Friday, January 18, 2013

Trees, Trees, the Musical Fruit

I don't really know anything about plants anymore these days but after years of immersion in what amounts to a well-paid dork subculture (and I mean that in the best possible way), planty thoughts are understandably pervasive in my life: I slip unnoticed into Latin. I catch myself building meals around plant genera. I select bouquets for their alpha diversity.

And it's totally cool for me to do these things... when I'm at work. When they happen at not-work, welp, it's plain weird. I started plant rambling at some point over Christmas and only noticed when my sister gave me a look that said "Did you just fart?" (which temporarily gave me pause - er, did I?) until I realized the look meant "What in hell are you talking about and for gawd's sake why?" In short, plant things are not things that are discussed in polite company.

Except, surprisingly, when you're buying a guitar.

When you're buying a guitar and the portly, bald, sortof gnome-like fellow who wishes to sell you said guitar tells you the topboard is made of spruce and you accidentally say "OooOh! What kind of spruce?" (then quickly bite your tongue because you've just speech-farted a stranger and, besides, the average person on the street thinks everything with needles is a generic sort of entity known only as 'spruce'), you will be pleased to learn that you have inadvertently stumbled on The Only Right Time Ever to Ask a Plant Question in Public. You will know this because the fellow's eyes will roll back in his head and he will enter what appears to be a state of gnome rapture.

"Er, are you alright sir?"

"Ooooooohhhh, yessss! Ooohh, I'm so glad you asked! It's Sitka spruce. Most guitars use Engelmann spruce but this! This is Sitka spruce. Oh, it has such a much better sound than Engelmann!"

I tried not to look at him as if he had just farted.

"Oh, just listen to the sound of it!"

I listened to the sound of it.

"Did you hear it?"

"Um... yes. What a lovely sound it has, thank you."

Which got me thinking, as I drove home with my new guitar in tow: if a tree falls in the forest, does anybody hear what species it was?

Friday, January 11, 2013

Jet Setting

My brother and I have red hair and green eyes; our parents do not. I distinctly remember the day in my early teens when I realized just what "from the mailman" meant.

(What the... aw, ewwww, moooom!)

But now that I'm older I see the fun in the game and busy myself with leaving little breadcrumbs to adulthood for my own kids. One day they, too, will come to be perturbed by those mysterious snippets I planted in their inquiring minds in their childhood:

'Mom, there's something wrong with the shower!'
(It was on a massage setting; I set it to spray.)
'Oh, no, dear. It's so right.'
... huh?

It's like time travel when you think about it - I'm saying the words in the present, but really I'm speaking to some future Medium Fry whose current carbon atoms have for the most part cycled along to new career opportunities. The concept works the same with all manner of my own quirks and aphorisms. It's called "oh my gawd I'm turning into my mother" - a game which I also think I'm going to get a great deal of perverse enjoyment out of watching unfold, but for now the breadcrumbs game remains my favourite.

'Mom, you're the best cook ever. Is that because the secret ingredient is love?'
'Thanks, sweetie. I prefer to think of it as 'resentment'.'
... huh?

I pulled out the fridge and stove last weekend to clean behind them. (I don't know where I find the courage, either. Just awesome I guess.) Under the stove I found a Gladware lid (small diameter, round - still no idea where the containers themselves get off to), enough dust bunnies that a craftier me could have spun them into yarn and knitted a hat, and an entire banana, blackened and shriveled and quite thoroughly become "one" with the linoleum. (Who the hell dropped an entire banana under the stove and didn't correct the issue?!) Under the fridge I found the dust bunny mothership, a lunch bag strap, a spoon (mismatched), another Gladware lid, several jumbo raisins, some corn puffs, a school permission slip from the spring of 2009, and a toy horse (brown).

I distinctly remember the day in Small Fry's toddlerhood when he was writhing around on the kitchen floor muttering 'hush, hush' like a little mental patient and I had to shove him out of the way with the fridge door if I needed to get anything out of there because he refused to move.

Ah. Not 'hush.' 'Horse.'

And not quite time travel, then. More like listening to whale song and coming to the gradual realization that ... oh my gosh ... these things are people, too, and it might just be that they're trying to communicate with us. Perhaps we're just not advanced enough to understand it yet.