Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Common Strains

I pulled into the Big Y parking lot, kids in the back of the car. As often when the XM radio kids station wasn't blaring, I was listening to our other old standby, the 90s channel. A song came on by Dave Matthews ("Too Much") that I used to love. Back in the day, I was quite the DMB fan. No, I wasn't one of the drunken masses partying it up at the shows, but there's something about his melodies I've always liked.

This particular song has a jamming instrumental part they play a couple of times that I've been known to regularly "head-bang" to in the privacy of my bedroom. I love the wailing violins, bass, the sax. I used to love to go back and listen to the song again and again, just to hear that part.

I cranked up the radio. Anna startled and covered her ears, perturbed by our sudden rock concert atmosphere. Dave Matthews wailed:

I eat too much
I drink too much
I want too much
Too much

I blasted the music louder, letting it wash over us. Then I looked in the back. Ethan was head-banging, hands in the air, to my favorite part.

"You like that?" I asked. He nodded. "When is it coming again?"

"Wait," I told him. The music pulsed. Again, the violins soared and somehow in our car, we danced.

Out in the parking lot, I apologized to Anna for making things so loud. Ethan was humming that same strain of music again.

"Is that your favorite part of the song?" I asked him.


"Me too," I answered, as he slipped his little hand in mine so we could cross the busy part of the parking lot.

Once again I thought of the mysteries of autism, of music. I thought of what lay inside me, that would make me want to listen to the same part of a song over and over because it was so hauntingly, joyfully beautiful. I wondered what it was about the notes and chords that the same strain of music struck Ethan in just the same way.

I wondered, while the melody sang in my head, and we went inside to shop.

It was a pretty popular song, but here's a link, in case you don't know or remember the song. Mine and Ethan's part is at 2:05 and 3:00...

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