Monday, January 30, 2012

Romanick Mixed Tape

There are a lot of things, I suppose, that should have tipped me off to him being "the one." Like all the times we broke up but couldn't seem to stay apart. Or the fact that we both needed to be told on a regular basis that we had toothpaste, or coffee, or ketchup on our shirts. (People, I'm here to tell you that those kinds of things are exactly what you should base a long-term relationship on.) But looking back, I guess I should have know that he was my End All Be All when he handed me two mixed tapes.  Or, rather, mixed CD's.

Do people even do that anymore? If so, does it mean as much? A lot went into a mixed tape. First you had to write out your music with how long each song was. Then you'd have to  remember if you bought the 45 or 60 minute tape. Then you'd have to do some math to pick out how many songs you could fit on each side. If you didn't, you could get to the end of the first side of the tape and only fit half of your favorite song. Or worse yet, you have 2 minutes of blank space so when you go to flip the're halfway through the first song on the other side.  Forget the time it took to figure out if the "flow" from song to song was right.

When My Chef made these particular CD's, we lived two hours apart. We'd see each other on the weekends and when we could. We did this long distance relationship for quite a while.  It's hard to know exactly how long, what with the breaks and all. But the music was for the road trips back and forth. The first one he titled "Driving to see the T." It was as you'd imagine. The kind of music you play loud, with the windows down. Not so much the kind of music where you'd sink down in your seat, guiding the steering wheel with the wrist of one arm, with your other hand on your chin as if to pontificate your coolness. This was the kind of music you needed both hands at 11 and 1. Ready to drum. Ready to stick one arm out the window and give a shout out to all your fans at the back of the colosseum.

The second CD , titled "Driving the hardest direction" was meant for the return trip home. Soulful, jazzy, full of longing and the promise of future rendezvous.  I listened to that CD every night like it was my first ever handwritten love letter. Taking in each word and note. Dreaming of the day we'd live in the same city, able to see each other when we wanted. Going on dates on a Wednesday. Not getting a stomach ache every Sunday, dreading the goodbye.

I found that CD last week and put it in my car, hoping for an outing without the children. Three days later, I got my chance. I went back in time, 8-10 years. I could feel the longing two notes in.  The newness and the insecurity that physical distance can inspire. Only this time, listening to my love letter, I had the wisdom of foresight. Assurance that my Happily Ever After would come true.  I got home from my 30 minutes grocery run and kissed My Chef like it'd been 5 days since I last saw his face.

Maybe this year for Valentine's day I'll try to figure out some fancy technology and download him a "play list." (Is that what the kids do these days?)  Maybe start off with some Pearl Jam, toss in some Phil Collins. Maybe end it with some Bob Seger.  Give it a fancy title like "Drivin' the long haul." Sounds romantic, eh? So romantic you might forget to pronounce the "t" and say romanick.

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