There was birthday cake last weekend. Mountain Girl and the Bass Player presented me with this cake on Saturday night. I would tell you what “DF” stands for, but I am clinging to the last wispy threads of my dignity.
There weren’t pains. Not really. I mean, other than my normal old lady pains.
Sometimes, our conversations go down weirdly lit paths that aren’t always comfortable.
When Mountain Girl and I are together, no subject is left uncovered and all conversations usually devolve into butt jokes.
We were talking about lessons we learned when we were young. Lessons that taught us that the grown ups weren’t necessarily going to take care of us anymore and how jarring those lessons can be.
If there is something I know I can count on when we’re sitting in the mountains with our friends, it’s that I know I’m going to hear some good stories. Holy shit, you guys, Mountain Girl has the best stories ever.
She was on her own at a very young age, and by age 19, she was working for a recording studio.
The studio was near a large catholic church and the owner wanted to get a recording of the church bells in the bell tower.
The carillon was way beneath the bells. These bells were huge and it is imperative that no human be near the actual bells if someone is playing the carillon. If you are like me, then you would be interrupting this story right now to ask what the fuck a “carillon” is. It’s the device where you actually “play” the bells.
The owner of this recording studio wanted a sample of this bell sound. He sent Mountain Girl up into the bell tower to place a microphone to get their sample.
She wasn’t crazy about going into the bell tower to hang up a microphone. It wasn’t like it was going to kill her. They wouldn’t send her up there if they didn’t know what to expect, right?
She had to wear earplugs and heavy headphones over the earplugs to protect her ears and she had to be careful to not even brush up against the bells as the resulting vibrations could permanently damage her hearing, even with the earplugs and headphones on.
Mountain girl lives and dies by the sounds she hears. Her jobs have always revolved around sound and how she hears sound. This is what she counts on.
She couldn’t hear with the soundproofing in her ears. Just the sound of her breath and her own heartbeat.
She was nervous about climbing into the tower having been warned over and over that any tap against the bells could harm her hearing and hearing paid for her food and shelter.
She went up the stairs and hoisted herself over a wall to get where she had to attach the microphone. She kept her eyes trained on the bells and lowered herself over the wall.
The first thing she noticed, was the floor beneath her was uneven. Padded, even. Like she was walking on a thick layer of leaves and sticks in a forest. She couldn’t hear the sticks snapping beneath her work boots, but she could feel them.
She took a few steps and felt unsteady. The only thing close enough to steady herself was a bell, and that wasn’t an option.
Then, she looked around.
Where are the trees? How is this filled with leaves?
She looked down.
Mountain girl was not standing on a bed of twigs and leaves. She was not feeling sticks snap under her feet.
Mountain girl was standing on generations and generations of dead pigeons.
The freshest were on top. The great great great great great grandparents of the recently deceased lined the floor of the bell tower.
The sound and vibration from the bells were powerful enough, that when pigeons are present at the time the bells toll, well, the bells toll for them.
First she had to fight panic. No running and falling. Face first into dead pigeons was not an option.
And she had a job to do.
She processed her situation and slowly made her way to the area where she had to string up the microphone.
Then she made her way out of the bell tower, feeling the crunch of both fresh and long dead birds beneath her feet.
She felt betrayed. Did they not know what she was literally walking in to? Did they know and not care?
That was one of her defining moments. She realized she was the grown up that would take care of her.
I’m sure I had similar lessons. Well, not similar, similar. I would have remembered standing in thousands and thousands of dead pigeons. I’m talking more the lessons that teach us we no longer in the cocoon of adolescence.
Personally, I’m still holding out that there is some grandmotherly figure out there who will be swooping in any day now to straighten up all my messes and perhaps make me soup. She will also laugh at my butt jokes.
While I wait for my fairy godmother to show up, I will appreciate having a friend to share experiences with. Shared experiences help me feel less alone. It’s always good to have a friend who will listen and share. It’s even better when they have amazing stories. There are so many good ones that I’ve forgotten. But that’s the great thing about Mountain Girl. She will tell me her stories as many times as I ask. I hate to brag, but I have my own Scheherazade.
It wasn’t all cakes and pains last weekend. We didn’t just talk about heavy life defining moments. Mostly, we were silly. Sometimes incoherent.
In addition to my cake and a plethora of amazing gifts, Mountain Girl got all the daffodils to bloom in February just for my birthday.