Song Of The Day 3/21/2017: Tom Waits – “Innocent When You Dream”
The Final 9
Did I ever tell you about the last time I made homemade pasta?
It was a little more than 12 years ago. I was living with Kate and her family in Tumwater. It’d been a rough year. Everything turned out okay, but it was rough. I had to get back on my cuisine game. Just for once, I wanted break out of my dried pasta bubble. It was suffocating me. I was dying inside.
We’ve had a Kitchenaid mixer for almost 12 years, and I keep thinking we should get the pasta-rolling attachment. Just to have it. But we probably wouldn’t use it all that much. Still, I wonder how much I could do with it if I had the chance.
So with everyone’s approval I decided to try making some homemade ravioli. And I wanted to do some experimenting. One vision I always had was incorporating fresh basil leaves in the dough.
I’m going to be frank with you: I’m not as crazy about basil as I used to be. I mean, I love basil pesto—there aren’t many sauces that bring me more pleasure than pesto when I get it right. But in other applications it’s very, very easy to use too much basil, and when that happens it dominates the dish. So I think my antipathy towards basil in recent years might be from my disappointment with it when I was a much less disciplined cook.
By the way, since we’re on the subject, how do you cut up your basil leaves? I see it in flecks and little shreds in a lot of Italian food, but I’ve really come to like the basic chiffonade cut. It’s so cool. I just stack about eight to ten basil leaves together, roll them up so it looks like a joint, then cut it thin, and I mean razor thin, so that when I’m done I’ve got these very fine strands of basil. They’re like baby’s hair, they really are.
You know what? I think I’ll give basil another shot this spring. I’ll be more careful with it this time.
But anyway, so we made this homemade ravioli with basil flecks in the dough. I think we filled it with sausage because we fill everything with sausage. I over-floured my particular mis en place however, because the end result—while totally acceptable—was a little gritty. But everyone enjoyed it. Or at least they said they did. At least they all appreciated the audacity. All in all, it was a net success, is what I’m saying. Definitely worth trying once.
So we chalked it up as a win and settled down to watch TV for the evening and wind down and then Kate’s water broke.
50% of Success Is Showing UpI mean, that’s just how it happens, isn’t it? You go through protracted stages of anticipation, knowing the big event is coming, and through that whole time you pile up a lot of minor incidents and occasions that really don’t register on the seismograph, and then without really seeing it coming you get whisked into this… I don’t know, chute or something, and then everything moves really slowly while you’re waiting for the final shoe to drop, and then it drops, and nothing’s ever the same again.
I’m sure it’s a bit more involved for the mother. But in case you were curious, that’s how it was for the father.
So we gathered ourselves up and went to Providence St. Peter Hospital in Olympia around 11:00pm. It was a Sunday night. Kate and I were both disappointed because Sunday late night is the worst time of the week for TV watching, and we were going to be up for awhile. I wasn’t counting on sleep.
Up until the last hour or so Kate was pretty stoic. Therefore so was I. About 4:30am her facade began to crack. We were looking for ice cubes and Kate was warning me not to touch her. Doctors showed up. That was encouraging. They also had nurses.
About 5:30 the situation escalated a little bit. We were thinking we were going to be in for a long morning. My basic game plan was to stay out of the way unless emotional coaching was needed, and everyone in the room gave assent for that strategy.
Then she just showed up.
It was just like that. After a little more than an hour in the advanced stages of labor, at 5:59am. I knew it was coming and all, but it still seemed sudden.
I was dumbstruck. I was fascinated. I think I just stood there with my mouth open while everyone else was acting very excitable (except for Kate, who was resting her voice). I was unable to speak.
It was like Beast Quake a little more than six years later. Everybody in the stadium was jumping up and down and screaming while Marshawn Lynch was making that improbable touchdown run against the New Orleans Saints. Except for me. I was too stunned to move. I just stood there watching Marshawn run with this stupid look on my face.
That’s exactly what it was like when Lucie was born. Everything was quiet in my head. It was like a creation myth, without the myth.
Kate held Lucie for the first time and told me, “Thank you.”
Then they put Lucie in a separate bed to rest for a bit. Again, I just stood over her and watched her, like an idiot.
A happy idiot.
The Instruction ManualAfter Kate, her parents, the doctors, nurses and me, the first people to see Lucie were King Dinosaur and Olivia. Then Damon, who I’d worked for doing wedding DJ stints over the summer, came by as well. On Tuesday morning Kate had recovered enough to be released from the hospital. (That’s not her all-time record, though—that would be when she had John. She was out of the birthing center and back at home after about four hours. “Giving birth is kind of my superpower,” she said once.)
That night as Kate was preparing to sleep she gave Lucie to me for our first rocking-chair session. We went to the adjacent room and sat down.
You know how they say your life flashes before your eyes at your moment of death? Well, it happened to me at that moment, about 38 hours after Lucie’s birth. Everything that I’d done or had been done to me, every place I’d been, all the struggles—all of that was funneling down and whittling itself down above Lucie’s face, where it just dissipated. This is what it all led up to, a brand new life form that was staring back at me.
I lost it. I cried. Like I was watching a Pixar movie.
Lucie, though, wasn’t having any of it. She had this amazed look on her face as well, but it was more inquisitive.
“All right… I know who the chick is ‘cause I hung out with her for nine months straight, but who exactly are you?”
I’m your dad.
“You… you had something to do with this, didn’t you?”
Well, not nearly as much as your mom, but I played a role, yeah.
“Oh… okay. Well, don’t screw this up.”
I promise, I won’t screw it up. I promise.
“Aw, c’mon, I was kidding. Lighten up. But you seem tense. I’m guessing you’ve had some problems or issues in the past, right?”
Yeah, you could say that.
“Well, just don’t project any of that onto me and we’ll be fine. Deal?”
“Okay then. I’m gonna rest myself. The move took a lot out of me.”
Sounds good. Good night.
“Good night Dad.”
I’d made a playlist for Lucie a few days before her birth, because I’m Paul Pearson and that’s what I do for these kinds of situations. I make playlists and mixtapes. As we both settled down I started playing it over the computer.
Today’s Song Of The Day was the first song on the playlist, therefore it’s the first song Lucie ever heard.