Tuesday, June 29, 2010

First we saw this ape

First we saw this ape standing in someone's yard.

Then, while taking in a Greek Salad at Zoe's, the big one that has a layer of potato salad under the salad, I was consumed with an overwhelming urge to hear Emmylou Harris' "Wrecking Ball." Like not there in the restaurant, because I had Maya with me and I try to not be one of those dads who is on his stupid phone all the time when he could be hanging out with his kid. I wrote an article about theses dads during a short stint at a parenting magazine and then slowly became one. Plus in the last week, she has been a total barrel of laughs to be around. I mean more so than usual.

Zoe's has these terrible paintings from some school project stacked up around the restaurant, probably in trade for some chicken salad sandwiches the restaurant provided that the kids did not even eat (crusts), thus becoming a zero-sum exercise for both parties. Maya asked if she could walk the perimeter and look at them and I thought, My chance!

I pulled up Rhapsody on my newly upgraded phone and it immediately crashed. Thrice it crashed. I reinstalled the app, noticing that slowness that everyone was complaining about on Twitter, then pulled it up and it took forever to find Emmylou Harris on search. Maybe it's Emmalou, I thought. Maybe this thing is junk. Maybe all the anti-Apple cranks are right, not for being anti-Apple but for being cranks and maybe my cheery techno-optomism crossed with my anti-consumerist no-complaint zen is just an olio of failure. She (Emmylou) finally showed up, followed by Maya, followed by our food. I added "Wrecking Ball" to my queue to listen to on the way home.

Rhapsody was acting like garbage, infinitely "Loading Track..." with that implied spinning wheel made out of radiating lines that secretly says I am not doing anything and you are watching me do it. Sometimes you can trick it by pausing and then pressing play and it starts up, or going back and forth between tracks, like the way the lady on that OCD show flips the lights on and off so that her kid won't get cancer.

(Sidenote: on one episode, a therapist tries to exposure cure a germophobe by going to a coffee shop and insisting they eat muffins in the bathroom, rubbing them along the bowl and setting them on the seat. The therapist accidentally dropped her muffin in the toilet water and to prove a point, fished it out and popped it in her mouth. The germophobe went from irrational nervousness to perfectly rational grossed-outedness as did everyone watching the show. I was hoping the woman would have involuntarily smacked the therapist as one might do a kid who suddenly decided to eat something that had just fallen in a public toilet.)

It finally worked and as we hit the roundabout by the Banana Republic, Emmylou's chimey little wonder kicked in and got to "I'll meet you at the wrecking ball."

It was the wrong song.

Maya asked if she was singing "I'll hit you with a wrecking ball" and I explained the double meaning of ball (orb; dance) used here and she shrugged. I feel the same way.

I wanted the Gillian Welch "Wrecking Ball"

a song I thought might be a cover of Emmylou's but in fact it was Emmylou who covered Gillian's "Orphan Girl," a fact I was reminded of by this brilliant and hilarious Pitchfork review of Gillian Welch's Soul Journey written as a play (the review, not the album) by William Bowers. Bowers is a contemporary writer (we've been in the same issue of the OA) of whose lyrical prowess I am sorely envious and man enough to admit it. Again. I'm gonna have to get his book All We Read is Freaks. Read this excerpt and weep.

Anyway, I was home already and didn't want to fool with my phone anymore and I wanted to tell this story to my wife, but really, who wants to hear a story like this? About iPhone apps not working? Picking the wrong song to listen to? McSweeney's doesn't even go there. Oh, but right before typing this up, I was reading something on the McSweeney's iPhone app about apes and it reminded me to show my wife the picture of the ape sitting in someone's yard. She laughed, "I wonder what it was originally leaning on." and I looked again because I hadn't noticed it was leaning on nothing until she said it.

1 comment:

  1. I love Emmy and that dude playing the guitar. and Gillian is so indefinable.
    McSweeney app? wow.

    My husband went to Oral Roberts(in Tulsa) for a film class b/c his mom was working there back in the late 80's. So Bowers rings a bell and you are right he can write.