For the past two weeks, the radio in my Volkwagon has been tuned to the country music station.
I did not set the radio to this station. But I have not changed it.
I have two things to say about this:
One: there is something heartwarmingly endearing about the bizarre, brash straightforwardness of country lyrics. (“There’s only two things I want when I’m back in my double wide, and that’s a big ole brew and little ole you“? How can you not be charmed? Please. I love it.)
Two: be careful what happens when you date someone from Texas.
This weekend I drove S and N, my two roommates, to go see the new Kristin Wiig movie, Bridesmaids.
“Country station still on, huh?” N ribbed from the backseat, moments after I started the engine.
“Yeah…” I admitted, feebly formulating a defense. “D put it on when he borrowed my car and, uh, it’s just really amusing!”
For a while the comments subsided. And then, “Proud to be an American” came on.
“Wow,” S shook her head as she spoke. “Your parents would be so horrified right now. Your dad would be so horrified.”
I couldn’t help but crack up. She was right: somewhere (probably, Brooklyn) my father was drinking an expensive glass of California burgandy, listening to Glenn Miller and reading the Wall Street Journal. And somewhere (certainly, south Texas) D’s dad was drinking a can of Old Milwaukee, driving a tractor and listening, probably, to Garth Brooks.
Here’s the thing about how my family compares with D’s, that is basically all you need to know: my parents think that anyone who owns a gun should be shot (ironic, they realize) and D’s parents own a lot of guns. A lot of guns.
My family and his family understand each other just about as much as Hamas and Likud. Morocco and Spain. Yankee fans and Mets fans.
Which isn’t to say that, should they ever meet, their encounter would end in decades of violence or stand-offs or raucous tabloid wars.
In fact, I’m fairly sure that, should they ever meet, they would like each other: based on what D’s told me, his family members are kind, generous and warm people–adjectives I’d also use to describe mine. Probably, if they ever encountered each other, they’d get along great.
But if it weren’t for D and I, they almost certainly never would.
I’ve read before that the best predictor of a relationships’ success is having a similar background: coming from a similar place, and class–having a common education and religion and general life experience.
This makes sense to me. Certainly, we all have an easier time relating with people whose experience we can understand. And I’ve certainly known relationships that didn’t work out because the gulf was simply too wide.
But I love that D and I come from such different places. We share common beliefs–ideas about God and people and politics. But we got there in entirely different ways. And that fascinates me. I love hearing about his upbringing: learning about a lifestyle and location that I find so entirely foreign.
Certainly, we exoticize each other–there is something universally appealing about someone so “different.” That, surely, will wear off. And maybe, ultimately, it will prove challenging to get, always, where the other is coming from.
But I think the excitement of getting to know someone whose background differs so sharply from yours, of learning from them, of broadening your understanding of the world–and, perhaps, your taste in music–is worth the challenge.
Also, Blake Shelton is hot.