This isn’t the first time I’ve been late to the party. While it premiered on NBC five years ago, “The Office” has only recently become a staple in my TV diet. I bought a new razor last month for the first time since 1987 upon discovering they’re now being made with four times as many blades. And nine years after its inception, I am now an iPod user.
“I can’t believe you don’t have an iPod,” my sister said to me in January as she handed me a brand new 16GB nano with a gloriously pink polished anodized aluminum finish. “Welcome to the 21st century.”
It’s fully loaded with games, a radio, alarm clock, photo album, video camera and player, pedometer, stopwatch, address book and voice memo pad. If only it dispensed M&Ms and red wine, it would be the world’s most perfect device. And it plays music, too.
My husband — a Luddite who was proudly cell phone-less through 2004 and until last summer used the mobile equivalent of a rotary dial model — is also tardy to the party, having just jumped on the iBandwagon in the last month or so. Thankfully he’s caught up quickly; Rick is actually the one digitizing all of our CDs.
Parenting, work and life have gotten in the way of a whole lot of music listening and buying in the past few years. In truth, despite the fact that many people share their musical tastes before they get married, we’re only now delving really deeply into each other’s style. This exercise, which has stretched three weeks and counting, has made me realize that had we done this before walking down the aisle, one or both of us might have declined to say “I do.”
We’re long since past that super-early relationship phase in which we feel obligated to pretend to share the same interests. Case in point: Rick is unabashedly judging me on my musical fitness like he’s in the running to replace Simon on “American Idol.” Janet Jackson, Beyoncé, Barbra Streisand, Indigo Girls and Brad Paisley are just a few of the artists at whom he’s raised an eyebrow as he loads their CDs onto the computer.
“What?” I keep saying defensively. “I like what I like.”
“Fine. But is there a specific reason for this Mel Tormé CD?” he asked me, looking pained.
“Do any of the songs on the album look familiar?” I replied with my own arched eyebrow.
“Our wedding song, ‘That’s All,’ is on it,” I fumed.
He kept flipping through the CDs. “OK, sorry,” he sighed. “But can you explain why we have the Japanese import of the soundtrack to ‘Tootsie?’”
“Because I couldn’t find the American version. And the theme song is a great love story,” I said, feeling more than just a little wounded.
I’ll comfortably absorb the blame for my questionable taste in music, even though in some cases I can’t even take the credit for the decent selections. A fair portion of it was acquired according to whom I was dating at the time of purchase. The Rolling Stones was for Chris Fisher and Pink Floyd was for David Klagsbrun. Phil Collins and Marilyn Martin’s “Separate Lives” was what I played to let Ted Burdick know our breakup was for the best. 38 Special’s “Second Chance” was my subtle way of communicating to Jared Levin that I really, really wanted him back. Rush was for Lee Bendel (and Chicago’s “Look Away” was what I played for myself when my collection of Rush CDs still didn’t endear me to Lee).
I like to rock out like the best of them, but ultimately what makes me happiest is a good depressing love song. I doubt I’m the only one who feels that way, but Rick — with his stash of AC/DC and Widespread Panic — is clearly not on the same page.
With the majority of our music now on the computer, I’ve started making playlists like the old mix tapes I made in high school and college. They have names like Good Love, Bad Love and Fun Pop. When we first started dating I made Rick a mixed CD, but it’s a sore spot in our relationship since I know he never actually listened to it (his excuse was something about being averse to Berlin’s “Take My Breath Away”).
For someone who insists on listening to albums in their entirety and never listening to people who perform with showgirls in Las Vegas with show titles that incorporate the word “Experience,” sharing an iTunes account with me is challenging for Rick, to be sure.
I think after I finish the playlist titled “Rick and Meredith’s Greatest Hits,” we’ll be more in sync. If we can survive the iPod, then clearly we have “A Love That Will Last” (from “Princess Diaries 2: The Royal Engagement Soundtrack,” duh).
More on and from Meredith at meredithcarroll.com.