Only Casual, Maybe

I've been listening for fun. With fun in mind, I mean. And it has been fun. I find myself, sitting there, chasing the sounds across the space in between the speakers. My eyes racing, images forming left and right, too much for me to keep up with.

"Like at a live show," I told John DeVore.

I find myself watching for what the guitarist over here is doing, then letting my eyes dart across the stage to see what the guitarist over there is doing, then back to the center to watch the drummer move from hi-hat to ride to crash. Drummers are always my favorites to watch.

And then, also:
I was with her and her pretty lips again recently. I remember the first time we kissed, years ago. Was it on 14th Street? It must have been. It must have been on 14th Street, at 3rd Avenue, just outside the entrance to the L train. With me, it's always just outside the entrance to the L. That's when it usually happens. We kissed for the first time, and we weren't sure what it meant:

"I'm not sure what this means."
"Me neither."

It was meant to be only casual, maybe. But, with me, it's always something more. This casual kiss lasted eight months, off and on, more or less, for better or for worse, for what it's worth. In the end, she ended it because it was all too serious. Always too serious with me.

On this occasion, however — this more recent occasion — I was with her and her pretty lips, discovering my new favorite restaurant (I'm not sure what my old favorite restaurant was, but it wasn't this) — Mo Pitkin's House of Satisfaction — sharing a brick of deep fried mac & cheese (my stomach howls and hollers as I type the words) and some of the most absolutely to-die-for sour cream and chive mashed potatoes (you would have loved them) when she brought it up.

No, not love or loneliness or unfulfilled desire. Music:

"I was at the Mercury Lounge recently. I was sitting at the bar talking to someone about something when I heard this band playing in the back room. They sounded so good, I had to just stop our conversation, and follow the music."
"Yes," I told her. "I know what that's like. That's happened to me before, too."

And it's what happens now, every time I'm home, and there's music playing in the living room. If I'm not there, with the music, I feel like I'm missing something important. I have to get back in the living room as fast as I can and just listen. And if I walk from one room to the other — just passing through the living room for a moment — I'm overcome by all this awesome stuff just happening. All around me. It's like an event. It's like a live show.

I don't think there's much good reason to make a distinction between serious and casual listening. To me, it seems to be all serious and all casual, all the time. Kinda. I mean, I find that if the hi-fi is making music in the living room, and I'm in the kitchen washing dishes, I have this new (and somewhat strange) comfort in just knowing that the music is over there. It's happening, and it's good. It'll still be there when I'm done with the dishes and, when I can finally sit down and listen, it'll be even better.

But what the heck am I talking about? Not love or loneliness or unfulfilled desire? Music?

Whatever. Whichever. It's all serious and all casual all the time.

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