A Day in the Life
I began the day by putting the finishing touches to my essay “A Triple Aspect Theory”, on a subject I have been thinking about for over fifty years and still find inexhaustibly interesting. This was the usual intense intellectual effort in which the mind seems both to be struggling with its own limitations and soaring serenely over the landscape. I then posted the essay on my blog and sent it to my usual correspondents (Tom Nagel, Noam Chomsky, Steve Pinker, Rebecca Goldstein, Marie McGinn, Teddy St Aubyn, and my brother Keith). It was a perfectly satisfactory philosophical morning, if nothing out of the ordinary.
Then at noon I went to play tennis with my regular partner Eddie, having just played with him yesterday. It was the usual focused, intense, ballistic, brutal, and exhilarating hour and a half. I was using my new Wilson Clash racquet, which is both maneuverable and powerful, and I wanted to work on changing the direction of the ball. I have been practicing this against the wall for a while (over at the Biltmore club), particularly the down the line backhand drive. It’s not an easy shot to pull off but a very useful and satisfying one. I had the customary battle against Eddie, who is a fine player and never lets up (also a keen kite boarder). It was an all-out mental and physical effort.
I had an hour’s break before going to my voice lesson at 4pm with Nicole. Nicole and I have formed a group called the Duetones (she has been teaching me to sing for a year). We began by singing a new song “When Will I be Loved?” by Linda Ronstadt (written by Phil Everly), sung over the original record. Then we turned to “You Really Got a Hold on Me” by the Beatles (originally by the Miracles and written by Smokey Robinson). But then we did something different: we sang both songs without musical accompaniment. Now Nicole is a marvelous singer (me not so much) and I was fascinated to hear what we would sound like together singing a cappella. The Duetones have a philosophy, a mission even: we seek to unite opposites. She young, me old; she female, me male; she classical, me more rock and blues. I was hoping for what I was pleased to call the “magic sound”—what happens when two voices blend together perfectly (think Lennon and McCartney). And I believe it happened, especially with “Love Me Tender”, “Love Hurts”, “Funky Town” and “Give It Up” (by K.C. and the Sunshine Band). Again, this was an hour of intense effort, but deeply satisfying. There is nothing quite like singing together with another person, especially when it works. I recorded the lesson. When I got home I listened to the whole thing and relived the experience (not without the odd wince at myself). The Duetones are here, I thought.
That was a day worth living, it seemed to me. It makes you think what an amazing thing the human organism is, or can be. It also represented human cooperation at its finest. I felt it was worth memorializing here. I will refrain from analyzing it further, being content just to record the basic facts.