** This post is dedicated to Kerryn at White Thoughts **
The other day I did some sorting of our CD shelves. Since they are about the neatest part of our whole house, this was definite displacement activity – maybe for scrubbing the sink or folding laundry or something that really should be done but that is just too dull. (Did I ever mention how I hate the word “should”? There is nothing pleasant about being obligated.)
So I located all the kids’ CDs and put them on one shelf, and then I decided I needed my own shelf. My dear husband’s music is Britpop, the Eighties and Neue Deutsche Welle – he is very cutting-edge – and I can never find what I consider “my” music and so end up listening to Postman Pat Sings the Blues or Nena’s Punk Frenzy. This is not at all satisfying.
I spent a happy half-hour nosing through our shelves finding the things I like to listen to and giving them a place to be together. Now all my friends sit happily on one shelf and I can find them again. Jack Johnson’s cosying up to Freshly Ground. Katie Melua is making friends with Corinne Bayley Rae. There’s some Mozart, some Van Morrison, some Vusi Mahlasela. My favourite Indigo Girls album is rubbing shoulders with … here comes the shame, it hurts to admit … The Lighthouse Family.
It dawned on me, with some horror, that I have become that embarrassing of things, that signature of all things middle-aged and boring: an easy listening fan. I don’t know what happened to the girl who once listened to Joni Mitchell and you know, that All Along The Watchtower guy. I used to fall asleep listening to Janis Joplin and the B-52s.
I broke the news to Thomas that night. The horror that I have become. The shame of nearing forty and not being cool any longer. All this while tearfully clutching my Peter’s Friends – The Movie Soundtrack CD to my chest.
“Don’t worry, darling,” he says. “You haven’t become an easy listening fan.”
I breathe a sigh of relief. There’s a chance I’m still cool.
“No,” he says, “you’ve always been one.”