I was leaving a local bookstore yesterday and stopped at a large bin of cd’s that had been marked down to $2.00.
It was just me and an older lady (75+) looking through the bin. She had a small stack of cd’s that she’d pulled out and set to the side as potential purchases. She’d take a cd, read the front and back and then, since she now had an audience, make a comment- expecting me to respond.
Lady: “Acoustic Christmas? What do you suppose they mean by that? Is ‘acoustic’ a non-believer of Jesus Christ?”
Me: “Oh, no M’am. ‘Acoustic’ is a type of guitar. So I think it’s Christmas songs played on the guitar.”
Lady: “Well that sounds awful, doesn’t it? I want my Christmas songs on the piano. You see any piano Christmas songs on your side?”
Me: “Not so far.”
Lady: “Oh, lookie here-The Carpenters. She’s dead. She had the nicest voice in the 70’s but she died. Drugs, probably.”
Me: “I think she had an eating disorder.”
Lady: “I’ve never heard of most of these musicians. You see I have a collection over here? These are the ones I know. Mostly Christmas and a few musicals. I do love musicals. Do you enjoy the musicals? I’ve seen several on Broadway. Have you ever been to New York, dear? Oh, it’s just the most alive place in all the world!”
Me: “I’m not a fan of musicals myself, no M’am. I have been to New York, though. It’s amazing, I agree.”
Lady: “Well I don’t see how you can’t be a fan of musicals. They’re wonderful! You haven’t found anything?”
Me: “No M’am. Here’s a Tony Bennett cd….do you like him?”
Lady: “I don’t. I never have- with that curly hair and nose. He always looks like he’s ready to make love to whatever walks by. He just seems sex-crazed. I’ve never cared for him. He does dress nice- I’ve never seen him in anything but a tuxedo or a suit- but I can tell he’s just a sex maniac. Wait- is it Christmas songs? I might listen if it’s Christmas songs…”
Sadly, she passed on that cd since it was just regular Tony Bennett- not Tony Bennett and his permanent erection singing about ‘Jingle Bells’ or his personal North Pole.
Atheists, drug overdose, Broadway and a sex-crazed crooner all in one unsolicited conversation- it was golden. I could have talked to her all day but had to go- damn kids and them wanting to come in the house after school and all.
I did find a “Broadway’s Brightest Stars” cd for her before I left. “You might like this one”, I said. She studied the front and back before declaring it “modern horseshit.” And with that, I had to leave while silently hope that I live to be old enough to give zero shits what I say to people. There must be a fantastic freedom in that.