Tuesday, August 24, 2010


I often wonder what life would be like if we didn't have iPods, especially for subway commutes. It's really a therapist if you think about it. Well, for me it is. It sets my mood-or helps me to continue in the state of mind that I find myself. You can encapsulate yourself in a world that no one else will know about (well, except for you folks that don't understand the concept of the headphone and listen to it at decibels that would make Roger Daltry cry).

When people make me angry, because they have bad breath, are encroaching on my space or snapping away at their gum, I can relieve stress by scrolling to one of the following: Metallica, Anthrax or Pantera. Anger no longer pours out of my eyes at the person who has, unbeknownst to them, crossed my wires. The drums, the heavy bass, the lead singer yell for me.

But then there are the rides home, when you settle on shuffle and start nodding off to Robert Plant and get startled awake by the chorus from Hair (hey, it is my iPod we're talking about here). Or the times where nothing seems to suit your mood and Christmas music seems to filter the conversations out. There is nothing like clicking on Do They Know It's Christmas? on a 95 degree day.

Everyone has one it seems on the subway and I think it is kind of a good thing. It's the Linus blanket, the hot chocolate chip cookie, the voice at the other end of the phone letting you know everything is going to be ok. No matter what you listen to, it puts you in your place of zen, contemplation,  complacency or restraint. You wonder what others may be listening to. What time traveling they may be doing.

No one can deny the guilty pleasure of putting on an 80's  tune and getting away with it. Taking the express back to 6th grade via the B-52's can prove rewarding even to your seat mates, creating wonder in them when a smile spreads across your face for no reason. I often wonder if anyone can see that I am listening to Selena, Trixter or Terence Trent D'Arby sometimes. And if they do see it, I wonder what they are thinking.

Or playing a song from a concert you remember. It takes you back to screaming at the top of your lungs for New Kids, Clapton or Pearl Jam, it doesn't matter who, it takes you back to that place. You felt the mud or the sticky stadium floor, almost smelled the smoke and got lost in the fact that the subway almost feels like the crowd moving you around.

This morning, for me its Dire Straits (thanks Z for the recommendation). Mellow, smooth, contemplative. It's a thinking man's band. I like them and it has successfully gotten me through a train commute that was supposed to leave at 0641 and didn't until 0654. It doesn't seem like much of a delay, but you can squeeze in a few extra tunes (only one if you are listening to the Dead, Phish, Dave Matthews or old Metallica).

Upon the end of the song, I can only hear the scraping of metal against the rail. Everyone is in their own world listening to songs that transport them, soothe them and excite them. The train car is silent. No talking, maybe a turning of a newspaper page every now and then. Nope, I couldn't imagine this commute without my music.

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