This Must Be the Place

Photograph by Jose Padua
Tonight I let out a Tourette’s grunt just as Heather was trying to record a greeting for the voicemail on her new phone. When she played it back, the first thing you heard was me in the background going, “HUNNNGGGGGAAGGGGGHHH!” This was followed by “This is Heather, I can’t answer your call right now…” I thought it sounded incredible. In fact, we all loved it. Heather, Maggie, and I, and—if he were listening at the moment—I’m sure Julien would have loved it too. We laughed at the absurd beauty of it.

Maggie and I each told Heather she should use it as is for her greeting. But, since she gets a lot of calls from the office on her cell phone, we decided she’d better re-record her greeting. There isn’t much room in the professional world for odd, grunting noises. People would be asking for an explanation, saying, “What was that?” Or probably what would happen more often is that they would say nothing, but think us odd, weird, or perhaps even scary. Which is fine, but we have to make money, and so often money looks down on what is odd, sneers at anything it deems weird, and steers completely away from anything it thinks is scary.

This is why, at home, we are artists, driving away the money we make during the day except for that little bit that’s fine with our being odd, and that tiny fraction that doesn’t fall from our hands because it’s scared. This is where we live the best part of our sort-of-hard, always weird lives. This is, indeed, the place.

-Jose Padua

Photograph by Jose Padua

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2 responses to “This Must Be the Place

  1. What a lovely observation of life. I’m sure many of us secret and not so secret poets and artists can relate to this. It also made me laugh and remember younger years when answer phone messages could be weird because we didn’t care for “normality” and thought we would make it as “we” wanted. One message had my classical guitar playing as an intro and accompaniment, another involved 4 of us impersonating a hamster doing a parachute jump, another was just us all singing Wonderwall by Oasis. You get the idea. Shared houses and the beautiful naivety of youth. No wonder we didn’t get much freelance work and mostly ended up with payroll jobs…. 🙂

    • shenandoahbreakdown

      Ah, thanks! Yes, back in the day, when we were all younger, the Not-at-home phone messages were almost invariably created at less sober/less serious moments. I think the kids now use instagram or something like that for the funny stuff. Or maybe it’s just that our generation was the last one to be truly funny!

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