bunt sign

Saturday, July 29, 2000

So at 11:15 this morning the Boss calls and asks if I mind helping him with a small project that he needs for a meeting tomorrow. It'll take about half an hour, he says.

Two and a half hours later, we're putting the finishing touches on it, and I'm wondering where so much of my Saturday went. I planned my day around doing little that was productive, except in a spiritual sense — catching up on some sleep, working on a journal design for August, listening to the Giants and Cubs (bleagh!), maybe seeing a movie.

Ah, but who am I kidding? Whom. Whom am I kidding? I can make all the wish lists I want, until my hand cramps up, but most weekends my Saturdays are spent lazing around the house all day. I don't need an excuse to cancel tentative plans and stay home, because that's how the day ends up anyway. If I'm working, at least I have a sense of purpose that eases some of the guilt I put myself through when I slack off during the week.

This afternoon, though, I did step out for a few hours. The county is working on most of the roads in my area, so any excursion these days involves extra time and mileage. But Mom has friends who have a satellite dish, and she knows I'm thinking about investing in such a setup, so we paid a call and I picked their brains about the good and bad points. I don't think they came up with any points that were negative enough to make an impact on my sudden enthusiasm for spending more money.

They live in the same zip code as I do here at Green Acres, but they're a bit further out in the country, where cable is not an option. Before the dish their only reception was the grainy picture an antenna pulls in, as primitive as that seems in this century. Now they have dozens of channels from all over North America, all coming in with crystal clarity of sight and sound. I was impressed.

The cost doesn't intimidate me as much as the rewiring I might need to have done. A phone line leading into the TV box is required, and of course there's the question of where and how to install the dish itself. I'd have to get permission from my landlord and then decide if I wanted it on the roof, or if I could mount it on the side of the house.

And then there's the fact that I hardly have time to watch much television these days. But I tried to tape Tea with Mussolini on Showtime last night, and the picture was so distorted that it wasn't worth watching.

So as usual I'm hesitating, reluctant to make a move that I know I want to make, simply because of the mountain of details involved. One more failure by the cable company, such as an unwatchable picture on a channel I'm paying extra for, and I'm likely to find the motivation to make the phone call that gets the process started.

Since I've been listening to CDs almost exclusively on the computer lately, I've been enjoying the superior, up-close-and-this-time-it's-personal sound quality, put out by the tiny but powerful speakers set at exactly the right distance from each other and from my ears, to provide maximum listening pleasure. Really, it's cool.

The lyrics take on more meaning when you hear them this clearly. I love to immerse myself in a song, sometimes to the detriment of the work I'm trying to do at the same time. When the sounds came from across the room, it was easier to let them blend into the background of my mind and keep myself focused on what I was doing. Now I've lost some of that focus, but I've gained something by being closer to the heart of the music.

But I can also see this setup as a sign of my increasing physical isolation. When I was listening on the now-nearly-defunct shelf system, with its five speakers (many of which actually put forth sound), anyone walking into my office could hear the music the same as I could. Not that anyone ever walked in, and even when they did I usually had to turn the volume down or off, partly to conduct a conversation and partly because nobody who ever does visit likes the same variety of music I do.

Now, no one can hear Nanci Griffith or Lyle Lovett or Marcus Roberts or Beth Orton the same way I do, unless they were driven somehow to sit on my shoulder, or perhaps on my lap. Which, you might guess, almost never happens.

So I can hear Van Morrison and Michelle Shocked and Bob James and Chris Isaak as if they were in the same room with me, but only I can hear them in that fashion. I can't share my home concert hall on-a-stick with my sisters and my cousins and my aunts. It feels as if I've cut myself adrift and floated a little further away from civilization as we know it.

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Latest recommendation:

Mike, Into-Me-See, July 29, Mummy Lays an Egg

Josh, don't say mornings come, July 28, Homophobia

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You would never hold me,
I don't like to be held,
And I will always love you
In spite of myself.