Music has always been an intregal part of my life. It comforted me as an adolescent, when I was miserable and suffering from the hell that is female teenagehood. I danced, so it informed and cultivated my performances. I love live music concerts, and even in 8th grade (back before the internet was cool--I know, impossible to remember) I had a Geocities site dedicated to Dallas Live Music.
In high school, I worked at the Barnes and Noble in Richardson in the music section initially. Once the managers figured out that I actually read books, unlike a lot of the staff, I was ripped out of the music section and stuck onto the "book floor". (My stint in the Barnes and Noble cafe' is another story...for another post.)
In Austin, I left work at the B&N across from the University to work at "FYE", aka "The music store in the mall formerly known as Camelot". Only because they paid $1-2 more an hour. That B&N across from UT had me exposed to a lot of neat people--law students, Antonio Banderas, and Dennis Lehane (whose agent tried to verbally abuse me, but he intervened, so he's a good guy in my book).
Even today, I go to every concert that I can afford. I love festivals, despite the heat and cost. Some of my favorite memories are from Austin City Limits Festival a couple of years ago.
So those are my music credentials. My point is--music is and has been important to me.
Conventional wisdom would be that a love of music fades as you age--it's no longer a pre-eminent way to access your emotions and express them.
I am an absolute iTunes junkie. In the past few years, I've purchased over a thousand songs. I just looked in my "Purchased" iTunes folder, lest you think I was exaggerating. Part of it is because I teach cycling classes to white suburbans, and I have to bulk up my stores of music that will not get me fired and that they will like. The other part is that I'm an addict and really shouldn't be allowed in a room with iTunes unsupervised.
So back to what inspired me to write this post. I had just come home from teaching 3 aerobics classes (one in the 100+ degree heat) and was absolutely exhausted. Yet, as is the way with chores, there were things to be done. Outside. I can handle indoor chores, but outside, at mid-day in this record heat? Sheyyyatttt.
So I sighed. I picked up one of my iPods. I have two--one that contains my master collection, and another, more portable unit, that allows me to run/walk the dogs with it. I put the iPod on shuffle.
I went out back intending to only clean up the dog shit in advance of the mowers arriving tomorrow. So I executed that.
I figure, most of our fence is tall, excepting the part that runs adjacent to the garage. Minimal chance of neighbors seeing me. So why not have fun?
When Beastie Boys or Prince is on, even if you're picking up shit in the sweltering Texas heat, somehow that makes it better.
Once I'd completed that task, M.I.A. came on my iPod. I figured, "Hell, I'm out here and sweaty, why not do all the yard chores". So while my iPod cycled through Green Day, Queen, System of a Down, Spank Rock, and Metallica, I took care of all of the yard chores, often while singing (quietly?) and dancing when I thought no one could see me.
Not only did I pick up shit. I watered trees. I watered my herb garden. (Not THAT type of herb, cilantro and basil!) Most importantly.
I even trimmed two of these evil, twisty, pain in the ass trees.
If you were wondering, that's their actual name. You can call them that at any garden store and people will know what you mean.
We have two of these monstrosities out in front of the house, flanking the front door. When you're as short as I am (under 5 feet), trimming these beasts is a feat. So I can't reach far away from my body and trim the higher boughs.
And these trees need trimming badly. One of them had grown a generous bulbous head at the top of it which leaves it looking entirely phallic. It was so egregiously phallic that you didn't have to be Beavis and Butthead or a 12 year old boy to think it was hilarious.
I have to stand on my tip toes, wield the hedge clippers at a 90 degree angle from the ground, and hack away like a maniac. And while I do so, this frigging tree/bush/monster rains down nettles that fall all over my hair, and straight up down my cleavage. It itches like the bejesus!
But, with Nine Inch Nails on the iPod, despite the heat--and the itch--I'm having fun.
And that is the power of music.