Our Endless Numbered Ping-pong Match, Or: Music for Frustrated Lovers, Or: The Subliminal Baton

Part of the problem is that I'm almost always thinking about what I should, or could, be writing here on the blog. I'll be in the shower, thinking: "Man, I haven't written anything good lately. Haven't written anything that's inspired discussion. Maybe, today, I'll write about my father and how his alcoholism relates to speaker cables…."

Shit used to piss her off. We'd be at dinner or walking through the park, and I'd bring up some audio-related topic, and she'd hear something in the tone of my voice.

"Are you thinking about writing this in your blog?" she'd ask.

And I'd deny it.

"What? No! Why would you even ask me that? I'm just trying to have a conversation with you."

We'd get into some huge, retarded argument and, at the end of the night, life would be so much more painful and complicated, our bodies radiating hot, silent anger and our minds filled with the saddest thoughts. Wondering, "Why am I here why am I here why am I even here?" But she was always right.

I was thinking about this and other things last night, while listening to Iron & Wine's Our Endless Numbered Days. Or, I should say: These and other thoughts came to mind when I stopped listening to Our Endless Numbered Days. AlexO would never believe how quiet the vinyl is. My copy of Our Endless Numbered Days is as silent as night, as still as comfort. Like happiness, like a hug. There is the sound of the music, balanced by the hiss of the tape, and nothing more. No so-called pops or clicks whatsoever. Silence. Elegant, graceful silence. Silence everywhere, covering everything, like rain on the doorstep. It was beautiful.

Until I realized it.

It happened somewhere during "Fever Dream." I know because I was holding the lyrics sheet in my hands. Sam Beam sang:

Some days, like rain on the doorstep
She'll cover me
With grace in all she offers
Sometimes I'd like just to ask her
What honest words
She can't afford to say, like

I want your flowers like babies want God's love
Or maybe as sure as tomorrow will come

That's when I noticed it. And, as soon as I did, there was nothing I could do but think about writing. I will write about this splendid silence, and I will show AlexO all that he is missing, and I will talk about my father and I will mention my problems with love and I will wrap it all up in vinyl—sweet, sweet vinyl!—making some metaphor about life—holding something in your hands and caring for it, working on it until it dies its natural death and is silent again. But whatever.

I didn't mean to write any of this. While at it, however, I found this essay by George Reisch:

Vinyl & the Endless Ping-pong Match

You should read it.

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AlexO's picture

I'll believe it when I hear it. If you want to host, I will bring a bottle of my favorite brandy - Gran Duke D'Alba. I will come with an open mind and if I hear what you're hearing, we'll toast your dad and I will eat crow on these forums. Oh, and tell your girlfriend that if you weren't thinking about your blog, you'd be checking out other women. So, all things considered, thinking about a blog is not so bad. :D

rvance's picture

Stephen, Writing about writing can be an all too clever and self-conscious exercise in tedium, but you get right to the heart of the truth about what matters most to you. That fearlessness and humility is what makes you shine.

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