September Surrender: Day Twenty-Six
What I’m Letting Go
I haven’t really been listening to a lot of music lately. Even when I drove to New Hampshire, I listened to audio files of those two funny boys who once played video games together a decade ago. I’ve watched them a million times before, so I don’t need a visual in order to enjoy it. But it didn’t even occur to me to listen to any music on my drive. That’s mostly because I listen to the same forty-five songs over and over again.
I have a Spotify account, and two prominent playlists on it. One is a long thirty-five hour list (you know, like for road trips), and the other is one I call “THE songs.” The songs that either mean the most to me or hit my ear in just the right way. I’ll add and subtract from this list from time to time, but it’s always my priority when I get the urge to listen. Maybe one day, if anyone is interested, I’ll reveal the list. It’s pretty random and has all sorts of genres attached to it. But it’s essentially been the same thing for years. When I hear a good song, I can listen to it on repeat for hours if I so choose. I’m not sure if it’s because I get the feels or it just provides me some kind of comfort. But I’ve been this way all my life. My Sgt. Pepper’s CD insert was worn out by how much I’d repeat the album. Over and over, same old songs forever and ever. But for a long time, I never wanted people to think this is how I was doing my listening.
You could absolutely call me a poser in high school and college. I don’t think that’s entirely out of the norm to be that, as we’re still in our younger stages and have yet to figure out who were were. In college, there was a program any Northwestern Wildcat on campus could logon to where you could see music other individual students would share to the server, and with the touch of a button you could download it. I figured I’d grab all the music I possibly could, not because I wanted to listen, but because I wanted everyone else to see what an eclectic taste in music I had. It was in my library, of course I’d be listening, right? I barely even touched any of them. It was a lot of obscure bands too, but I thought if people saw I was in possession of these songs, they’d think I was cool. It kind of worked, as I remember this one older guy and I bonded over a band that I ultimately didn’t like, I just pretended I did so he’d still talk to me. It’s stupid in retrospect, but at the time I was striking any old tuning fork to try and figure out what I was all about.
Music is certainly something that we bond over. It can bring us all together, especially when it’s something that piques familiarity. And that point is really driven home when it’s a song created out of emotional depths rather something churned out for profit. So is it a ‘bad’ thing that I don’t expand my musical library? That I’m content with letting the same old record spin round and round? I’m not so sure anymore.
There will always be bands I love and songs I treasure. Maybe I just don’t “need” music like I think I do. I admire those who create, and those who find purpose thanks to what flows into their ears and hearts. That’s just not me. It may have never been me. I don’t need to front with my Nirvana tee-shirt from Hot Topic when I was never that big into them to begin with. My tastes never change, I just go through phases. I need to stop feeling like a big life event needs to happen in order for me to finally change the record. All that happens whether I’m ready for it or not. So may as well keep dancing till the music runs out.
What I’ve Discovered
Sometimes I walk around this city and just feel sad for all those walking by. Everyone everywhere looks so defeated. It’s like a bunch of zombies walking around. Nostradamus might have been a year off in his predictions of the zombie apocalypse, because it’s certainly here in 2022. I just wonder if people are happy, and that seems an impossible task, especially when hidden behind a mask.
It just hurts my heart to still see so many going along with all the nonsense they shoveled down our throats for two years. New York City is still getting the brunt of it it looks like. I just think I’m tuned into a different frequency than most in this city. I got ‘reprimanded’ not once but twice within my own apartment building. They were forcing mask-wearing within the halls and I just refused to do it. Two people told me I need to wear one, one old lady in June 2020 even threatening to file “a formal complaint” about me.
“So file one,” I said. And guess what? Absolutely nothing came of it. They had a sign at the front door and in the elevator that I kept taking down and putting in stupid places. The signs then changed to “Unvaccinated guests must wear a mask,” which I also took down. Then one day the sign fell on its own accord, I hid it underneath the carpet, and that was the end of it. I struck my own note and played my own tune in the face of an unjust rule that had no bearing on ‘public health,’ especially when there’s no virus in my body to give.
New York City is still keeping this same old song going, pretending like they’re so concerned with health as human beings shoot up and take literal shits in the street. It’s a joke and it’s been a joke. I understand taking precautions when no one knew anything about what was going on, but we’re not there anymore, and we certainly weren’t there when De Blasio decreed only vaccinated people deserved to partake in all the amenities the city has to offer. There’s still a mandate for the public sector workforce for chrissake. It’s a tune I never ever wanted to follow. Like I said, I’m on a different frequency. And I realize it’s impossible for me to think other people will just tune in to exactly my same wavelength.
I think it’s possible, as this story I’ve been dabbling with tells the tale of two people finally getting to know one another on a much deeper level, but I’m just not holding my breath for the rest of society. This pandemic that was unleashed upon us did a huge number on the American psyche. And I refuse to keep letting it. I’ll pray for these healthy people still masking up, hoping they can find another song to sing about where they are in their lives. People as a whole do not deserve to be scared into submission by an uncaring and unfeeling government. My time for tolerance is coming to an end. Change the record already. Or at least give a new song a try. Just once.
What I Hope to Find
In college we were required to do ‘weights’ two times a week. My whole fencing team would have to be at Ryan Field at 7:30AM, do some sprints and agility work, then head into the weight room for weight training. It was a fruitless effort for us to work muscles like that, considering fencing is all about how quick you are rather than how hard you can hit. Either way, we shared our time with the football team. They’d be on the machines by the time we got in there, so they always got priority over what music was playing. For some reason, they played the exact same CD every single day. It was a mix of a bunch of crap that was all just annoying and weird. But I guess it pumped them up and got them ready to get swole.
I’ll never forget one of the songs that was constantly playing on repeat: “Before I Forget” by Slayer. It’d come on and all the girls on my team would just groan and roll our eyes. We begged our trainer to let us play a CD one morning but the football boys always got priority. I didn’t know what I wanted to hear that early in the morning, all I knew was I was sick of that damn angry speedmetal song.
And then something happened. One day we all kind of started singing it. We were so used to it that it became a staple of our early morning workouts. One of my teammates would even say, “Yes, my favorite song!” every time it came on, and she meant it. I just listened to it again as I was writing this entry, and damned if I don’t think it’s a good song. It’s just not one I’m going to add to THE songs, but I can still appreciate it for what it is: talent, ability, and a passion to create.
I hope I can continue to find ways to roll with what doesn’t always hit my ears right. Because I can’t control every situation I’m in. It’s not just about music. I hear more and more opinions these days that make me want to blow my top or leave me feeling angry. In the last twenty-four hours, two different people on Twitter made reference that I need ‘medication’ after reading one of my replies. It made me so furious to see, but I can’t let it affect my day. They’re marching to the beat of a different drummer, just as I am. And as long as we stop following the Pied Piper of Degeneracy, I think we’ll all be okay once the dust settles and the Concert of Madness comes to a close.
And talk about music bringing people together, one time “The Reason” by Hoobastank started playing in the weight room, and all us athletes stopped what we were doing and started singing together. I guess people can get on the same frequency more than I think.