Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Air Guitar

My husband always picks on me when I play air guitar. My form is off, he says, so badly that I look like I’m playing the air mandolin. A song by The Who or anything with decent rhythm guitar or back beat can’t come on the radio without my hands dropping compulsively into strumming the air strings. And I can’t strum without him giggling, snorting behind his hands.

I get the compulsion itself from my father. I’ve realized at the age of twenty-nine that I drum my fingers on the steering wheel just as he did, and it makes me feel closer to him when I catch myself at it, since he’s been gone more than six years now. This is a contrast to the first time I saw my mother’s hands when looking at my own. Something about the way I pulled a credit card from my wallet and passed it with a flick of my wrist to the cashier (before the days of “just swipe it through there, sweetie”) was undeniably an inheritance from my mom, and it startled me badly, aging me instantly and making me wonder what other habits I’d adopted from them.

Today, however, I wonder if I didn’t get my air guitar technique from my fellow U of Arizona students in my time as an undergrad here, or perhaps even from something in the water in Tucson. It may become an epidemic in the iPod era. My evidence?

1. Between classes, I was walking behind a young man who I thought, at first, had a twitch or a disease. His left hand was held in a light fist at his hip, his fingers pressing alternately into his palm. Then his path turned and I could see his right hand, strumming away at his other hip where his iPod hung in a holster from his pocket. Ah, a bass player, I realized, watching his rhythm, though it would be physically impossible to hold any guitar the way his hands were held.

2. In the computer lab this morning was an older man, staring intently at the screen, typing intently at the keyboard in bursts, and intently strumming the air in front of his bellybutton between thoughts in time to the music that kept him bouncing in his seat for almost an hour.

3. I crossed paths with a young man today who was undeniably scratching an air record floating in front of him. I can’t say he did it unabashedly, but he did it again after we made eye contact, one, then two scritcha-scritchas and his hand went into his pocket.

So, it’s not just me, honey, if that makes it any better.

1 comment:

Knitting Linguist said...

LOL! Too funny. There are times when I have to resist the urge myself -- strumming unbecoming to a professor, or some such nonsense... ;)