Thursday, July 16, 2009

Dulcet Tones

On Tuesday I was driving to the airport to pick up our friends who are visiting from Tokyo. I am listening to NPR and my mind is wandering as various politicos try to get information / reactions from Sotomayer. I decide that I've had enough of listening to the dems blow sweet smelling clove smoke up her butt while tossing her compliments not so cleverly disguised as questions, and the reps making snide commentary and criticisms while asking insanely badly worded questions to try to get her to blurt out the next sound bite that they will use in all the newspapers to illustrate her ineptitude as the next supreme court justice. So I change the station to listen to some music.

This music is kind of nice because the boys are at camp and I do not have to listen to Lady Gaga over and over again - - no matter how much George the Younger likes to sing about taking a ride on his disco stick. I do not have to shudder at the thought that I know the lyrics to Echo and Blame it on the Alcohol (or whatever the real name of that song is). I get to listen to what I want to listen to. Boring, stupid pop songs. I want to hear Plain White Tees. But that's not where I'm headed.

I start listening to some woman singing. I don't know who she is. I don't know the name of the song. This has always been a shortcoming of mine. It makes singing karaoke very challenging. You get the BIG book of songs listed both by song title and by artist so that you can pick the "Best" song to sing in front of friends and strangers. Problem is - I don't know the names of songs or the names of artists who sing them. So I just leaf through the book wishing that I had thought of this earlier and made some kind of a list before being confronted with the 10 inch thick volume of possible choices. Finally, someone else will get up and sing and I will be pissed off because I KNOW THAT SONG. I just can't find it in the book. So I end up singing My Way or something by Cyndi Lauper 'cause for some unknown damn reason I remember her. But that's not where I'm headed either.

This woman singing has a beautiful voice. Like angelically lovely. So I thought it's pity that everyone can't sing like that. Which led me on this little daisy chain of thinking that since most humans (at least those who are not unfortunately deaf or mute) have the capacity to make and mimic noise - why can't we all sing well? Now I know that all humans cannot sign well especially since my own husband, George the Elder, cannot carry a tune on a shovel. In fact, last Saturday morning he rose before me and headed in to the adjacent room to catch up on the family finances and to surf the web for whatever he searches for. He put on his head phones to listen to music while I continued my morning of sleeping in resulting from the absence of children in my home. The problem was I kept being jolted awake by what can only be described as a keening noise akin to that of a banshee. It was George "singing" along to whatever he was listening to. He was singing and I was frightened awake thinking a small animal was caught in a trap or something. But that's not where I was headed either....

Where I WAS headed in my weird little daisy chain of logic was whether or not some birds are worse singers than others. I hear them chirping and warbling, but is what I hear the same as what other birds of that species hear? Is it possible that there are some tone deaf song birds who are relentlessly ridiculed by their song bird peers because, they too, can't carry a tune on a tiny little bird shovel. I'm no ornithologist - so what do I know. I was just wondering.

My own wondering got me to wondering even further... why was I wondering about this at all? There I was starting off my day being all in-the-current-event-mode trying to decipher whether or not some woman was the right choice for supreme court justice and I end up wondering whether some talentless Chestnut-backed Chicka-dee is cursedly mocked by his chicka-dee friends. You are most certainly wondering the same damn thing.

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