I am actually doing it.
I have permanent nerve damage in my left fingertips to prove it.
I am practicing guitar.
I’ve understand that I will need to know exactly three chords for Nanci Griffith’s “Speed of the Sound of Loneliness.” I first heard this song when El Jefe and I were moving from New Mexico to Seattle. I knew why I was moving — New Mexico was too dusty, too far from water and my family, we’d done everything we could do there and the next step was to become permanent fixtures in the grimy little town of Gallup. I’m not sure why he was moving, but maybe it was his best offer. We had begun crumbling as a couple. We stopped in Los Angeles and his friend hooked us up with tickets for the Tonight Show, just when Jay Leno had begun his reign. I can’t for the life of me remember who the celebrity was, but Nanci played this song of a lover absent in spirit and I was enchanted. I want to learn this song on guitar. Maybe it’s because I have a historical attraction to addicts. Maybe it’s because it all seemed so familiar and sad and lovely. Maybe because it’s pretty.
Three chords. C is easy. G is fun. But F???? Drat!!!! I must be missing a joint, or be severely anatomically incorrect.
My teacher is patient and kind and has told me to only practice F, and stop singing along. He told me, “I will not let you fail,” which has brought all kinds of warm fuzzies to this whole process. In this late-night frustration, when F is a millimeter out of reach, I turned to … my new boyfriend.
Introducing Justin Sandercoe.
And guess what? I hit F, and it rang out loud and true. Well, once or twice, anyway.