Record Haul No. ???
Yes - 90125
Rusty Warren - Knockers Up!
Crowded House - s/t
Elvis Presley - Mahalo from Elvis
Gordon Lightfoot - Lightfoot!
Duran Duran - Rio
The Rolling Stones - Goats Head Soup
Judy Garland - At Carnegie Hall In Person
The Monkees - Head
Concert for Bangladesh
Every Monday night I volunteer at a used book warehouse that supports the public library. We spend a few hours sorting through blue plastic bins of books, either library discards or donations from the public. Most of it is half chewed mildewed Bibles and ex-library James Patterson that we put into dumpsters for recycling. Sometimes there are interesting covers I photograph and put on Instagram.
They also sell records for a dollar a disc. Every once in a while I will come home with a Hall & Oates album or The Warriors soundtrack and we will spin a few tunes to wind down from volunteering while we cook (or, usually, J cooks) dinner. Tonight, I browsed the records after I’d combed through boxes of mass market paperbacks about Catholicism and ESP, and picked up Duran Duran, Yes, Crowded House, Elvis Presley. I saw the above album, by David Batteau, who I’d never heard of, and thought the sketch on the cover looked like a character in the Eve Babitz novel I’m taking way too long to read because I’m enjoying each sentence so much I’m reading them twice. The title was even “Happy in Hollywood” which seemed very Babitzian and pleased me. I tucked it in with the rest of my stash on a whim.
As I brought my stack to the register, Bindy, the head volunteer, told me that two of the other volunteers, Kathy and Shannon, had brought in hundreds of records they’d cleared out during their recent move. She let me go into the back room and sort through their stash after we closed for the night. Mostly Connie Francis records and Bill Cosby, some heavily scratched Cher. I found a Monkees album that looked like it had been chewed by a cat, but took it anyway. I also took The Rolling Stones, Concert for Bangladesh, and Judy Garland’s Carnegie Hall performance.
I added up my discs, and decided to put back the David Batteau with his mustache that looked like a book character to make it an even $10.
I left the warehouse clutching my haul, crossed the street to get jerk chicken wings from the Senegalese place in the tiny strip mall, and thought about the guy in the mustache. How often we see something that strikes our fancy, but can’t say why, but then later it turns out that there was a reason it was attractive to us in the first place. I got home and set aside the predictable records, the ones I knew already, and looked up David Batteau. He had a song called Spaceship Earth on YouTube, and within the first few notes I was cursing putting the record back in the stacks.
Sometimes we should give in, trust the things we’re attracted to, not spend too much time thinking about whether the attraction is worth spending time on. Life is worth spending time on. I know I’ll go back for that record. Love is worth spending time on.
I haven’t done one of these Record Haul posts in a while, but sitting here listening to Neil Finn singing about the world where you live (with a hint of tree frog seeping in from the woods outside) I’m thinking it’s good to write about the little things you enjoy once in a while. That’s what I miss most when I’m away from Tumblr for a while: this is where we fan out. Where we say, here, I like this, I don’t know why, but I do. And somehow it’s a valid part of who we are.