Remember when you began to date someone and a moment of truth was when you went through their music collection? Sometimes you discovered new artists, sometimes you thrilled to see they had the album you had been missing from your own collection, sometimes you made a mental note to keep the Mace in your purse within reach at all times. And sometimes, if you were lucky, you discovered your perfect musical fit. The person that would be with you anytime, anywhere with the music of your life playing in the background.
A million years ago when Bill and I began dating, we went through the dance of musical compatibility. I have written in the past about how significant music is to me, and to find out Bill had similar taste was icing on the potential relationship cake. We made whole evenings out of popping a record on my amazing stereo system in my otherwise empty apartment, playing a single song and then telling each other why we considered it a Prime Cut. We watched the equalizer lights dance and I told him they reminded me of city landscapes at night. I told him I called them my Dancing Cities. I held my breath, waiting for him to laugh. He did not, so I fell in love with him a little more for understanding my weirdness.
My album collection, at one time, was fantastic. Then life took over, rent became due, car payments loomed and my record budget took a big hit. Just as I was shaking my head to clear it out a little, CD's were introduced. Behold the CD; no more shaking hands while putting the needle into the groove of the perfect makeout song. No more worrying about stealing a big album from your boyfriend. No skips, no heavy sigh when getting up off the couch/bed/makeout spot to flip the record. CD's: more bang for your makeout buck.
So we bought CD's. Many, many, many CD's. And yes, Bill, I probably did kind of lose that box of them. If you're reading this, consider it a confession. All your Columbia House freebies are out there, somewhere. I grovel for you, right here, right now. Madonna's "Burning Up" MTV video in the road grovel. Please absolve me.
Although we bought CD's by the truckload, we could not part with our albums. We moved our records from one apartment to the next, divided them when we broke up for a year and a half, and finally carted them to their final resting place in the basement of the starter home we were going to stay in for "a while" but still occupy 19 years later. Once again, life got away from us.
Bill is not an easy person to buy gifts for. His life is fairly simple, he doesn't "need things". I have learned over the years that he has politely thanked me for "things" I bought that he could not have cared less about having. He makes me a nervous gifter. So I felt I was taking a leap of faith when I ordered a Turntable to MP3 player for his birthday last year. Once opened, he thanked me politely. I sighed heavily.
Then I fretted, as the box sat unopened for six months.
I felt loser wife-like. I was a failed gifter (again). I told him I could use the $180 for wine or beer if he wanted me to return his gift.
While Bill would have no problem blowing through $180 of libations, he said "no" and that he was waiting for the right night to have Prime Cuts. Which about made me cry because I forgot we had named it Prime Cuts and I was taken back to the days of cereal and croutons counting as meals, wine coolers, banana clips in my spiral permed hair, and all other things young and perfect. Prime Cuts. Not only musical selections, but the times of your life as well.
Last night we had our Prime Cuts evening, and as expected, the crackles and pops of our well used albums were sublime. The delight of reading liner notes on the inside sleeves brought tears to my eyes. Seeing my fantabulous collection of Prince EP's made my heart sing, especially since I can now pop them onto my iPod through the magic of technology. We laughed at ridiculous albums like "Touch" and "747" and I made fun of Bill for the millionth time for liking Journey. We played Duran Duran and E.L.O. and Yaz. We sat on the floor, reminiscing about makeout sessions and the beginning of our life together. We had a blast. From the past.
Earlier that week I had been writhing on the couch with a migraine I was convinced was a stroke waiting to ruin my life. I couldn't see, I couldn't walk, and I was having a real hard time making my thoughts come out of my mouth. I didn't want to scare my kids so I laid there, waiting, willing Bill to come home from work to help me. I did some bargaining, because it was that scary. I begged the powers to not take my brain away from me, that even though it often caused me stress and embarrassment, I didn't take it for granted. It was a lovely brain and I wanted desperately to keep it. At that moment, Bill walked in, and did what he has been doing for 26 years. He talked me through, covered me up, held my hand and made me feel safe. It was a Prime Cut moment.
Today our music comes through various computers, with little stick like speakers replacing the 3 foot tall blocks that doubled as end tables. My amazing stereo is disassembled in the basement, with most of the parts sold or donated to charity, except for the equalizer. I can't part with my dancing cities. I just can't. Prime Cuts night inspired Bill to clean the furnace room in the basement, storing our albums on shelves so they can be safer. They will be out to play again, soon.
I have lots of Prime Cut moments. Because I have lots of blessings. I write them down here in case my brain someday decides it doesn't want to keep them anymore. I am working on making peace with growing older, and while nights like this make me a little melancholy, I am so happy to have had those blissed out moments to savor. I have a Prime Cut life.