You got to clean your clothes and wash your face
Another Sunday, another trip to the laundromat. I’m a pretty mundane guy, really. I like to go to bed on Sunday night knowing all my clothes are folded and put away or, for certain shirts, hanging in the closet. You know, enough to get me through the work week, to spare. There’s nothing like hitting Thursday and not having clean underwear or socks, or a clean shirt.
There are other things I’d rather be doing during the week than laundry. Not that I hate doing laundry; I’ve developed a bit of an obsession, that’s become a routine, and I tend to be a person of routines. Call it my Asperger geekiness: I often will eat the same thing at the same restaurants, and drive the same routes, and cook the same stuff at home over and over, and I have to force myself to make other choices.
Although it doesn’t really matter what I do, really. I mean, I’ve got no one really vying for my time, so I can get up and do what I want, and not have to plan it out, or argue better this than that, and I don’t have to answer to anybody. Not even a cat, or even a girlfriend. Wife? Forget it. I’ve pretty much figured out that this flying solo is my lot in life at this juncture, and I really can’t see things changing out of the blue, so what I can do is take good care of myself and enjoy life, one present moment at a time.
Lately, a lot of my present moments have been filled with this obsession I have to become a better guitarist. So I hunker down in my tiny apartment with books of tablature, translating the arcane symbols on the page into music via my fingers, the left-hand ones on the guitar fretboard, and the right-hand ones dangling over the sound hole, plucking the strings. Or trying to make music. It’s slow work, really, and the improvements seem glacial.
It’s taken me months to get even a few of Taylor’s songs down, because the arrangements are so deliciously intricate. I can do halting and tentative versions of “Don’t Let Me Be Lonely Tonight” and “You Can Close Your Eyes,” and I’ve got about 12 of the 15 pages of tablature memorized for the first guitar (there’s a second guitar part, too) on his cover version of Carole King’s “You’ve Got a Friend.” I’ll probably work to get those three as “mastered” as I can before I move on to other songs. I have some Beatles and Jobim and Joplin and Bach books I want to work out of, too.
Which is good that I’m such a loner. If I had a social life at all, I’d never learn these difficult tunes. It use to be that I wanted to play music because I thought that might be a keen way to meet women, but now I just do it because I’m in love with the process itself, and there aren’t any women to be found. I also write a lot of songs, some of which I think are pretty good, but the only way I will get people to listen is to be able to play them really well. And I am hoping that some of what I’m learning from sweet baby James will start turning up in my own repertoire as well.
So there’s your update. Hope you’re having a swell week. I am. —Jackson Griffith