Erik Satie, A Crashing Bird & My Pornographic Swimming TrunksWednesday, August 03, 2011
In preparation for our trip to south Texas we had our Malibu serviced, I purchased two new tires and I made sure the car was spotless inside and out. We tried to make the back seat (a spacious one we were to find out) as comfortable as possible for our granddaughters. I asked their father to make sure the laptop he was providing us with had a headphone splitter so that the girls could watch films without fighting. And I prepared a program of films which I thought might please both. There were four Johnny Weissmuller Tarzan movies and the three Lassies with Elizabeth Taylor. Rebecca had shown some interest in a Raymond Chandler graphic novel so I brought Robert Altman’s 1973 The Long Goodbye. I also prepared an extensive assortment of music CDs including many jazz ones that had been Rebecca’s favourites in the past.
But the films were never seen and I really never played music until the fateful day we left Moab, Utah.
The radio was turned most of the time as both girls had their devices (an iTouch and a MP-3 player) that gave them the music they wanted. I asked Rebecca to help me with the navigation and she was to tell me what Dolores (the name we gave our GPS) was planning for us with a couple of miles of heads up. But that rarely happened and I would say, “Rebecca, what is she saying?” Rebecca would look at me and remove her earbuds and say, “What did you say?” I could not seem to convince her that navigation was not something you multitasked at. This meant that Dolores would tell us, “ Make a u-turn now,” at the precise moment we were entering a freeway.
Occasionally Rebecca would find a good country and western station and would comment that the music was perfect seeing we were in Montana, or Arizona. I agreed while noticing that most of the music was about the good times past and there was even a song that began something like, “Am I the only one who wants to have fun tonight?” Country and Western music seemed to be one subject Rebecca and I agreed on.
One morning as we left the beautiful town of Moab which is surrounded by warm reddish brown mountains, some very close I decided I would play some music as the mountains changed to parched but beautiful plains. I put in Rebecca’s most favourite, Erik Satie’s Gymnopédies. But she never noticed. The earbuds were firmly implanted. Suddenly there was a loud thud a bird crashed and died (I was driving at the speed limit of 80mph) on our windshield. The landscape was beautiful as was the music but somehow the bird’s death felt not only unnecessary but almost obscene. You don’t need to go as far as saying, “All those children that are dying of starvation in Somalia. That’s proof that God does not exist.” A bird, uselessly dying on my Malibu’s windshield is powerful enough.
An hour later I could no longer resist and I had to stop the car to snap with my iPhone the huge and close windpowered electric generators. We had seen these almost every day in our drive through the United States. They seemed to be a purely fresh and beautiful as any of the Gymnopédies we (I) had been listening to.
|Idaho Falls, Idaho
Rosemary and I told the girls that the day was going to be a very long driving day and that we would attempt to make it to Butte, Montana. The route was a longer one to the one we had taken on our way south. Rosemary had suggested we see different things and go by another way. We told the girls that to ameliorate the long drive we would try to stop somewhere for a nice dinner.
We found that in Idaho Falls (not to terribly far from our final destination of Butte) there was a restaurant across the street from the falls. That is where we had our dinner. I crossed the street to check out the falls and noticed two old ladies sitting at a beautiful park bench. I looked at the falls and counted many. I told the ladies (I was confused I would find out) “ I see here more than two falls.” They replied in unison, “Twin Falls, Idaho is in that direction. That’s a different place.”
I took some pictures of the girls by the falls. They seemed to be serious or sad. They had not really noticed that morning’s bird. Perhaps my melancholy had rubbed on them. It was, I found out soon dispelled at my expense.
We were soaking in the not too hot tub of our less than stellar Butte, Montana hotel (the hot tub was injecting cold water in that place where our backs lose their name, if you know what I mean). We were in a tub which in spite of the water’s temperature dichotomy the mood was raucously funny. We were in a tub with four biker chicks all tattooed and chatting with Rebecca and asking her about Vancouver. I decided to get out and try the pool which according to Lauren was extremely cold. I put my toes in it and agreed and returned to the hot tub. Rebecca and the biker chicks were all laughing. Rebecca said, “You need to buy a new pair of swimming trunks. These are so bleached that we can see everything.” I retorted with, “Well, Rebecca do I have a nice bum for my age?” Her answer with another laugh was another question, “What kind of question is that?”
All is ample proof that in spite of birds crashing onto our Malibu’s windshield, God exists and Rebecca might just enjoy Erik Satie again some day.