|Caroline in Buffalo|
RJ’s musical knowledge is deep and varied. He’s that guy who has playlists of his favorite Memphis “soul” bands. Not just bands from Memphis, but “soul” bands. Over the years he and the others from the Westerberg message board have turned me on to tons of stuff and are largely responsible for my becoming an unapologetic music snob. I’m that guy who instead of calling you an asshole will just say, “I bet you love U2.” Even though I’m usually the only one in on the joke, it’s more polite and less confrontational. I especially love when people respond by extolling the greatness of where the streets have no names or tell me they haven’t found what they’re looking for. At any rate I was looking forward to RJ spinning tunes.
Give the extra time I, of course, worked on the blog. The blog has been both a blessing and a curse. Donna, despite occasionally telling me to stop talking about her love of rocks and teacups, has really liked that I documented the trip. The problem with documenting the trip, it always feels like I’m working. The flip side to that is, if I wasn’t working, I’d probably be reading or thinking about working and I most definitely would be pouring myself a cocktail earlier in the day. But all this writing is making feel like I’m missing something, however when I stop and do other things, they kind of bore me and I start thinking about working and writing. Why is life so complicated?
So I spent a nice day sitting on their deck writing and I read some more of my Chekov stories. Later we went to dinner. Caroline didn’t join us because she was full into her new job and was working till 6pm. What a change in her disposition when we talked on the phone now that she was gainfully employed again. I think in the Bible somewhere it says something about work being man’s salvation, but really, it’s the food and shelter that the work provides that is the salvation. Whatever it was, this new opportunity was all upside.
When Wednesday rolled around the van was running low on power so I took it for a short ride to Rock Glen Park to let the solar panels on the roof marinate in direct sunlight. RJ and Karen’s have this beautiful trellis with all kinds of greenery and hanging plants extending from their front porch over the driveway. I wasn’t sure the van would clear it so rather than be the guest from hell who does structural damage to your house I just parked in the street. Out in the street the van was partly parked under a tree and not recharging the lithium batteries which powers the lights, outlets, usb ports and the air-conditioning unit. In addition to the solar the batteries are also connected to the van’s alternator and charge while driving. Aside from the 30amp plug (which I’ve never used) this is the most efficient way to charge the batteries.
I worked on the blog at the park and when the batteries were sufficiently charged I headed back. RJ was done with work and we sat on the back porch and he played tunes and I drank a couple of beers. One of the things I learned from RJ was Ellen Foley, who sang the female part in Meatloaf's "Paradise By The Dashboard Light," was the girlfriend of Mick Jones from the Clash for a short period and sang lead on the great “Hitsville U.K,” from the “Sandinista” album. The tune has a gospel kind of vibe and I always assumed the lead vocal was some church choir with Jones whispering underneath it, but it’s Foley doing the lead. Well color me one embarrassed music snob.
To add insult to injury a little later after he dialed up another tune on the little Bose Bluetooth, I asked, “What Ellen Foley tune is this?” RJ responded, “This is the Undertones.” I was going to keep my mouth shut now.
But it hardly mattered. We had a great fun night eating, sipping cocktails and listening to tunes. Later I would redeem myself by calling up the live version of “You Never Can Tell,” the old Chuck Berry song, by Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band, which everyone loved including RJ.
Also, when Caroline arrived, she was in great spirits. In fact, it’s not often the father/daughter wall comes down between us, but tonight we hung out just as people and it was a fabulous treat. And, in a never seen before side of Caroline she was dancing. She especially tore it up to “Sledgehammer,” as done by Harry Styles on the Howard Stern show. I don’t know a thing about Harry Styles but he did a good job with the song. It was just a really fun night with both Karen and Caroline dancing. Karen even went into her closet and put on a Janis Joplin hat and shades but took a powder when it came time to lip synch, "Piece of my Heart."
After RJ and Karen went to bed Caroline and I hung out and watched a couple episodes of “The Bear" on Hulu and we returned to the father/daughter space. She was extended on the couch under her blanket with her head on my shoulder being my little girl again. Though I was leaving in the morning and all was right with her, it was still hard to leave her—it’s always hard.