June 10, 2008

“Wow, that asparagus is deeevine.” marveled Cocoa.

“Yes, indeed.” Worth the wait, I agreed, as I finished my second cup of French roast.

“Ok, so can we NOW, open that package that has been staring at me this whole dang breakfast?”

“Yup, here it goes.” At this point Orphy, the nude cat who runs the joint, sauntered out of the sun room over to our umbrella, hopped up on the pine bookcase and surveyed the impending opening.

As I lifted the box, I was again surprised by the heft of the piece. My stainless penknife was needed to cut through the kraft gum tape and jute cordage. The smell of machine oil started to prick my nostril while reminding me that the helicopter kit install was falling way behind schedule…. I unstuffed the top layer of what was a combination of quarter inch reel-to-reel audio tape, stale smartfood popcorn and, and….well, I guess you would call it shredded early 80’s vinyl album art with a sprinkling of AP wire feed dated the first of April 1985. “Weaahrd.” I found myself say, in perfect Boston dialect, as I held the vintage packin’ mix in my still pine-gummy fingers, looking questioningly at Cocoa.

“So, Coop is that it? Just a strange mix of shredded stuff?” she asked while wrapping Orphy’s prehensile-like tale around her long tanned ankle.

I reached back in the box and touched a cool piece of metal. Rectangular, of sort, with, wait….some plastic feeling stuff and a cord of some type stretching back into the box; I lifted the old piece of what I now knew to be radio broadcasting equipment out onto the polished concrete deck table.

“Finally. There it is. Now, what is that Coop?” said Cocoa genuinely interested in the beat-up piece of gear.

“Well, that my lovely is a honest to goodness radio cart machine.” I said as I continued to pull the power cord from the box.

“Right, Mr. Radio Dinosaur. What is a cart machine.”

As I reached a snag in pulling the cord out of the box I explained: “A cart machine is a specialized auto-cue quarter inch tape playing machine commonly used in radio broadcasting through the dawn of Computer, digital playing mechanisms. Commonly thought of as a simple 8 track player like device it was actually far more specialized and rugged. The computer pretty much replaced most of the cart machines in radio by the time I started to ween myself from broadcasting. Like many of the displacements that digital technology effected, the cart machine was seen as not “good enough” and way too prone to malfunction comparatively….”

“Woe, Spock. That is quite enough. Fine. I get it. So who and why would someone send you this thing?”

“Well, I was known, by some folk, to have an uncommon love for the things. In fact I use to reinstall the machines in studios, surreptitiously, generally during an overnight shift, after the “official” engineer mothballed the cart machine from the studio.

“Ok, so Coop, honey. Why would someone send you one?”

“Just look at this thing, it weighs about ten pounds. It has real plastic buttons and it smells like a cybernetic dinosaur, nice oil. I bet this is pure Marvelous oil…. In some ways these machines remind me of my old 3G iPhone….”

“Coop, look, my power points are getting burnt out here with all the UV today. I just need to know if you need any help with anything else. I’m about done hearing about the cart machine as it will be a while until you clue me into what led, caused or who did this parachute drop thing. You can unravel your package yourself…. Unravel your package. Hey, actually I think your own package may be getting burned out here too, your Kimono is a bit loose, hon.”

“Would you look at the heads on this deck, they are in good shape. I wonder….” as I talked to myself Cocoa, lifted the cat off her lap, stood up in her hip-first-swivel-floating way and I looked up at her exclaiming: “Wabi-sabi! Wabi-sabi!”

“This is wabi-sabi?” Cocoa questioned, floating her arms over her head, chest and points following slowly and perfectly.

“No, this machine, it is wabi-sabi.” I said as I watched Cocoa coninue to lift and reach for the sky, now on her powerful, perfectly balanced tip-toes, tan and sparkling tourquoise nails and pads, buoyant on the teak decking.

“Wabi-sabi, wabi-sabi. Coop why don’t you stand up and reach up like me and let me check out your rear end?”

“Umm, OK…. Why? I didn’t fall that hard really….Hey, this cart machine is actually attached to a battery powered supply already, and here is a cartridge.”

“Great!” said Cocoa winking and slapping me to attention, “Stick it in.”