For the past two weeks, we’ve been trying to spruce up our house for a possible refi, which requires an appraisal. I’ve already cleared away a good amount of clutter, but I got a bug up my butt about painting the kitchen and bathroom, as if a new color will suddenly make our home worth another 50 grand.
I’m a fairly organized person and I have all the painting supplies stored in a bin in the garage, then subdivided by brushes, tape, plastic sheets, sandpaper, patching supplies, etc. It’s a Virgo thing. I figured that all I’d need to buy is paint, so it would be a cheap and easy fix.
Yet somehow every single day – sometimes as many as three times a day – I’ve made another trip to Home Depot to pick up something.
It’s kind of a pain in the bucket. The store is only about six miles away, but when I’m literally up to my elbows in wet paint and teetering on the upper ledge of a stepladder, the last thing I want to do is stop and buy another gallon of semigloss Breakwater White Behr paint. Like trying to get blood from a turnip, I will squeeze every last drop from a bone-dry paint can before I say uncle.
I pull off my latex gloves, make sure I don’t track wet paint across the floor, and hop in my minivan. I head for the big orange sign, make a right turn into the parking lot and give an apologetic wave to the dozen day laborers who are hoping for a cash transaction, steer my over-sized shopping cart into the warehouse, and suddenly I am at peace with the world.
The Home Depot Muzak.
Their satellite radio is tuned to a retro ‘70’s station – some disco, some Nixon and Carter-era rock – but it always blares a tune that urges me to sing along.
On Monday I needed more plastic covers and blue masking tape and was greeted by Stevie Wonder’s Superstition and Elton John’s Bennie and the Jets.
On Tuesday I bought some patching compound and heard REO Speedwagon’s Roll with the Changes and the Bee Gee’s Jive Talkin’.
On Wednesday my daughter Mary told me that the Hibiscus Petal I picked out as a bathroom accent color instead looked more like a wall of cotton candy, so I returned to Home Deport for a quart of Raspberry Lemonade (the color, not the drink). Home Depot’s radio played Kiss’s Rock & Roll All Nite, and 1973’s The Ballroom Blitz, which I haven’t heard in decades.
On Thursday I decided to buy a better straight edge and was treated to Bachman-Turner Overdrive’s You Ain’t Seen Nothin’ Yet and The Steve Miller Band’s Jet Airliner.
On Friday I needed more primer and heard Gloria Gaynor’s megahit I Will Survive and Chicago’s 25 or 6 to 4.
Some of you may be familiar with the children’s book The Very Hungry Caterpillar, in which the future butterfly eats something different every day:
On Monday he ate through one apple, but he was still hungry.
On Tuesday he ate through two pears, but he was still hungry.
On Wednesday he ate through three plums, but he was still hungry…
You get the picture. I felt like the Very Hungry Caterpillar eating up all that music. I dumped my satellite radio about a year ago and traded it for the free Pandora, but I would pay to get it back just to hear this great nostalgic music while I was working on the house. I never minded waiting in The Home Depot checkout line because I was happy killing time singing along with KC and the Sunshine Band or humming to The Hustle.
I asked the manager the name of the radio station, but he didn’t know. However he told me that the same station is not only played for callers who are put on hold, it is the same music that airs in every single Home Depot across the nation.
So whether you’re buying a faucet in Florida or lumber in Louisiana or a plant in Pennsylvania, everyone hears the music that I grew up listening to.
This made me wonder about Home Depot’s listening audience. I’ve noticed that there’s a huge demographic of contractors, home fixer-uppers or employees who like me who are around 50 years old. And if we have the chance to click our heels three times and say there’s no place like Home Depot, we can be instantly transported to a time and place where the songs were memorable and the gas was only 68 cents a gallon.
So I figured if my sound editing gig ever dried up, it wouldn’t be so bad to apply for a job at The Home Depot where I could direct customers to hinges, switch plates, and PVC pipe and spend all day listening to great bands like Foreigner, Queen, Boston, The Eagles, Fleetwood Mac, Doobie Brothers, Styx… the list is as long as those odd/even gas lines that appeared the day I got my driver’s license.
In the meantime, if I’m feeling nostalgic for Kung Fu Fighting or anything from Saturday Night Fever, I can always call The Home Depot and ask to be placed on hold.