They Might Be Giants

We watched Gigantic last night, the documentary about They Might Be Giants. A pretty good documentary, though really they had such good material to work with it’s hard to say. You forget how genius these guys are. And we didn’t have MTV growing up, so I’d never actually seen the videos of songs like Birdhouse in Your Soul or Don’t Lets Start. Way fun.

It brought me back to the week I fell in love with my husband. I was working at Miller Freeman and had just come back from a whole month off in India, during which time I thought about Chris quite a bit. We were both relatively recently single, and had been flirting for years. My first day back at work my boss informed me I was to go (have to go) to Cannes for a conference (Milia, the old multimedia event – remember multimedia?) I mentioned this to Chris and he decided to join me. I will spare you the details of the first couple of days, but suffice to say he met me in the airport with a more than friendly kiss. When the conference was over, my colleague Cindy and I were assigned to go to Monte Carlo (more hardship work, yes, those were the days) and meet with the Monaco office of Miller Freeman to discuss partnerships, and we decided as long as we were going to do that we should rent a car and drive around the south of France for the following weekend as well. It was kind of absurd, being in the midst of all this luxury, sublime food, gorgeous views, everything postcard perfect and sensual, and being freshly madly in love on top of it. I thought most of the time my head was going to explode, or pure crack was going to start flowing out of my pores, or I was simply going to fall over dead from an excess of joy.

So we leave Monaco, Cindy driving. Of course, the largest car you can rent in Europe is about half the size of the smallest car you can rent in the States, so the three of us and our luggage in this way-smaller-than-a-Mini were like a clown act. The drive to Vence is on tiny mountainous roads with curvy switchbacks, and I get very carsick very easily, so Chris volunteers to cram his six foot frame into the glove compartment that serves as a backseat. I proceed to get queasy anyway, especially with Cindy’s erratic driving, and Chris decides he will distract me from my discomfort by singing every TMBG song he knows. I was a TMBG fan, but nothing like Chris. There’s that whole end of I think it’s Apollo 18 where there are like 20 songs each of them just a few seconds long and I think he knew all of them. He also knew the real lyrics, whereas I, since I can never understand what anyone’s saying in any song, had pretty much made up my own words to most of them. So he sat behind me in this tiny car driving over this crazy mountain in the south of France singing me basically the entire TMBG oeuvre and put me in this state of absolute hysteria. I could not stop laughing, even though I was almost sure to throw up any minute. And every time I thought he would stop he would come up with another one. I could have barfed my guts out multiple times and still not have been more delighted with the world than I was during that drive to Vence.

Incidentally, that night, at the wine bar in Vence town square, is when we named Clementine. This was January 2000, and yes, we had just started dating, so we were way ahead of ourselves. And there is still much debate about whether I agreed to the name that night (Cindy claims she was too drunk to remember which way it went), but it is true that Chris proposed the name for our child that night. Good thing she was a girl; his boy name was Merriweather.

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