I don’t play my old guitar well enough to deserve it.
Wait. Is that even a sentence? Looks right but sounds off. Maybe I don’t make my own sentences well enough to deserve them, either. Yes, I’m blind, but that doesn’t mean I can play the guitar or write about not playing it well. I ever told you how tinny my ear is?
Anyways, I have an old guitar, despite my shitty technique, and it was a gift – my guitar, not my shitty technique (jeez, who’s keyboard is this?) – from my wife, Tracy. It’s an acoustic, a 1962 Gibson LGO. Smells like the church my grandparents frequent. Oh, how it fits in my hands.
Tracy ordered it off EBay for my birthday last year. A secret gift sourced in New Mexico, and picked by her in consultation with my friend Paul Pigat, who is, yes, that guy on YouTube who plays rockabilly faster than I can type my windy run on off into the horizon sentences bloated with too many wandering prepositions.
Tracy had the guitar shipped to the post office in our neighbourhood. When it arrived, she snuck out with Tess when I was at the gym. The two of them carried it home in a large cardboard box, one that looked an awful lot like a guitar, I’m told.
At the end of our street is a small grassy hill that edges the corner lot. Tess, at that time, considered it the only spot in town to play. She always insisted on running up and down the hill a few dozen times before passing by. Sort of the way we insist on chatting with people we know on the street. Civility buds in the oddest places.
So, on the way back from the post office with my guitar, Tracy had to stop at the corner with Tess. She – Tracy, not Tess – stood my guitar on the grass just a few feet from the sidewalk and let Tess run up and down her BFF landscape a few times.
And that’s when I came blindly trundling home, heading straight for them.
What to do? Tracy panicked, but quickly realized that I had no clue there was a guitar shaped box standing on the grass. She was right. I recognized the sound of Tess on the hill and that was all I saw. I stopped on the sidewalk to listen and hang out with my family. Tracy said they’d been out to the post office. Bills to pay, that sort of stuff. I called Tess for a hug and she ignored me. There’s no competing with the friendship of hills.
The whole time I was standing beside my birthday present.
Finally I said I was going to head inside to grab a shower, and left, shuffling down the sidewalk.
Tracy had done it. She’d pulled it off. Hell, she proven that, in the future, she could even keep my birthday presents on the kitchen table or next to the TV until she felt like wrapping them.
Thing is, I hadn’t quite gotten my aim right. I started to shuffle off, but My feet immediately left the concrete and wandered along the grass a few steps until I bulled into something, and knocked it over. Then it rang against the ground. Exactly like the sound of an acoustic guitar in a cardboard box. Sometimes I have impeccable hearing.
“Is that – ?“
“It’s, no, it’s -- nevermind, happy birthday,” Tracy said.
Her tone was that of hands being thrown up in defeat. Of everything in our neighbourhood I could have walked into, I chose the one obscure point that held my gift.
Even when I’m lost I find stuff, it seems.
And all this story was just meant as a preamble to something else, but I can’t recall where I was going with it.