It's only a matter of moments before I sense that she's become utterly bored with the way the discussion is going, and her attention and interest dissipate about as quickly as good will in the halls of Congress. It's evident in her slow exhale, a sigh so specific I know that she's going to slam me later for shutting her out of the discourse. I see her staring out into space, mentally counting down the encounter until when the visit will be over and she'll back in the comfy confines of our coach watching some chick flick on the O Network.
It's certainly uncomfortable for me, because being a guy, I recognize the repercussions of ignoring one's spouse. So that's why it's always a relief when the artist we're rendezvousing with has a girlfriend or wife, someone who can divert their attention to Alisa and talk in that language known only to women, mostly centering on hair products, handbags or shoes.
Hey, I know what you're thinking - I'm a friggin' chauvinist pig. But trust me - I know no better. And guys, isn't that always our best excuse for any transgressions of the politically incorrect nature?
Fortunately, we know enough husband-wife duos to ensure that both involved of us can be involved in the conversation.
We consider Rebecca Hall and Ken Anderson, the husband-wife team that dub themselves Hungrytown, to be mutual friends - at least in terms of the fact that we've had three occasions to meet up when they've ventured down to South Florida from their home base in Vermont.
While music is certainly a bond we share between us, when we met up them recently at a local Thai restaurant, it was all about reconnecting and catching up after a prolonged absence. Of course, a discussion about their excellent new album, Any Forgotten Thing, and a March 23 gig at Luna Star Café in North Miami was all but inevitable, but Alisa also felt like she was included, a revelation that certainly had me feeling relieved to no end.
Likewise, we've expanded our circle of musical friends to include a few other out of town artists who we've had occasion to visit on some of our recent vacations. When we were in New York last fall, we hooked up with pop purveyor Richard X Heyman and his bass playing wife Nancy, with whom we dined and spent some time with in their Greenwich Village apartment.
It was hard for me to hold back my enthusiasm, being that I'm a fierce fan of his music, but Alisa took to them both, and the Heymans' down to earth demeanor and Nancy's additional talents as a visual artist cut through artificial barrier won her over right away. Such a sweet couple, we both agreed. Alisa was so taken with them that she eagerly picked up the dinner tab, a gesture that was well received and graciously given.
On our annual visit to our second home in eastern Tennessee, we make it a point to rendezvous with Tim and Susan Lee, a rock 'n' roll couple who reside nearby in Knoxville. The two make up two thirds of their band, the Tim Lee 3, but I first became aware of Tim when he was in the superb retro rock outfit that called themselves the Windbreakers.
When Tim learned through some mutual friends that we had bought a house o[ there and were planning an imminent visit, he displayed some typical southern hospitality by asking if we could get together. We did, and have subsequently seen them several times since, convening for a few meals and once catching a show at the opening of a local barbecue joint in our adopted future home town of Maryville.
Tim's an exceptional and highly respected guitarist, but he's also a warm and engaging individual who literally makes us feel right at home. Likewise Susan is a real rock 'n' roller, sporting her leather fringe jacket and blonde streaked hair. Image-wise, she and Alisa, a life-long school teacher, couldn't be more different, but the two girls get on famously, and double dating tops the agenda whenever we're in the vicinity.
A few years ago we also had the occasion to have dinner with Walter Salas Humara, a South Florida hone boy who fronts the Americana outfit, the Silos. He was residing in New York at the tie, but his then wife maintained a real estate business in Miami, which brought them down on a fairly regular basis.
At dinner, we were laughing and joking, although being that Walter was a soft-talker - forcing one to lean in, in order to hear - sometimes made conversing a bit difficult for both Alisa and I as we can both be a bit hard of hearing. (She was at Woodstock after all, and later worked at the Fillmore in New York. As far as I'm concerned, I can only blame my life-long addiction to loud music.) Nevertheless, a good time was had by all.
Walter has separated from his wife since then. I can only hope that when we have occasion to meet the next time, he's got a substitute spouse to introduce to Alisa.