Sunday 25 Sep 2016

Guitar Hero
Jennifer Flaten

As dusk descended in my neighborhood, the air filled with the sound of crickets, air conditioners, it was very hot, and a guitar. A guitar; we don’t have a garage band in the neighbourhood, yet.

I am sure it is only a matter of time before some Kurt Cobain want-to-be starts their own band in my neighbourhood. It might be one of my children. They are the only people under the age of 35 that live on my street.

Just yesterday, I saw them eyeing up a drum kit. Geez, give a kid one shot on “Guitar Hero” and they think they are ready for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Anyway, for now, the last thing I expected to interrupt my “silent” reading time was a guitar--outside.

Naturally, I expected weird sounds from inside the house. This house is old and filled with children. There isn’t a time when the house isn’t making noise.

In fact, if the house were ever completely silent I would immediately call in an exorcist, because it would surely mean the house is possessed. So you can see why, I didn’t expect to hear the sound of a live guitar on my street. Especially one that sounded like it was getting closer and closer.

I looked outside and what to my wondering eyes did appear but a man walking, yes, walking. This was no car radio turned to ear splitting. It was an honest to gawd person walking down my street, strumming a guitar.

Now, I know the economy is bad, but I certainly didn’t think it was so bad that people had were considering traveling Troubadour a viable career. I admit I watched the guitarist as he strolled along the street, hoping to find out which neighbor harbored a secret desire to work as a mariachi but alas, the guitarist disappeared into the night. Seems I will have to add a “No Musicians (guitar or otherwise)” to my “No Soliciting” sign.

For a moment, I thought I had acquired my own personal soundtrack. Would the guitarist follow me everywhere and provide the perfect tune for any occasion? If I were stuck in line at the grocery store, would the guitarist play a soothing melody? If I had a confrontation with a surly server, would dueling music come up?

Speaking of dueling music, I just survived coordinating the birthday party of my pre-teen twin girls. You don’t know high emotion until you’ve dealt with two ten year old girls trying to decide on one flavor of cake. I can’t wait for the teen years.

To agree is simply not something siblings do. It is against the code of honor. The code expressly forbids siblings to agree on anything, especially something as important as cake. 

Even if both kids actually like the same thing. For example, if both kids like chocolate cake, when presented with the question of “How about chocolate cake for your birthday” one kid must say, yes, enthusiastically, and the other kid must pull a face and insist that she hates chocolate cake.

You could say to the contrary child something about the fact they ate chocolate cake the night before, but it would get you nowhere. I take that back it would get you to “extremely frustrated.” You will resume discussion and after a quick stop in “you two are killing” me, you will hurtle down the highway to “fine then don’t even have a birthday”.

In the end, you will cut your losses and bake two cakes, one chocolate and one vanilla. Maybe just maybe take up the life of a troubadour.

Jennifer Flaten lives where the local delicacy is fried cheese, Wisconsin. She writes about family life, its amusing or not so amusing moments. "At least it's not another article on global warming," she says. Jennifer bakes a mean banana bread and admits an unusual attraction to balloon animals and cup cakes. Busy preparing for the zombie apocalypse, she stills finds time to write "As I See It," her witty, too often true column. "My urge to write," says Jennifer, "is driven by my love of cupcakes, with sprinkles on top. Who wouldn't write for cupcakes, with sprinkles," she wonders.

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