Jim has a sixth sense for Charlie's internal states and moods and always has one eye on the rear view mirror when driving with Charlie in the back seat (whereas Charlie seems irked by what seems like such scrutiny on my part). In the car on the way to Jersey horse country Saturday morning, Charlie started crying hard. Jim immediately said, 'hey pal, how are you?'
Charlie had been playing a Wiggles album on his iPad, 'Wiggle Bay.' He used to have the video -- it's about the Wiggles in a beach setting having the usual silly adventures with lots of singing and dancing (c'est Wags, c'est bon, etc.) -- and Charlie had been playing the opening song over and over. Then he let the music go on and on. I was listening and remembering watching various parts of the video with Charlie years ago when he started crying.
Memory pangs of what was and now wasn't?
The acne on his nose?
Jim's and my vigilance levels went up several notches and we both took note of how many more exits we had to pass before getting off the highway. It took a few requests, but Charlie handed me the iPad and I turned off the Wiggles and turned on 'Jazz and the Abstract Truth' with Oliver Nelson and Eric Dolphy. It's a favorite of Jim's and Charlie has listened to it in the past. Just sounds and rhythms changed everything in the car and we proceeded to the general store to get Charlie his habitual piece of carrot cake and thence to the gravel parking lot.
He was smiling by then and eager to get on his bike. As it was in the 70s, there was no need for yellow jackets and really not skull caps or heavy gloves, but Charlie preferred both (while being ok with Jim not wearing his matching heavy gloves). They did 14 miles and 6 later at home and I made soy sauce chicken and butterscotch pudding (the latter on a total whim), not that Charlie ate any of those.
As I stirred the milk into browned butter and sugar while Jim and Charlie both took a much-needed rest I thought about how it's not just that music reflects Charlie's feelings and possible mental states. Very often it seems there is no filter at all between the music and what Charlie is feeling; that he can't screen out whatever the music is making him feel and it all just comes out and he is... paralyzed? to change it -- maybe doesn't realize at that point that he can.
Charlie went to sleep listening to another favorite thanks to Jim, jazz violinist Sugarcane Harris.