friends bought at the mall would come to haunt my dreams with their low-fi hiss (not to mention the distortion from sitting in a glove compartment through three hot summers).

I wasn't sure that any song qualified as our song. There weren't particular songs playing when we met or on our first date. We didn't both harbor the same unquenchable thirst for the same music. We'd never gone to any concerts together (and it didn't look like we ever would). So why do we need a song? Is there some rule that every couple needs a song?

"Every couple who are in love needs a song," she answered, as if she could read my thoughts.

And as the bus rolled through huge puddles at the bottom of the hill where Route 9 makes its way back into town, she started to smile.

By the time the bus reached our stop, she'd come up with a song. And I knew, deep in my heart, that I was doomed (link for Gmail subscribers).


"Really?" I asked. "A song about muskrats? You think I'm a rodent?"

"It's a metaphor," she said.

"For what?" We stood in the rain as the bus pullled away and after a long time she asked if I had any ideas.

Yeah. Not to force the idea of having a song down my throat.

But I had to come up with something. So I did (link for Gmail subscribers):


We broke up the next day.

3 comments:

Mike said...

Yeah. Risky business, I always thought The Captain and Tenille had one of the dodgiest *lyrics* ever. Ahem: "Do it to one more time, once is never enough with a man like you". And she was trying to be nice. I'd say you got off lightly.

Anonymous said...

At least it wasn't Feelings. Or I Want To Know What Love is. Or Lola!

late blooming mom said...

It's really too painful to admit how well I know that damn MUSKRAT song. Which just goes to show that the music playing when you grow up sticks like glue even if you run from it all the way to Cole Porter.