“Wait a minute,” said my wife. “Did you buy the whole album?”
It was Sunday night. The girls were organizing their knapsacks for the school-week ahead, their mother and I were nursing the dregs of the evening's martini. We were all in the kitchen and music was playing through the speakers. The family has an assortment of “music file players” and we take turns plugging them into the kitchen tunes contraption. Tonight was my turn. The music seemed to catch my wife off-guard, and what she thought might be a singular lapse on my part was quickly proving to be corporate.
“Erm, CD, actually,” I said. “I bought the CD.” A double-CD, in fact — which I did not have the courage to admit. “Ease up, will you? I daresay you know the words to a few of these songs.”
“I know the words to all these songs,” she said. “I'm just not happy about it. Unlike you, apparently. What . . . possessed you?”
Nostalgia. In high school I had a buddy who took over his mother's Plymouth Duster. The car came with an eight-track cassette deck, and three eight-track cassettes. One of those was a gospel quartet, which even we could not stomach. The other two we didn't mind, and played to death. Or so I thought at the time.
I explained this to my perplexed wife.
“Well, sure,” she said. “But still: the Carpenters?”
Hm. In hindsight the other performer might have been a touch easier to explain. John Denver, anyone?