saint-louise's Diaryland Diary

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It might be easier for you to follow a dust mote around for a while.

A couple of days ago, I was driving merrily along, listening to Radiohead. Yes, I was merry. Radiohead has that effect on me. Which, come to think of it and considering the tone of most of their music, may be a sign that Radiohead as a band was conceived somewhere on the plane of Irony.

But there I was, listening to Radiohead. It was the beginning of “Treefingers,” if I recall correctly. A traffic light turned red, and I had to brake very suddenly. This caused my bag, which was sitting in the passenger’s seat, to fall forward. Then I heard a strange voice, singing.

I thought it was part of the Radiohead song, that it was a subtle background soundbite, and that perhaps I hadn’t noticed it before because I hadn’t previously listened to the CD with the volume up so loud.

Why was the volume up so loud? You’re asking this. I can feel it. Or perhaps I’m overcompensating. I grew up immersed in my family’s customary story-listening technique, which involves asking for irrelevant details. You must realize that this is because we want to really enjoy a story. We want to be there. We want to feel it, for the LOVE OF GOD. Despite the best intentions, however, this technique has the side effect of removing all impact, and almost all enjoyment, from the intended climax of a story.


Example -

Friend: So he just suddenly decided he wanted to drive on the wrong side of the highway! And there was this car coming-

Me: What color was the car?

Friend: W-what? I don’t know. It was dark. All I could see were the headlights.

Me: Oh. Okay. Go ahead.

Friend: Right, so this car was coming toward us and he just accelerates, hoping to clear the car on the shoul-

Me: Was the heater in your car on?

Friend:

Me: Because when I get stressed, and the heat is up too high in the car, I start to feel faint.

Friend: I…just don’t…

Me: Right. Sorry. Go ahead.

Friend: Uh. He finally just swerved. Around. The car. We were okay. That’s…uh…all, I guess.

Me: Yeah. Cool.


It is more annoying than you can possibly comprehend without experiencing it firsthand.

I…uh…

!

DAMN IT. I hate it when I do that to myself.

Anyway. I was listening to Radiohead. And the volume was really loud. I’ve had to do this lately because my car has decided to vibrate while I’m driving. A lot. The glove compartment rattles. The hood hits a certain quivering point, and it emits a low-key hum. Viiiiiiibrate. I know what you’re thinking, but it’s not as fun as it sounds.

It is, however, very, very loud.

You all remember my car, don’t you? Well, in addition to the vibrating thing (and everything else I list in the linked entry – because that’s just nowhere NEAR enough weirdness to be truly satisfactory, right?), try this on for size:

On a lovely spring morning in 1997, I looked down at the dash display while I drove and noticed that the little green “D” light that indicates that I am in drive was no longer illuminated. All of the other lights – Reverse, Park, Suddenly and Inexplicably Leak Vital Fluids Onto the Garage Floor – still worked. Huh.

Mid-winter, 2003, a pothole threw itself under the wheels of my car while I was certainly not going at least twenty mph over the speed limit. My car frame thumped sickeningly. My teeth rattled. The CD I was listening to broke off mid-sentence, pausing for several seconds to recover its composure and ponder the incivility with which it was so rudely interrupted before resuming with a genteel, “—BLOOD RUNNING DOWN THE INSIDE OF HER LEGS.” I calmly, and absolutely not using a great deal of profanity, screamed (quietly) at Nick Cave to shut up, godDAMN it (that was the only one, I promise), or I was going to fucking (and that one, sorry) go back to that cocksucking pothole (more of an unusual personification than profanity) and throw his CD into it, so help me god, where they could both continue to plot against me all the damned (not really profanity, as far as I’m concerned) time for all I cared.

More or less.

And then I looked down, and noticed that the “D” light was back on, shiny and green and most definitely mocking me.

Oh, is that all it took to fix it? Well, duh.

Since then, I have also discovered that I can also make my broken dome light turn on when the driver’s door is open by kicking near the door hinges. Jiggling the little button is apparently too subtle for my car to take notice.

It’s gotten to the point where I am almost reluctant to get rid of the thing, merely because I’m convinced it has taken on a real personality. Selling it, donating it, or sending it to a junk yard is almost like pulling the plug on a quirky, cantankerous old man just because he spits blended peas at you and every once in a while calls you “shitass.”

Right?

So…ummm…

!!!!

So: Radiohead. Playing. Loudly. Brake suddenly. Bag falls. Weird voice singing.

It took me a few minutes, but I suddenly recognized the song that the voice was singing. It goes a little something like this:

“My name is Buttchin.
I live on the second floor.
I live upstairs from you.
Yes, I think you’ve seen me before.”

You see, a couple of months ago, I had been complaining that I remembered so many things that I needed to do while driving, but I forgot half of them before I was able to write them down. So OH bought me a little digital voice recorder.

I promptly began to record things like:

“I’m opening the door now.” Play back.

“Getting in the car.” Play back.

“Oh, look. Here comes OH. It looks like he’s taking out the trash.” Play back.

Which amused me for a while. And then I thought to record that little song above. I sing it to OH, sometimes, simply because it annoys him. The song “Luka” apparently triggers some sort of repressed anxiety in OH. I think he might need therapy. In the form of me following him around with my voice recorder, playing it over and over again.

(The “Buttchin” part is to personalize the song. Just for him. I’m so thoughtful.)

After I recorded my special rendition and played it back several times to delight (and heal) my sweetheart, I put the recorder back into my purse, but forgot to turn the power off. Of course, eventually, the batteries lost most of their juice.

So while I drove, vibrating, listening to Radiohead, everything loudloudloud, my purse falling forward in the seat, and the playback button getting pushed, I was rewarded with a drugged-up drag queen remix of “Buttchin.”

And…uh, I chuckled. A little. And turned off the recorder. That’s…um…all, I guess.

It was a long, tedious journey, but at least we got to the end in one piece, right?

1:19 p.m. - 2005-02-17

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