I guess before reading this post I will warn you it is random and sort of out of left field…it is not that this will surprise those of you who know me, but I felt the need to admit that this post is a rant as much as a parcel of mind-blowing, life changing information.
Recently, I spent just under 15 hours in my work truck alone and bitter. At my job I deliver medical supplies also called DME. This particular day I was on call and we were short 2 other employees thus I was working overtime. Already I was tired from work and stressed for various reasons. Full disclosure prevents me from ignoring the fact that I am lazy at heart, don’t care for my job, and feel every moment I spend working for someone else is a waste.
I found myself in a less than happy mood. Normally while working I try to have an audio book loaded on my ipod to help fill the emptiness in the truck, but to my horror the current book I was listening to ended well before lunchtime. (for those wondering what book it was: “Horns” by Joe Hill and it is highly recommended)
On my ipod I have roughly 5,000 songs, and I love music, but sometimes it is good to hear someones voice talking rather than singing. Also, there are many bands and songs I enjoy, but wouldn’t want to hear every day or every couple of days. Even the best band in the world (Faith No More) does not get played by me every day. But, I had little choice because I also am not a big fan of today’s brand of dismal am/fm radio. In order to keep this document under 100,000 words I won’t get into the reasons and thoughts on my radio preferences, but I am sure you educated folk born with a modicum of common sense agree on many points.
So, you ask, how did the ipod save my life and stop the war as my tantalizing title suggests?
Grumpy, helpless, and cold I turned my ipod on shuffle. Normally there is a certain mood I am in, and I will play a playlist that reflects that mood: rock, mellow, hip-hop, funky, comedy, classical/soundtrack, or maybe just the playlist that contains music made by my wife, my friends, or me. Since I was so angry and tired I wasn’t sure what could possibly be the right tune for the moment. Pressing play on the 5,000 songs I wasn’t hopeful that the ipod had what it took to help me regain my sanity.
After a half-hour though I knew my ipod had my back as it picked out tune after tune that instantly felt perfect for the moment. I could probably promote 50 bands and albums that I like, but this isn’t the forum or purpose of this post. Surly I can admit I heard some rock tunes from Helmet, some world music from Pink Martini, and some of the most original hip hop from Finless Brown, but the songs aren’t the story here necessarily. The story, as I see it, was in the way the songs morphed together into one long song. How they all stood out individually while simultaneously serving the greater good and sounding seamless with each other.
I ask, “How can a man stay tired, mad, and uncaring during such a perfect moment of clarity?”
Personal experience tells me that man cannot remain ignorant to the power wielded by the music. Not only can he remain unaffected, but he can become inspired, renewed, and rejoice in its glory as well. And I did rejoice fellow readers. My steering wheel became a monstrous drum kit, my lungs filled with air previously exhaled by Robert Plant, and the world outside the windshield darkened into 1,000 screaming fans at the world famous Cleveland Agora.
As the hours passed however, I became increasingly worried because I knew at any moment the magic could be swept away by one simple misstep by my ipod. What if it followed the intricate beauty of Russian Circles with a clunky lo-fi cover of an old Sesame Street song (Did I mention my ipod is really random?) Each song became an unbelievable challenge, and after listening to over 100 songs I found myself pulling down my street as one of my favorite songs of all time came to a close.
I pulled up to a stop sign just two doors down from my house and wondered if i should stop the ipod right then and there and leave the streak as perfect as could be. Could I push it one more song? Even if it was good I would only hear 20 seconds of it as I made my way home. Wouldn’t that be disappointing in its own way?
Tired, drained in fact, I decided to let it ride, and waited for a sign to confirm the streak was purposeful and not just a random event. I needed some sort of proof that I had been given the magical musical tour to aid me in my long lonely journey. Once again, my ipod, came through and capped the incredible day by picking out the shortest song I have out of the whole 5,000 tunes. It was “Minimum Wage” by They Might Be Giants.
Curious at how long the streak could go, I considered pulling passed my driveway and continuing on the open road. I began a vow that as long as the music was there for me I would be there for it. Still with over 4,850 songs left to explore there was no telling how far I could go, and what adventures I could take on.
Instead, I turned into the driveway, lured by the silhouette of my wife in the kitchen window, and turned the truck off just as the last key-note rung out on the song. For those who observed me through my truck windows performing to a crowd of none on that fateful day, thank you and you’re welcome.