“Windy,” The Association
I was going to blog this but then I saw Peter blog it and now I’m so happy because it’s topical and also reminds me of my childhood because my mom used to play this song ALL THE TIME (apparently this particular Assiciation record was one of her favorite albums growing up?) and it’s basically my the Official Theme Of My Consciousness.
When the Internet doesn’t give a shit, at least other Fingers care.
My father was a principal. You could read it in his neckties.
I was the Vice President of our Student Council and had to attend an event (at which I was giving some kind of stupid address) in a suit and tie. I had a suit, but couldn’t find any ties in my notoriously cluttered closet. I rushed downstairs and asked my dad if I could raid the tie organizer I had given him a number of Father’s Days prior. After pressing the red button, the strained motor began spinning his ties most pathetically until I removed my thumb.
There it was - the tie I would wear.
I went to school and met with our Vice Principal prior to the event. He was the Student Council sponsor. The cool one. The one with tattoos on his forearm. The one with the coolest office. The one who told us that story about how he was always getting suspended in high school until “growing up” and make it through college with honors. How he went to grad school to become a educator because educators inspired him toturn his life around. After entering his office, where the local top 40 station could always be heard, he smiled.
“Hey Bobby.” After tilting his head down and examining my outfit further, he continued. “Raided your father’s tie rack, I see.” He chuckled, then patted me on the shoulder while walking me to our event.
I’m still cringing.
My parents were both in education, so every evening they were home early enough to make dinner for the family. Sure, there may have been papers to grade or angry parents to deal with over the phone, but family dinner was always a priority. On weeknights my mom, dad, brother, sister and I would gather around the table and fill our plates. After we’d served ourselves, the ritual began.
“What was your favorite part of the day?” was how it began. It was the question my Dad wanted us all to answer – including himself. After responses began prompting follow up questions, he added, “Don’t ask ‘Why?’” And after my siblings got around that new rule through a linguistic loophole, it became, “Don’t ask ‘Why?’ or ‘How come?’” And that’s what I remember. A protein. A couple of sides. A glass of water. Maybe a roll. And “What was your favorite part of the day? Don’t ask ‘Why?’ or ‘How come?’” Every night. This all began before I was born, and continued until around the time my brother left for college. I miss it.
Occasionally, when cooking a big dinner with my best friends in Greenpoint, I’ll ask my friends to humor me and go around the table answering the Finger Dinner Question. They oblige, hesitantly at first, but eventually (I like to believe) they grow to love it – even if their response is just, “The best part of my day was dinner.”
Because, of course, the question is irrelevant.
It’s not about the responses, but the company. The act of listening. Of acknowledging. Of realizing how perfect sitting around and enjoying a meal with friends and family can be. You should try it some time.
Just don’t ask “Why?” or “How come?”
It runs in the family.
Heyyyyyyyyy brother. Happy birthday. I left you a voicemail. Call me back. Or don’t. Actually, I’ll call you tomorrow - let’s say 6PM your time? OK cool.
My brother reads my blog and emailed me re: the post I wrote about how he broke my Now 2 CD in 1999.
I don’t remember the incident, but I do remember the trip. You guys were talking about Titanic a lot, maybe?
I’m seeing Garbage tonight and thinking about that time I wouldn’t stop listening to Now That’s What I Call Music 2 on a trip to visit my grandparents
Literally every track was the best:
“Baby One More Time”
“You Get What You Give”
“My Favorite Mistake”
“I Think I’m Paranoid”
“Because of You”
“Take Me There”
“When a Woman’s Fed Up”
“Father of Mine”
“What I Got”
“I’ll Never Break Your Heart”
“Hard Knock Life”
“Everybody’s Free (To Wear Sunscreen)”
Though each of these songs was a hit in their own right, it’s hard for me to separate them from this particular track list. I can’t listen to The Spice Girls’ “Goodbye” (and yes, I do still listen to The Spice Girls’ “Goodbye”) without expecting the Rugrats-sampling “Take Me There” to begin playing immediately after. I’m also transported to a very particular summer when my family visited my grandparents. What would Stanislavski call that - a sense memory? Whatever the case, I listened to “Now 2” during much of the drive, discussed “Now 2” during much of the drive, and hummed along with “Now 2” during much of the drive. After finally switching to a different album while sitting in my grandparents’ den, I returned the perfect disc to its hinged cradle (that held the most beautiful album art of all time) and set it on the couch – the very couch where my brother planned to sit just moments later.
I reacted to the sound of the crack as if being jolted awake from a deep sleep. The crunch entered my ear canal and proceeded to inform my brain that something had just gone wrong – that my universe had suddenly collapsed. “Oh, I think I sat on your CD,” said my brother as he held its remains with a half-smile. I couldn’t even formulate a response. I couldn’t even look at him. I just took the two pieces of reflective plastic and attempted to reconnect their rainbows. It didn’t work.
It’s such a hard knock life.