Tuesday, August 15, 2006

My Musical Space/Time Continuum

After a relaxing coffee date with Hubster, we were driving home with the windows down in the cooler weather we've enjoyed of late. Coldplay's "X & Y" came up, and I was thinking about it will always remind me of exercising in the gym in the old apartment complex as that music. I always made myself work harder for the duration of "White Shadows," even if my quads were already killing me.

Then I thought of the Red Hot Chili Pepper's Calfornication album and how it will always be entwined with that pub in Villa María where the youth hung out after Sunday services and drank beer and made paper-napkin flowers. Reunión (basically college-age youth group) began at 10pm there, and when things wrapped up at 11, everyone hung out at a pub owned by a member of the church. My brothers and I came with friends who were older (by two years for me, and I'm the oldest), but they all embraced us as their own, telling stories in broken English mixed to my brothers and making me napkin roses with "petals" that they singed for effect with lighters. All the time the Chili Peppers played in the background, the bassline forming the subtext to stories and laughter and burnt fingertips. I have few strong memories of five years ago, but that's one of them.

There's other moments, too. Rachmaninoff's "Bless the Lord, Oh My Soul" plays in my head as I walk the sidewalks of GCC one winter evening. It's only 8pm, but it's dead-of-night dark and the wind drives the snow across the sidewalk in front of me like tissue paper that won't lie flat, and as I round a bend and look at it in the glow of a street lamp, the tissue paper shreds into a moving stream of diamonds that make the concrete look like a god's equivalent of a red carpet. My body is freezing, but it's heavenly and the ascending tenor line slips into my mind, and I'm listening to celestial voices until I lose the melodic line in my memory and come back to earth.

Our Lady Peace's Spiritual Machines album. It's a short memory, but I'm sitting at Mom and Dad's table, sewing. It's Christmas Break, and everyone must be busy because I'm alone. I'm taking the opportunity to sew myself a dress, maybe? I don't remember now. The silence is weighing on me, and I decide to make the time pass with some music. I grab the first thing that catches my fancy, and it's not the usual accompaniment to domesticated tasks, but I feel like a punk-rock Martha Stewart fashioning femininity out of whole cloth and rocking out to "The Wonderful Future."

Buried deeper than the rest, Dad's singing to me. His lovely tenor croons our "Top of the World" in a long crescendo to the words "is the love that I've found ever since you've been around" where he soon gets bored and decides to tickle me instead of finishing. He probably forget the rest of the lyrics, but I didn't cared. Then we're on a roadtrip to see family in Kansas, and Dad's playing Paul Mariat from the 70's, and Mom's complaining about it. Mom preferred to sample the King with "I'm in love, WOO, I'm all shook up!" My brothers always mock-hated that one. Funny, I would never have pegged her for an Elvis fan. I bet that's something her parents sang to her when she was little.

I feel so blessed that my life is chock full of those memories. Before there was much of a middle class who could afford it, and before the industrial-age machinery that makes it ubiquitous in our daily lives, music was the purview of the rich or drunken peasants at taverns.

And now I'd better get my head out of this nostalgic atmosphere and back to earth. While searching for Our Lady Peace music, I ended up hitting the "BUY ALBUM" button instead of the album title in iTunes. Carry on.

2 comments:

der Panzerkardinal said...

mmm...Rachmaninoff. Might I suggest the movie Shine if you haven't seen it.

On second thought, just listen to Piano Concerto No. 3...the movie kinda sucks.

Plankiest said...

I love that music is a free commodity now.

And I also love that I too have a soundtrack to my life, wrapped up in a million different memories.

Thanks for that!