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It’s hard to envision or even understand the consequences of the decisions you make. Bigger decisions may illuminate some of the consequences. But it’s the unintended consequences that people always miss.
Not all consequences are bad.
Some are good.
“How in the world did you ever get so interested in Jazz music?” My mom asked.
A few minutes earlier, my finger pushes the play button on my iPod. The piano tunes of Duke Ellington fill my car. The same car that scoots down the skinny streets of Long Beach.
My mom is in the passenger seat. Dad smiles out the back window as the Southern California sun bathes him in warm rays.
I turn the corner, heading towards the ocean. “Actually it’s your fault. You got me listening to jazz.”
Mom shakes her head, incredulous that she could do that. “I did no such thing!”
“Oh yes you did!” I mimic her speech. “Actually you had me listening to jazz before I could even crawl. At least five to eight times a year, we’d listen to it for at least a half hour. If not a full hour.”
“I most certainly did not!”
My poor mom.
Anyone who knows my mom also knows she’s a pretty religious person. Her beliefs are her beliefs. Nothing will change them.
I understand her disbelief. To her, jazz is the devil’s music. Jazz leads to sex. Sex is a tool of the devil. A tool I borrowed some time ago and forgot to return.
“Every Christmas, we listened to jazz.” I turn the wheel into the parking lot at the ocean. “Every Easter. Every 4th of July. Every Thanksgiving and Halloween. There was the spelling bee. And when the dog ran away from home.”
Mom shakes her head. “What are you talking about?”
“The Vince Guaraldi trio,” I turn off the car. Open the door and get out.
“I never heard of the Vince … Ghiradelli trio.” Mom walks beside me as we get on the walking path that parallels the ocean. Dad walks behind us.
“Peanuts,” I reply. “Every major holiday wouldn’t be complete without us sitting down and watching the corresponding Charlie Brown special that went with it. Every episode colored with the flighty jazz notes of Vince Guaraldi.”
“I had no idea.”
Thank goodness you didn’t.
I can see it now. Many moons before I was born, a Charlie Brown Christmas debuted on TV. My mom watches with my older brothers and sisters. Linus stands on stage, quoting the scriptures around the birth of Jesus Christ. My mom approves of this. Not knowing that the scene before and the scene after are smothered in jazz tunes.
Jazz tunes that my music loving ears tune into. That my heart now craves.
Those are the unintended consequences of a decision made years before I was born. But inspired a life-long love of Jazz.
On the way home, jazz once again fills the speakers.
“This is pretty good,” Mom taps her foot to the beat.
“Of course it is,” I reply. “This is Duke Ellington. Let me put on some Oscar Peterson.”
Dad pipes up from the back seat, “Oscar Peterson is pretty good.”
It appears Dad owes me a story on that.
Now I wonder … what the unintended consequences of this will be?