My Divorce Goes to Eleven

Or, why I’d rather be your bandmate than your wife

When I got your name in the Borders employee gift exchange, I knew you’d appreciate a thrift-store shirt and some salt-and-pepper shakers. When you asked me to the Bob Dylan show on Valentine’s Day just a few weeks later, and offered to drive even though your car didn’t have heat, I knew it might be something.

I bought a bass with my September paycheck and played that Halloween show just a month later, dressed as Roller Girl. We were in a band. was in a band. I was playing bass in a band!

And you were, well, ok.

We spent Saturday mornings making fliers with my bootlegged copy of Pagemaker and Saturday afternoons walking around the city, staple gun and Scotch tape in hand. I spent evenings after work designing album covers, buttons, and tee-shirts.

We got married because I think we thought we had to. It seemed like the next step in growing up, like going with mom to Penney’s to buy a bra.

But afternoons at guitar stores do not a marriage make. A trip to Memphis for analog mastering isn’t a honeymoon. Releasing a 7″ isn’t a recipe for happiness. And reverb doesn’t say I love you.

You were cool about the divorce thing. We cried, of course. But you understood when I told you that I needed someone who would dance with me. Not onstage jumping up on the last note, not behind me at a packed GBV show, but really dance. Like at a wedding or a reunion when you’re going to look like an ass and that’s the point.

You’d always sit there.

I’m glad we’re still in a band. I love it, actually. I love lugging my amp up onstage, I love my blue P-bass, and I love the songs we play. It’s part of who I’ve been, and who I want to continue to be. I’m glad it’s who I can still be without you.

See ya at the show.

 

Visit the hi-frequencies website.

Cover photo: The hi-frequencies at the Mattress Factory, December 2000. L-R: Kate D., Bill M. Photo by Melissa S.

This essay was originally posted on Medium on September 12, 2013, and has been backdated accordingly.