Thursday, July 29, 2004

The Littlest Birds

My husband, D. is an audiophile. This is a small but mighty part of what I love about him --- and my great luck is that in marrying him my own music collection grew probably 20 times what it had been without him. There are walls in our home lined with CDs and albums. (Yes, the old black and colored vinyl albums that spin on a turntable. For my money, they still produce the best sounding recorded music, even if you do occasionally have to listen past the shushing, pops, and crackling.) We've got some of every kind of music you could want to hear. We also have boxes and boxes of cassettes, but they are generally neglected -- I almost feel sorry for them. (Occasionally they get attention when one of us wants to listen to something we don't have on CD and thus cannot listen to in the car.)

You'd think it was too much music, a ridiculous decadence. But no one I know, except for my BF's husband, with whom D. shares this bond, listens to music as much as we do. It's even one our favorite "date night" activites: a bottle of wine and a stack of albums to play as we discuss everything, everything, everything. On what I'd call perfect Sunday mornings we choose a good jazz or gospel album as accompaniment to brunch making and newspaper-reading and spend a few hours feeling decadently at ease. In my ideal world, one day, we will lose all wall space to books and music.

Recently, D. brought home two new boxes of records from a sale at a local radio station. The price had been $10/box and not only did he fill two boxes, but he overfilled them, so that before he could even talk to me as he dumped them on our dining room table, he had taken several out of the box anxiously, to make sure none were damaged. He'd gone to the three-day sale just 20 minutes before it finally ended (he'd been avoiding it for fear of just such a outcome) and had frantically stuffed albums into the boxes. He said he'd had barely a second to decide on each album he touched. Nonetheless, as we looked through them, we found no more than three duplicates in our current collection of albums or CDs among the new 200+ albums he brought home. I so sincerely admire that: for as many albums and CDs as he already has (well over 2,000), D. really knows what he wants and what he's got. This is true in all ways.

D. and I had a strange courtship that's a different story for another time, but once we were openly a couple, I told my friends something they had never expected to hear me say, something even I had only ever considered some weakly hackneyed phrase: "I see the father of my children in his eyes." It was revelatory for me to say it and mean it, and was pretty much all my best girlfriends needed to hear to fall in love with him for me. To give friends who hadn't met him an idea about him, I'd tell them that he's the kind of man who wouldn't make anything even close to an ass of himself enclosed in a room alone with a teenage girl brimming with all that lush about-to-burst-ness girls have when we first begin to experiment with our sex appeal. For that matter, I sincerely doubt he'd even give a second thought to her behavior, other than to find her amusing. He's just a real adult Man, healthy enough to be attracted to real women, rather than girls just playing at it. That was a serious breath of fresh air to me --- and to my best friends, who have called him exactly the man they would have chosen for me for this and other reasons.

He's a man cut from the cloth of my grandfathers, strong and kind, honest and hard-working. D.'s principled, generous, smart and funny. And to my great luck since all of that was more than enough to capture my heart, he's sexy and handsome in a irresistably boyish way. The kind of man, especially in a suit, at whom women bat their eyelashes. It's hilarious, and especially endearing that he says he never notices, though I know he does.

His boyish good looks match a playfulness to his spirit that makes him our dog's favorite of the two of us, which might make me jealous except that I totally understand. He's my favorite playmate, too. He's also five years older than me, which I consider an ideal difference, though it would have been awkward if we'd met while he was in high school instead of in our 30s. (Of course, watching John Edwards last night, I realized that like Edwards, D. is going to look under 35 for the next 15-20 years --- and it's going to suck to look like his mom when that happens, especially because he's a good handful of years older than me.)

In any case, as tempting as it is to digress at this point with comments on the DNC -- which I almost certainly will have at some point because it is saving my American soul (I just deleted a couple of long paragraphs about that) -- here's the inspiration for this particular post:

It does not stop thrilling me that this man loves me. Loves me like he thinks he's the luckiest man alive. Loves me not like I'm some perfect ideal of person, putting me in the doomed position of ultimately failing him, but because he knows me and loves me for me.

Yesterday, for my long drive to/from a particularly stressful meeting out of town, D. made me a mixed CD (while convenient, this is a technology taking one more blow to our cassettes collection). He has more music than any sane person should. It makes no sense that he knows it all so well. And yet, yesterday, he made me a CD of songs I'd never heard before but that he knew I would like. Some of them are just satisfying jams -- there's punk, hip-hop, bluegrass, blues, jazz, funk, world, dance, and gospel music in the mix. But one song in particular floored me -- the one he had anticipated would be the highlight of the mix, positioned in high relief in an artful arc of inspired compliation. Only someone who really knows me, and only a man who truly loves me, would make a point of making sure I heard this song and would frame it as the climax of a mix meant for me.

I know from reading about your musical tastes on the blogs of some of you who stop by to visit that this song might not be to your taste, but wow. It is a song straight out of my heart. This is a video: The Be Good Tanyas singing "The Littlest Birds." (Here are the lyrics.)

God, I love that man.