Thursday, March 24, 2005

37. Travel agent, part 2

As usual, the alto part of our arrangement gave me just a few disconnected words--"Plane, aah smile for me, ooo." I suddenly felt compelled to learn the whole thing, even the oft-ignored third verse. I could have downloaded lyrics from a fan site, but that wouldn't have been nearly as much fun as listening to the CD over and over again until I could duplicate every pause and sweep of Mary's bruised soprano. Nor would it have felt like playing hooky from work, which was my goal.

I sat on the edge of the bed and, in my version of air guitar, air lounge singer, pretended I was revealing the story of an affair to a dark room full of drinking people, explaining how I woke up to say goodbye and catch the plane but he just rolled over and went back to sleep. I think the song is really about an obsession with a man who has already moved on. So she tries to convince herself, and the oblivious figure under the covers, of a future that surely won't happen. That's why she sounds so sad.

My cat rolled over on his back in approval as I tried to sing the whole thing with my chest voice just like a pop singer, which made my throat hurt and helped me understand why many pop singers need to rely on heavy engineering. I looked in the mirror and imagined sprawling languidly across a piano in a sequined dress. This image was too much even for my fantasy life; I felt silly all of a sudden and realized that if I had a boss, she'd be pretty annoyed by now. No matter; I now knew the whole song and one day, somewhere, could be the life of the party.

I felt refreshed, and went back to the computer. The phone rang. I looked at the Caller ID box; it was my synagogue.

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