I step outside for a few minutes and come back in to hear anomalous strains of music, something I haven't heard in a while. I discover that my 4-year-old daughter has dug out a toy from Christmas that she hasn't so far touched: a little kid's karaoke box, which also serves just fine as a tape player. She has managed to find my old tape of The Caution Horses by Cowboy Junkies. There she is, sitting still and staring at nothing, the player in her lap. "Dad, is this a sad song?" she says. "Does it sound sad?" I answer. "Yeah," she says, and returns to silence.
I never could listen to this tape too often. I had to be in a special mood of lonely, contented resignation, something I haven't felt in a long time. It was good on slow afternoons, when there was nothing to be done but drink some Jack Daniels and listen to music. Or possibly go to sleep, because the music on this tape is so lethargic.