Being Ravi

November 4, 2010

Not quite a year ago, Paloma and I took in a pair of black cats that had encamped on our eave and porch.

(at this point I am sure that Paloma would want me to – in the words of her 93-year old grandfather – “let it be known to all” that we think at least one of them was abandoned by a neighbor)

Paloma’s focus was on JuJu, the larger of the two, as she had given birth to a couple of kittens.

I spent several weeks observing Ravi, a diminutive, quiet ball of fur.

“Ravi is a freakin’ genius,” I informed Paloma.

“She’s sweet, but I think she’s a little slow.”

(madam, I hope by slow you mean freakin’ genius)

I explained to her that Ravi is quite simply the most contented creature I have ever encountered. There is not a more zen soul on this planet – not a man, woman, child, goat, Phil Jackson, Buddhist monk, or houseplant is more in harmony with its universe than Ravi.

Pick her up, sit her down somewhere else and she just settles in.

Rub her ribs and she grooves on the affection, but she doesn’t pout like the others if someone else is receiving attention.

She doesn’t whine and doesn’t beg.

She just lives and let’s live and nothing seems to trouble her…ever.

This creature has figured something out and it’s something that eludes most everyone I’ve ever known.

And I want to know what it is.

With my brain reduced to poi, my nerves jangled, and the day gig being some hybrid of Wall Street and Lord Of The Flies, here are the soothing sounds of four random tracks from a playlist I created of light rock from the early ’80s…

Hall & Oates – Wait For Me
from X-Static

Whether you listened to a lot of music in the ’80s or not, if you are old enough to have been there, you likely know (or would recognize) a good number of songs by Hall & Oates – Kiss On My List, Private Eyes, Maneater

And twenty-five plus years later, the stuff holds up and seems to have earned a measure of belated respect. As good as their big hits were, the duo had a lot of hits that seem to have been forgotten a bit – Did It In A Minute and Family Man come to mind – that were pretty fantastic.

I’d put Wait For Me on that list, too.

Toto – Make Believe
from Toto IV

I never tired of hearing Rosanna during the summer of ’82 and that following winter I’d search the radio dial just hoping to hear Africa one more time.

But the hit song from Toto IV during the autumn of ’82 – nestled between those two iconic ’80s songs – was Make Believe. I didn’t really care for it at the time, but it’s grown on me over the years.

Quarterflash – Night Shift
from Harden My Heart: The Best Of Quarterflash

Thanks to Casey Kasem I know that Quarterflash got there name from…I think it’s an Australian saying…yeah, I had to look it up. It came from an Australian slang description of new immigrants as “one quarter flash and three parts foolish.”

Though well remembered for their big hit Harden My Heart, Quarterflash also had several other hits like the manic Find Another Fool and the sultry Take Me To Heart. I don’t recall hearing the slinky Night Shift very often, but it did pop up during the summer of ’82 and is pleasant enough.

(and lead singer/saxophonist Rindy Ross had a certain appeal to us at the time)

LeRoux – Nobody Said It Was Easy
from Last Safe Place

Formed by several members of a band that had backed up Clarence “Gatemouth” Brown, LeRoux would, in a later incarnation, also feature singer Fergie Frederiksen who would briefly replace Bobby Kimball as lead vocalist in Toto.

Nobody Said It Was Easy was merely there to me when it was inescapable – at least where I lived – on radio during the spring of 1982. The thing was that I could hear LeRoux and Quarterflash as well as AC/DC, Human League, Journey, Dan Fogelberg, Devo and even Kenny Rogers and Ronnie Milsap on the same Top 40 stations I was listening to at the time – sometimes in the same hour.

Like Toto’s Make Believe, Nobody Said It Was Easy is a song that I’m more fond of now than I was at the time.