Well, she was just seventeen — you know what I mean? — and she and her BFF, who happened to be my daughter, were busily rousing me from my usual fitful slumber. From a chronological-consistency standpoint, this dream was clearly a disaster, since my daughter is actually thirty-six, and there would be further anachronisms, though I wasn’t awake enough to evaluate them.
Now teenagers don’t approach you unless they Want Something, and this unnamed blonde evidently did. While daughter beat a hasty retreat to wherever it is she retreats to, the request was made. Apparently the young lady had been to Record Store Day and had come away with an actual 45-rpm single by a currently popular teen act. Now when I was seventeen, the last thing in the world a seventeen-year-old wanted to listen to was a currently popular teen act, but then I am old and still devoted to that sort of thing, and I recognized the performer, though not the song itself.
“Most people your age,” I said, “don’t even have turntables.”
“I don’t either.” Oh. “I was hoping you could process this for me.”
I smiled. “You know, you could have just downloaded this. Probably would have saved you a buck.”
“Yeah, but everybody downloads. And then they lose it or forget where they saved it or accidentally erase it.” She had a perfectly valid point, I decided. And so the plan was hatched: I would play back the single on my own turntable and rip it to an MP3 file, but during the playback process I would simultaneously copy that track to a format even more obsolete than vinyl: an audio cassette. And if this gave the girl brief bragging rights, hey, that sort of thing matters at that age.
At my age, being able to show off matters, so I took her to the Audio Room, festooned with ancient equipment, including a vintage-Seventies open-reel deck, a semi-automatic turntable — you set the arm manually, but it retracts at the end of the side — and stacks and stacks of wax. In between explaining all the components — for all I knew, this might have looked like Dr. Frankenstein’s laboratory to her — I attempted to keep up my end of a discussion of the current Top 40.
At one point, I said: “Isn’t it about time Rebecca Black put out a new record?”
She was dismissive. “I haven’t paid any attention to her since ‘Sunday Morning’ came out.” Disappointed, I guess.
Then came a snag or two. For some reason, the turntable that couldn’t autoplay was trying to autoplay, even before I’d slapped the disc on the platter. And for the life of me, I couldn’t find a single blank cassette in the place, and I knew I had a dozen or two stashed away somewhere.
Her phone rang. “I’ll just be a minute.”
I’d heard that before.
Now admittedly everything had been moved around since my recent illness, but how do you hide a case (24 count) of blank tape with humongous logos on every surface? It was, of course, in the last place I looked; I selected a TDK 60-minute tape in the “HD” series, which I seem to recall was a Type II.
After that, things wound up approximately the way they should have, though a pain in my shoulder woke me up before I could see the finale. The price I pay, I suppose, for crashing between work and dinnertime.
In real life, daughter had actually had a blonde bestie in those days, though this one did not call her to mind: the Dream Object looked sort of like a vertically compressed Reese Witherspoon, though the resemblance disappeared below the ankle.
And dammit, when’s the new Rebecca Black single?