The recovery from our flight back to Hawaii has been tougher than any i remember. When i finally got to sleep around 1:30 a.m. Saturday morning, i was a zombie, slept for eight hours, an eternity for this old man. i was in a daze for most of Saturday, especially after LSU took over Vanderbilt’s Dudley Field in every way possible. i forced myself to accomplish the required tasks of unpacking, reading the mail, helping Maureen grocery shop, and grilling the steaks for the three of us.
Throughout the day as almost every team for whom i root took it on the nose and the evening concluded with the Padres continuing to be hitless even after they fired their manager and San Diego State came oh so close to pulling it out with a late rally against Utah State…and of course, they couldn’t pull it out.
So this morning, i resolved to be more productive. i was for a while but i faded fast. i was in the “working” section of the garage. i thought maybe music would keep me going. In a way, it has since i haven’t taken a nap yet. But i quickly degenerated into piddling: small tasks that were unessential, just enjoying myself but still getting something done. i sat down with my infernal machine and begin to check out Facebook and email, the exercise mat lying empty on the floor behind me, the three or four projects i have just started at various places in the garage untouched.
i am deep into the maximum piddling morning.
And you know what? It feels good.
i plugged my laptop into the small shelf stereo. Just before we left for Hawaii, i discovered the “genius shuffle” under controls for iTunes. i have about 4,700 songs on my iTunes. They are nearly all from my CD, LP, and 45 RPM collection. i’m still adding from that collection but probably will never get to my reel-to-reel tapes. When i select “genius shuffle,” the program basically chooses a genre and similar style music to play until you either switch the “genius shuffle” or turn off iTunes. i have already listened to rock and roll oldies and country/bluegrass being shuffled by a genius.
This morning, i eschewed watching sports, especially NFL football. It’s just too not a sport anymore, too much business, too much marketing, too much entertainment. i sat in my garage and hit the magic shuffling button and jazz came on. Not just any jazz mind you, it was comforting jazz, some just a bit on the edge.
So for the last two hours i have listened to Ella Fitzgerald, Duke Ellington, Nina Simone, Louis Armstrong, Miles Davis, Nancy Wilson, Count Basie, Chet Baker, Charlie Parker, and several others.
The music seemed to capture me and send me to other worlds. One of those worlds was weeknights at WCOR FM, 103.7 on your old dial (gone now, or in another version). i would be alone in the station. AM had closed down at sunset and everyone else had gone home. i would close it all down at 10:30 p.m. and head to Winfree’s, the restaurant we used to go for Sunday, after church dinners, morphed into the Birdwell’s diner with Stewart sandwiches, pre-fab pizza, and beer with a shuffleboard table on the west side. We called the owners “Cat” and “Birdie.”
My FM job was to play something i interpreted to be “easy listening.” i decided to be avant garde for WCOR and Lebanon, Tennessee, even though i really didn’t have a clue as to what “avant garde” really meant. So i developed a 7:00 pm to 10:30 weeknight program i called “Evening Accent,” spinning off of the station’s programming catch phrase of “accent.” I called it a potpourri of music, playing classical, jazz, pop, big band, and anything i thought might fit, giving the listener (hopefully, there was more than one) an idea of what the next particular piece was and why it was included.
It was fun. i would put one side of an LP on, study for my next day’s classes sandwiched between a commuter ride to and from Middle Tennessee with Jimmy Hatcher and i taking turns driving.
i listened to my program. This dyed-in-the-wool blues college student retread essentially introduced himself to the different genres. i discovered i liked, although i still eschewed “bubble gum” rock and roll, this stuff.
Today thus far, the genius shuffle has allowed me to listen to Ella Fitzgerald, Duke Ellington, Nina Simone, Louis Armstrong, Miles Davis, Nancy Wilson, Count Basie, Dave Brubeck, John Coltrane, Ray Charles , Chet Baker, and several others of that mode.
i found myself relaxing for over two hours absorbed in the music, just me and my music in my garage. Piddling.
i think it’s time for my nap.