My husband has always been generous to me, and I am not necessarily the easiest person in the world as far as receiving gifts is concerned.   Of course I will give polite thanks for anything I receive, and appreciate the thought and effort involved.    However, in spite of my protestations about how easy I am in this regard, I am in fact picky and exacting with decided ideas of what I like and don’t like.    At birthdays and Christmas, when asked for suggestions, I genuinely haven’t the faintest idea.   If I want something, I get it;  and if I can’t afford it, I think no more about it.   It says alot for the patience of my friends and their knowledge of me that I so often receive gifts which truly delight me.   I have many treasured things, gifts from husband, mother, children, relatives, girlfriends which not only give pleasure because of the recipient, but because they knew what I would like.

So when my husband presented me recently with a tiny stamp sized object – called, I now understand an I Pod Shuffle (a little joke there, for I too, when my pill goes down, am rather prone to shuffling!) – I wasn’t initially as appreciative as I should have been.    I hadn’t asked for it;  he hadn’t consulted me;  and I had no idea what it was.    I also have what amounts to a phobia about any new technology.  It was very small and I was doubtful I could handle it.   And I don’t like putting things in my ears.   But I remembered my manners, thanked him, and listened to the instructions.   It seems my husband understands me better than I thought he did.   I’ve come to love my little shuffler.

He asked me to write out a list of songs that I liked, and toiled away in his office for some time working some wizardry  and then presented me with the entire collection.  (How this was done I have no idea.)    Eventually I figured out how to insert the earpiece in my ear, and I only have to push one button.   I quickly eliminated her with the voice over telling you what the song is.   And I put it on random selection, because otherwise I will very quickly learn the order no matter how many songs there are and I like the element of surprise.   I find it interesting to see how quickly (often in just the two opening notes) you can tell which song it is.

One of my difficulties, as the Chinese practitioner of medicine put it so succinctly, is “Probrem is rady think too much.”     I have difficulty switching my brain off.   Now listening to music does not cut off thought processes entirely, but it causes the power of your thinking to slip down a  gear or two, so your mind ambles along, hands in pockets as it were, just noting what it’s hearing;  like an engine idling.   There is always the capacity of music – for which ability I am mistrustful of it – to bypass your thinking process entirely and hi-jack your emotional reactions so before you know it some seemingly harmless song has unreleased a great tsunami of grief – but then that doesn’t happen very often.

I enjoy my motley collection.   I don’t know what it says about me.  (Uneducated musical moron of eclectic tastes, probably.)   As you might expect, a high proportion of the songs I’ve chosen have beautiful lyrics.    There’s a lot of Irish and Scottish folk songs.     Some classical items.   Some are just ridiculous.  There’s No-one as Irish as Barack Obama;  Sinatra (When Joanna Loved me);  Susan Boyle, Wild Horses;  Dory Previn, the Lemon Haired Ladies;  Bob Dylan’s Forever Young (not sung by him);  Peter Sarsted’s Where Do You Go To My Lovely;  Joan Baez;  Queen;  The Beatles;  O Flower of  Scotland;  The Black Velvet Band;  On Raglan Road,   Hallelujah sung by Jeff Buckley;  Paul Simon;  Nessun Dorma;  O My Beloved Father;  some Willie Nelson (I’ve heard plenty of it over the years), some Kriss Kristoffersen (very clever lyrics); The Arrival of the Queen of Sheba;  How Great Thou Art; Handel;  Bach;  The Pride of the Irish Navy; Vivaldi.

In the early morning,  when I waken I can lie and listen to this random selection without disturbing the husband, (not always at his sunniest best in the early hours) so in giving me this gift, he has also given himself one!   Turns out John is a clever fellow, with a talent for gifts.

I listen to the music,   I enjoy it,  and I count my blessings.   When you think of the alternative, the quote ‘Bliss was it in that dawn to be alive’, applies to every single day.   Shuffling the cards that Fate dealt you, you realise it wasn’t a bad hand.

Who’d have thought there was so much to be said for shuffling?

About adhocannie
I am a good natured woman with a long memory and a swift tongue. I like loooking at things and thinking about them. Also food, clothes, travel, reading, sewing. I try to see the ridiculous in things, but sobriety of reflection keeps edgting in. I have husband, children, grandchildren, friends... I feel rich in things that matter. I am a happy exile. I like writing. I do not like talking about me (though I do.). You willl be much more interesting.

8 Responses to SHUFFLING

  1. Eugene Windsor says:

    Welcome to the world of mobile music! As an “early adopter” of new technologies (as opposed to the reluctant, late or never adopter that some of us might be…) I’ve been enjoying music on the move since the days of the Sony Walkman, through early and not very mobile CD players and later dedicated MP3 players. Sadly I left my MP3 in Switzerland but I now have all my music on my phone. I too like random – it’s like a radio programme of all your favourite music without ever knowing what’s next and no annoying DJ.
    To enjoy you shuffle even more, ask for another gift of an upgraded pair of headphones. The ones with the rubber buds that come in different sizes to fit your ears are much better than the ones supplied with devices, which tend to be hard, uncomfortable, fall out easily and are don’t sound great. I always get Sennheisers for about £30 or so – you’ll hear things you never knew were in the music.
    A good eclectic range of music there – not many people left who like Dore Previn, but I’ve had the album that lemon-haired ladies was on for years and I love it. You need a wee bit of Van the Man in there (in my opinion anyway, though of course it’s a personal choice) – his version of Raglan Road with the Chieftains is superb

  2. Sheena says:

    Next for you to discover: play lists!

  3. Carolyn Hulatt says:

    What a delightful piece of writing Anne and particularly so, as I can think of several of the gifts I’ve given you over the years which you refer to,; similarly I treasure your gifts to me. I love the beautiful aqua blue stone you gave me recently, which sits on my bedside table. The very pretty Japanese embroidered bag, you bought whilst there, contains my contact lenses. The large New Zealand Pau shell you kindly gave me greets my eye each day when I use the shower and the delicate ceramic trinket box with the golden bird sits by the fire. Stone, bag, shell, box are all part of my daily life, which I would miss if fate decreed a re-shuffle of possessions and I lost them.

    • adhocannie says:

      Oh, how kind. And I treasure a pair of African candles, on my mantelpiece as we speak,. a dragonfly brooch that I’m going to make a dress to match, a pretty wine stopper, and many other things too numerous to mention. Of the 4 articles you mention, two actually belonged to me (the ceramic box, and the shell) and I always think gifts of one’s own possessions are the best! (Though it’s nice to have things bought for one too,)

  4. colemanje56 says:

    A lovely piece again. While listening to music with earphones, won’t it help your balance when you are walking? ( do you remember the programme I saw about the power of music?)

    • adhocannie says:

      Yes, I did. I looked it up and got lots of useful information. I practied with the tune Donald walked across the heather and now find I only have to say the words in my head for the beat, as it were, to come in. Thank you, AA

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