if i were a koala

The connection, among other things, was breaking up.

"Are you alone?" I asked.


"Would you like me to meet you?"

"Sure. If you're up to it, that'd be great."

"Alright. I'm not far."

I put the cell phone away.

Only minutes earlier, I had exited the Grove Street PATH station, and was on my way home. It would take just a few steps, however, to get back to La Conguita, at the corner of Grove and Bay, where she was waiting. I turned in the opposite direction down Jersey Avenue, made a left onto Second, a right onto Manilla.

La Conguita has become one of her favorites now that she's got some free time. La Conguita was a favorite of mine when I lived in that tiny, wet basement apartment on the wrong side of Marin. It seemed I had all the time in the world.

"Patience," she tells me.

"Patience," I tell her.

I walked into La Conguita to see her there — beautiful, kind, thoughtful, and alone. She stood to meet me, and I could tell by her hug that something was wrong. As we sat down to talk about it, I realized how lucky I was to be able to enter this restaurant, walk over to this woman, and be given such a hug. How many people have walked down Grove Street in the last hour to look into the window of La Conguita and see her sitting there — beautiful, kind, thoughtful, and alone? How many have wished they could be sitting there with her? And how many others sit now, at their own empty tables, waiting? And what am I waiting for? And how much longer will I wait?

"Patience," she tells me.

"Patience," I tell her.

She loves music as much as anyone I know. And she loves to share. She especially loves to give. She came up with this thing she calls "Chinese Laundry." There are about twenty of us involved now. A person is assigned a month in which he or she must make a mix CD and send it out to everyone else involved. November was her month. She made a double-mix CD: songs i would listen to if i were a squirrel and songs i would listen to if i were a koala.

I am more of a koala. An emo koala, perhaps:

1. Duke Ellington: "Dusk in the Desert"
2. Soloman Burke: "Down in the Valley"
3. Yo La Tengo: "My Little Corner of the World"
4. Mr. Airplane Man: "How Long"
5. Hank Williams: "Settin the Woods on Fire"
6. Marmoset: "Torn Cup, Fly Up Above"
7. Unbunny: "I Leave Stones Unturned"
8. Hefner: "Good Fruit"
9. Pavement: "Range Life"
10. Billy Bragg & Wilco: "California Stars"
11. The Get Up Kids: "Campfire Kansas"
12. Roger & The Gypsies: "Pass the Hatchet"
13. Desmond Dekker: "Honour Your Mother and Your Father"
14. The Dears: "Heartless Romantic"
15. Tilly & The Wall: "Let it Rain"
16. Modest Mouse: "Talkin Shit About A Pretty Sunset"
17. The Rolling Stones: "The Spider and the Fly"
18. Pedro the Lion: "Bad Diary Days"
19. My Morning Jacket: "The Bear"
20. Elliot Smith: "Harvest Moon"
21. Sparklehorse: "Hundreds of Sparrows"
22. Iron & Wine: "Such Great Heights"

"I love your koala mix," I tell her.

"You do?"

"Yes, it's great."

"Thank you. I was listening to your last mix just the other day, and I found myself wondering how each song would sound on your new system."

"You did?"

"Yeah, I was telling my friend how awesome everything sounds. I asked him, 'Are you familiar with high-end audio?' He said, 'I have no idea what you're talking about.'"

"You should tell him to come over."

"I did. I told him, 'Well, if you're ever in Jersey City, I'm sure Stephen will be happy to tell you all about it.'"


"You're turning the world onto high-end audio."

"I am?"


"No, I'm not."

"Yes, you are. You're a star."

"I am?"

Todd Steponick's picture

Sure, why not, Brother. You're a star.

K. N.'s picture

I really like your blog. If one were to listen in on most high-end audio discussions, one would walk away with the impression that the hobby is filled with propeller-beanied twerps concerned with nothing more than the sonic impact of [INSERT YOUR FAVORITE CAPACITOR BRAND HERE] or whether electrons can tell the difference between right and left. But what people forget (or perhaps don't know) is that, somewhere along the way, each of us in this hobby was once touched by a song and forever transformed by the possibility that such pleasure could be had again. In short, we were once human.Somehow, your blog reminds us of that.

Clay White's picture

Not only is she a star, but she has wonderfully eclectic tastes in music. Better treat her right. That kind doesn't come along every day. It took me 27 years to find mine.

slangon's picture

that's funny. just yesterday," i overheard someone in my office use the phrase ""It's like a koala sh!##ing rainbows in my head.""like when you haven't heard a song in ages", and all the sudden it starts to show up everywhere.funny.and i like your blog. you sir, are indeed a superstar, to borrow a phrase from the carpenters. perhaps even a ghetto superstar, to borrow a phrase from old dirty bastard.

Jim Teacher's picture

She's a lady. Whoa, whoa, whoa.

Ward's picture

Keep spreading the high-end gospel, Stephen.

ninut's picture

i think i know WHO you're talking about here...and you know what i'm gonna say about DAT. and that's ALL i'm gonna say about dat. tee hee hee.

Stephen Mejias's picture

>i think i know WHO you're talking about here...and you know what i'm gonna say about DAT. and that's ALL i'm gonna say about dat. tee hee hee.Everybody thinks they know who I'm talking about here. Maybe I'm just being...enigmatic. Ever think of that? Hmm? No, I do think you know who I'm talking about, Nina. And I also know that you know that I know that you know what my response to DAT would be.

Stephen Mejias's picture

>In short, we were once human. Somehow, your blog reminds us of that.Thank you so much, K.N. If this is true, than I'm accomplishing something very important. Thank you thank you.

Samy's picture

I still don't get what EMO is . . .