Nearly every band I like would agree that music is a universal unifier. So when Jamie logged on to the video chat he caught me putting away my guitar, and away we went down one of my favorite paths – music.
Although we came of age in two completely important era’s of music – he during the early 90’s alternative explosion that lead to the modern sound today and me the early 80’s punk that paved the way – we were both music snobs having an identity crisis. “I don’t know what I like anymore.” Seems like a great problem to have for two extroverts like us.
Jamie and his wife, who everyone calls Lemon, love to travel. It’s something that started relatively late in his life. His first overseas trip was to Croatia, where Jamie was blown away by what he saw, and the food he ate. Again, for an extrovert like Jamie the world is a playground where everyone has the potential to be your next dear friend.
It was no surprise that we were introduced by a mutual friend who we both admired for his intelligence and great taste in music. We both meet him on a playground of sorts. For Jamie, it was while playing bocci ball; a passion he and his wife share. For me, the playground was the many concert venues I would frequent. While Bob never taught me anything about bocci, he has certainly turned Jamie and I on to some amazing and very obscure music.
Jamie loved music from an early age. He looked up to an older cousin who was in a band and lucked out when he had a college roommate who was a drummer. But it was his friend Jim who’d have the biggest influence on him as an adult. “Jim played jazz at night, and worked for Yahoo in the day.” I think Jamie would agree, meeting cool people is of the perks of being an extrovert who loves to meet people.
But music and talking to strangers isn’t the only thing we had in common. For both of us quarantining through the pandemic has been difficult. But we both found partners we love enough to share the same space with every day. “Since I’ve been married I no longer have FOMO (fear of missing out).
He is a self-professed “indoor guy” who hails from Rochester, NY but lives in my old stomping grounds of the Dupont Circle neighborhood in Washington DC. He is not a swimmer like I am, but “a sinker” as in he can’t float on water. Which is why he has never sailed a boat before. He’s also never shot a crossbow.
Still, he likes the Simpsons (or at least the first 8 seasons). And when asked his favorite Muppet is Beaker, not because he’s anything like the shy, long-suffering laboratory assistant, but because Jamie actually looks like this character; thin, bright red hair, and the constant surprised and shocked look on his expressive face.
I wanted to flip the record over and hear the other side, but Jamie had to go. This was probably the quickest hour I’ve had in a long time. I think Jamie would agree. “It feels like we’re hanging out having a beer.”
As I was learning all sorts of cool things about Jamie, he was also learning something about me. Something that when he told me, it made me stop and think about myself. “I bet people talk to you a lot. You’re non-judgmental and easy to speak to.” I didn’t need the validation, but it was nice to hear someone point out something about me that I always feel like I struggle with.
Apparently, music isn’t the only universal unifier. Kindness, and the willingness to show it, does a pretty good job at bringing people together.