I went to see Lyle Lovett again last night. Unlike the last time, when he was with his Large Band, Lyle was playing an acoustic gig with John Hiatt. In an intimate little venue in Grass Valley, California. They played the Veteran’s Memorial Hall. By my estimate, the place seats about 1,000. Maybe a little more. The two traded songs. Just playing the guitar and singing their songs.
There’s this thing about Lyle Lovett that is incredible. He sings these songs about love that either have this incredible sense of longing, or just a bit of sarcastic wit. These lines that either are filled with meaning or poke just a bit of fun. Oh, you want an example. How about this …
From the song She Ain’t No Lady
She hates my mama
She hates my daddy too
She loves to tell me
She hates the things I do
She loves to lie beside me
Almost every night
She’s no lady she’s my wife
There’s a lot there, but the line that jumps out at me, the one that tells more than any other line is “She loves to lie beside me almost every night.” That right there just blows me away. And every song he writes has something like that. A bit of humor. A line that says far more than you think possible with such few words.
Yes. I’m admitting it here. I have a man crush on Lyle Lovett.
Years ago, I had to fly across country with a new co-worker. It was one of those times when things could have turned out much worse. All those hours on an airplane with somebody I had never met but who I would end up working the next years with. Former Co-worker Carin made the flight enjoyable and became a friend. Over the years, whenever we got together for lunch, or even just spoke on the phone, we played this game.
Carin: Would you do Serena Williams or Venus Williams?
Me: Serena. Without a doubt. Would you do George Clooney or Brad Pitt?
Frequently, I would follow up the Clooney-Pitt throwndown with something like … would you do George W. or Dick Cheney?
Her answers are lost to the fog of a decaying memory, but I remember the day we talked about Serena. She was stunned at my answer because I was so positive of my response. Carin even had to go home that night and verify with her husband that Serena was in fact a woman that men might desire. I’ll never understand how she didn’t get it.
So, we played this game and every once in awhile Carin threw a curve ball. Right after asking me if I who I would do between two beauties like Angelina Jolie and Jennifer Lopez, she’s throw that curve, asking me whether I would do George Clooney or Brad Pitt.
To which my answer was always “uh, no, I can’t even begin to imagine it. I don’t walk on that side of the street. I just can’t go there.”
Which is all to say … I’m pretty close to saying I’d do Lyle Lovett.
OK. Maybe not. But the guy is just incredible.
This other thing happened this weekend, besides my love affair with Lyle.
We stayed at a bed and breakfast in Grass Valley. Unlike other B & B’s I’ve stayed at, this one had breakfast served at a specific time and the guests were expected to be at the table at that time if they wanted to eat. So, there were six of us at the table, with the couple who owned the B & B serving and hovering.
We never got to the point of asking each other what we did for a living. I always hate that question. “I’m an attorney,” I typically mumble if asked. “Oh, what kind of attorney are you?” I typically interpret this question as being directed at the idea of “what do you do in court?” Nothing! “Um, I work for the State.” And it just degenerates from there. Explaining what I do feels like such an impossibility sometimes.
I realized today why. It’s because, as I tell the Queen of the Castle when she complains that I don’t talk about my day, my job doesn’t define me. It’s what I do the rest of the time that defines me.
So, from now on, when somebody asks me what I do, I’m answering this way. “I’m a writer.”