I can't sing. I can't keep a beat going on my own for more than thirty seconds. I tried to play the clarinet when I was in sixth grade and was politely asked at semester's end by the music teacher to find another elective. (Which reminds me, I should totally do a post some time about all the things I've tried and been asked to never do again. The list is surprisingly long. When I fail, I do it spectacularly.)
But I love music. It's my go-to inspiration, my muse. Drop me in the middle of nowhere and as long as I have my ipod, I'm good. Some people need silence to create, but not me. Just about everything in my life plays to a soundtrack. Stories, car trips, even laundry day, they all have their own playlist.
So, it shouldn't come as a surprise that I married a musician, and a really good one to boot. Tom is the opposite of me in so many ways. He's a self taught musician who can play just about anything with strings-guitar, bass, piano, ukulele. Oh, and drums too. He writes music. He improvises. He has a freakin' degree in jazz theory. I didn't even know there was a theory behind jazz, let alone a degree you could earn in it.
It became apparent pretty early in our relationship though that we did not hear or experience music the same way. I listen to a song the same way I look at a painting like Van Gough's Starlight Over The Rhone. I see it as one thing. I feel frenzy in it, the crazy. I'm moved by the visceral reaction I have to it.
Tom, on the other hand, sees each individual stroke, each little brush of paint. There is no totality. It's not a painting, it's a thousand touches of paint. He might see them as cleverly applied, but they don't fill him with abstract inspiration.
This has led to a couple of polite disagreements about music in our household. We each have the bands and playlists that can only be turned on when the other one is out. There was the time I told him we had to leave a Dream Theater concert at intermission if there was going to be any hope of saving our marriage, or the time that I drank my way through a night at a combo jazz club just to keep my sanity.
It goes both ways, of course. There are bands of mine he outright hates - Foo Fighters, Kate Bush, Counting Crows - all for things he sees as 'musical sins'. And here you didn't even know there was divine morality in notes, did you? He teases me mercilessly about my love for Damien Rice. After seeing on iTunes that a song of his was twenty-one minutes long, he commented, "What is it, five minutes of singing and another sixteen of him quietly weeping in the corner?"
Will we last? Probably. But where some people advise that separate bathrooms or bank accounts make for a happy marriage, I advocate for separate playlists.