Sunday, May 31, 2009

Finding Solace in Music

Now, this post is going to seem an obvious exploration to anyone who loves music, but, the older I get, the more surprised I am by the fact that I have not shed this teenage tendency. While I'm no longer inclined to run to my room, fling myself on my bed and crank up some Pat Benatar, there is a kernel of that urge in every impulse to be absorbed in something specific.

A few summers ago I spent several days in Paris. On one of our last days there, the group I was with went to Versailles. By that point in the trip, my brain was fried from a combination of jet lag, lack of sleep, grief, and an overwhelming influence of art. Walking through the vast indulgence that is Versailles, I felt incapable of processing any new information. I turned down the audio tour headset. Then I didn't feel like reading any of the signage located every couple of feet. Instead I dug out my iPod. David Byrne' 2001 release, Look Into the Eyeball, turned out to be what I needed. I floated through the rooms and felt comfortable just letting the art just wash over me in waves.

Likewise, my mom had hip-replacement surgery this past week. She did great and is recovering nicely, but I really do not like hospitals. The complication of surgery combined with an anxiety of not knowing and the tedium of waiting is an unsettling combination I find unlikely to master. On Sunday, we transported her to a rehabilitation facility, my dad driving her car, and me following behind in his vehicle. Anyone who knows my dad knows he has a nice car. Anyone who's ever riden in it knows it has an awesome sound system. Even though we were only traveling a few miles away, I came prepared, slipping Beck's Modern Guilt into my bag on the way out of my house. I got through about three songs on the way there, and finished off the rest on my way back to my parents' house. Like in Versailles, the instant the music I deliberately pooled into my ears, I felt better.

Released. Just like back in my bedroom, but in a totally new way.

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