Denise is a) a coworker who is both b) hot, and c) married. I would add d) is licensed for concealed carry (as a consequence of her job), if my sense of ethics hadn’t already stopped at a) (principle of don’t shit where you eat) and c) (principle of never rub another man’s rhubarb), but, whatever. It’s still fun to flirt now and then.

A week or two ago I had been working on her computer and spotted a Luna CD on top of her stack (that sounds dirty but you know what I meant). The Bestest Radio Station In The World, KEXP, had been playing Luna that day, and I vaguely recalled that they had had a show at the Aladdin Theater recently. I asked her about it, we got to talking about music, and she offered to let me borrow it. She said it was mellow but good. I’m OK with mellow sometimes.

I dropped it off again after the weekend, having ripped it. We chatted some more about music, and she told me about missing the Luna show recently, but reminisced about past bands she’d liked. Because I was also wearing my shirt from the Shamrock Run, I found out she’s a runner, too. We laughed about the butt rockers at the race.

It was cool to share music, and I know I’ve got some eclectic, indie-pop tastes. I figured I’d share some of my music with her, try to figure out from what she listens to what else she’d like. I didn’t want to be a taker; I wanted to be a giver, too. Well, and I wanted to show how cool I was by my musical tastes…

Today, she grabbed me and asked me to stop by. Some question about something or other. Then she apologized for not bringing in another Luna CD. I told her that was OK, and then we started talking about music again. She told me that if I liked Luna, I’d like Catherine Wheel (warning! Flash site with music on main page!), too. She dove into her stack of CDs and handed me one. Looked interesting. Naked people on the cover is a good sign.

I was digging in my brain, trying to think of some odd or unusual music that I had. I took a guess: “Hey, do you like Radiohead?”

Silly me. All girls of a certain age like Radiohead. And if they don’t, well, then I’m not interested. But about Denise, I needn’t have worried.

She literally gasped and clutched her chest (interesting reaction, that) and laughed. “Are you kidding me? They’re my top favorite band! Well…” she stopped to consider, did a mental check, “…definitely in the top three.”

I started to tell her I had some imports that were kind of rare in the US, when she twisted and tore through her stack of CDs again. She pulled out a jewel case with homemade, plain black text on white paper, homemade labels.

The cover read:

Radiohead
06.23.01
The Gorge
George, Washington

A bootleg.

I was topped again. Sure, I had some bootleg Radiohead, from Coachella last year. Also Pixies and Beck from that same festival. But, dammit, it would be a “me, too” moment. Curse you, Denise, I silently cursed in her general direction, you win again. I shook my tiny mental fist at her, even as I exulted in obtaining even more esoteric Radiohead recordings. I now yearned to rush home, rip the CD and listen to it several times over. The plain white label screamed at me; the jewel case burned in my hands. I turned it over in my hands and read the set list. Only one song on there that I hadn’t heard before but of course I would listen to it over and over again anyway.

Meanwhile, Denise was telling me the story of her and her then-boyfriend borrowing someone’s VW van to drive up to George, Washington to see this very concert. Blah, blah, the van broke down, yadda, yadda, he had to go off to get some parts to fix it, whatever, yeah, yeah. The only funny part is how, when telling me that her boyfriend figured that they’d never make the concert in time and suggested that they bag it and go home, Denise’s eyes burned when re-creating the intensity with which she had told her boyfriend in terms that implied no uncertainty, that, yes, in fact, they were going to get to that concert and they would be on time. I laughed at her silly then-boyfriend, for even bringing that up. I groked. Oh, yeah. I groked.

I love new music. I also ripped the Catherine Wheel CD she gave me, and on my lunch break, earlier, I had picked up LCD Soundsystem and The Wedding Present’s newest. But I already know the Radiohead bootleg is going to be in constant rotation for at least two days.