Having gotten to do some traveling (most often on a quite limited budget), I’ve had the opportunity for chance encounters with folks that I wouldn’t have met had I remained on my couch, smoking cigarettes, eating Cheetos, and watching reruns on Nick-At-Night (which is, in actuality, the career path of a former neighbor).
I’ve met Krishnan the Bicycle Thief and almost rented a flat in London from the most renowned wig maker in the United Kingdom.
I met Krishnan while studying at the National University Of Singapore. My friends and I from the States chose to translate “a semester studying abroad” into “a six-month vacation.” Classes were rarely attended and even setting foot on campus was mostly prompted by a desire to spend time poolside.
Campus was a forty-five minute trip requiring two bus transfers (if it had been accessible by train…).
On the occasions where I did make this arduous trek, I’d often notice a pair of fellow passengers. It was difficult not to do so.
They were albinos.
Albinos. In Singapore. Fifty odd miles or so from the equator.
That had to be tough.
I came to realize that they were obviously a couple, holding hands and whispering to one another, gazing at each other with no apparent interest as to whether they were living directly under the sun or on the surface of the moon.
I wondered how they met. Was it some personal ad? Was it a support group for people afflicted with albinism? What were the odds?
They seemed quite happy.
Returning from campus, I’d often end up in the lounge of the old compound that served as our dorm. There, I’d stare at the only television screen on the grounds.
There were two shows that always seemed to be airing – some “game show” featuring a burly, loin-cloth clad fellow tearing the skin from pineapples with his bare hands and Jake And The Fat Man.
I had never watched Jake And The Fat Man, a buddy, detective show, but it was oddly comforting to zone out on something semi-familiar.
There was a cop named Jake. His sidekick/foil was – quite fortuitously – a fat man.
The two would bicker affectionately like an old married couple as they solved some caper in time for a drink together at the bar. Getting soused, one of them would crack a cringe-inducing one-liner to summarize the preceding hour’s antics and the credits would roll.
Indeed, it would seem to be. There is someone for everyone.
Eurythmics – There Must Be An Angel (Playing With My Heart)
I had to include this love song as it is positively, ridiculously giddy and can barely contain its optimism.
And, you get Stevie Wonder on harmonica.
U2 – Wild Honey
The other day, I mentioned a Tom Petty song that makes me think of Paloma. If there is a song that best expresses how I feel about her, this one would be on the short list. Happy Valentine’s Day, Paloma.
Mandy Barnett – A Simple I Love You
I don’t listen to a lot of country music and one of the reasons I held on to Mandy Barnett’s debut album when I received a promo was the glowing reviews. We also had an art board in the record store where Paloma and I worked and Barnett bore a slight resemblance to Paloma.
Anyhow, A Simple I Love You is a lovely song with an uncluttered, elegant arrangement. It was produced by the legendary Owen Bradley who had worked with Patsy Cline (to whom Barnett drew comparisons).
Jonatha Brooke – Because I Told You So
In some parallel universe, Brooke probably became a household name during the Lilith Fair years of the mid/late-’90s. Instead, she never really broke through the clutter of acts rushed to radio by labels eager to capitalize on that era’s attention to female artists. It’s really too bad.
Because I Told You So is achingly lovely.