I Was Thinking About Something Else

That pretty much sums up my life nowadays. I will be doing something, walking into a room or driving, and I will go askew. Someone will inevitably ask at that same moment, "What are you doing?". Which will confuse me and I can only respond, "Yeah, well...I was thinking about something else".

(formerly A Connecticut Yankee)

Location: Connecticut, United States

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Friday, April 09, 2004

The Songs on the Radio

About a week ago I did a post that incorporated a short quiz consisting of twelve questions having to with what songs inspire you, get you to dance, etc. And there was one question in particular: Name a song that ignites a specific memory. I thought, how could limit yourself like that. Just driving along the road and listening to the radio you’ll hear song after song that reminds you of people, places and things you’ve come to know over the course of a lifetime.

Also, for me, the radio itself plays a huge part for me in terms of memory. I love hearing those songs that evoke special memories when there played on the radio especially because then it feels like a shared experience with anyone else that’s listening at the same time. Even though I don’t know who else is listening, to me it’s cool that they might be thinking about some fond memory as well, and reliving the enjoyment of a particular moment in time in which that song played a part.

I had an experience that I refer to as my music video moment. About 3 or 4 years ago on a sunny summer day around noontime I was driving in a suburban neighborhood in Connecticut heading towards the beach of Long Island Sound when I came to a four-way intersection. A car approached from the opposite direction and we came to stop at the same time. A young woman was driving. I made her out to be probably 25-30 years old and she was crying. Both hands on the wheel and she was crying. Not sobbing, but obviously upset about something. The song that had been, and was now playing on the radio while we were at our respective stop signs was Bruce Hornsby’s “The way it is”. The moment to me was profound. Here was this person in pain. I didn’t know her. I was never going to know what happened in her life to bring her to this point. We would in a moment part ways, she would go on, and I would be left with this memory of a sunny day where I saw sadness, and a song telling me at the right moment that’s the way it is, you’re never gonna know about everything going on around you, and life goes on. I think of it as a video moment because with the song playing in the background on the radio, this wordless little scenario played out just like a music video.

I’m looking at what I’ve written so far and I see that I haven’t touched on songs you associate with specific points in time. I got a butt load of them. I was in Korea for the first six months of my son’s life. I was then transferred from Korea to Spokane, WA, so I had to bundle up my wife and brand new six-month-old boy and drive from Boston, where they were, to Spokane. At a gas station in Wyoming at early evening, Mike and the Mechanics “The Living Years” came on the radio for the first time that I heard. My dad had passed on in the late ‘70’s so he would never know his grandkids, but I got this feeling that, like in the song, there were things that my dad did that were now passing through me and onto my son. It was a cool feeling.

The songs associated with sadness are the toughest. One of my cousin’s had a beautiful full of life young teenage daughter that was taken from us in a swimming accident and at the funeral was played Rod Stewart’s “Forever Young”. Now this is all that song will ever mean to me. I have to mention here that when my wife and I drove from the gathering after the funeral to our house, as it was a hot day we saw some of the neighbor kids ranging in age from 3-4 years old out on a front lawn running buck-naked, arms flailing, laughing and screaming, through the water sprinkler. It was a moment we needed.

The contrast between those two events was amazing, but like the song said, it’s the way it is.


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