Sunday, November 09, 2008

A Sentimental Moment

Yesterday during one of our breaks between violin lessons, Clay and I found ourselves at the campus Starbucks. We've got 3 classes with a 45 minute break in between each (clearly I don't know the correct people to bribe) so thank goodness for modern campus conveniences. Duquesne just renovated it's student union, which Mike will grumpily complain if asked that it was a dump when he went, but do keep in mind that he can be prone to hyperbole. Now, it's a centrally located building with many comfy sofas and chairs, a bank, a bookstore and a Starbucks.

We arrived in the middle of a very gray, blustery day. Pittsburgh is getting ready for winter, and the leaves where a' swirlin'. Juggling a violin case, my purse, and a tote bag, along with my five year old, I scurry to the counter and order a 'not so hot chocolate' for Clay and a venti Eggnot latte for me. Since I love the eggnog latte, I refrain from my usual comment of 'what does Venti mean, anyway?' I suspect the collegiate baristas are not in the mood. Clay skips to a corner sofa, I grab our drinks and after testing his for the appropriate level of 'not so hotness', I sip my latte and rejoice. I plop into a green velour chair next to him and check my watch... 25 minutes until we need to leave for class. Outside the glass windows a big gust of wind is pushing leaves along on their merry route, and I'm able to survey the scene.

Interestingly, for a Saturday afternoon the place is practically empty. There's a student in a hoodie sweatshirt across the room, iPod buds in ears, hairband in place, a couple of binders and books on the table. Another couple by the window, and us. "Kids today", I mutter. When I was in college, a place like this would probably have been teeming with activity. Then I look down at my $4 drink and realize that I'm wrong. My friends and I wouldn't have had the money needed to hang out in a Starbucks.

Clay's grabbed my iPhone and is playing a puzzle game, so I have nothing to occupy my brain except my thoughts. And the coffee shop music, which was very, very good. Etta James* followed by James Taylor, and then as if God was trying to yank me back 20 years, Debussy's Clair de Lune. Not that this song is significant to my college years, although that was when I first read Terrence McNally's fabulous play. No, the song itself is better than a time machine. No matter where I am, if it's playing I'm always reminded of something. It's such a beautiful piece of music. When I was pregnant with Clay I mentioned to my buddy Ed that I wanted to play that song over and over again to my belly because I had read that you should pick a calming piece of music to play to the baby in utero, and then after it's born you could play it whenever the baby was freaking out, and he would calm down. I loved this idea, and was sure that I had discovered the secret to parenthood. What foe is cholic against beautiful music? Right. The next day, thoughtful Ed gave me a cd he burned with several different versions of Clair de Lune. I spent a few nights with headphones on my belly until one of the many baby books I was reading slapped me back to reality.

The song has ended and I look up and notice that hoodie sweatshirt girl now has her head on her table. And in those few quiet moments of reflections I realized something. I am so glad I am not her. All night studying and all night socializing are long gone for me. Those problems have been replaced with far greater worries (a mortgage, a paycheck, a family). I should yearn for the days where the next paper or exam or boy occupied my thoughts. But now I have more interesting and more important considerations, as well as a consistent eight hours of sleep.

At Last!*


Ed said...

Wow. I had forgotten about that! I guess I can be a nice guy at times! :-)

Nancy said...

You know, I'm so bummed b/c that cd hasn't surfaced since we moved. There was a fantastic version that was very 'space agey'. If you remember what that one was, I'd be grateful if you'd forward the info so I can purchase on iTunes!

Ed said...

Is that the Swingle Swisters?