Monday, November 2, 2009

It Chooses You (Part 1)

I started this entry several weeks ago, and finally was able to finish it. I'm publishing it in two parts. Look for part 2 later this week.

Remember the part in "Almost Famous" where the Lester Bangs "character" is first introduced (he's doing an in-studio interview at the radio station)? He does a sort of monologue that begins like this: "Here's a theory for you to disregard completely--MUSIC, you know, TRUE MUSIC, it chooses you. You know, it lives in your car, your stereo..." I've thought about this statement a number of times in the years since I first saw this film. I think I've had a number of moments where I felt that, no, it wasn't music that was choosing me, it was me who was choosing music. I really wonder sometimes, though. I really do.

Like today. K.C. and I spent the last week and a half or so in Texas, mostly in Austin, then Rockport and Houston at the very end. During these extended periods of time away from home I seem to have certain songs that get stuck in my head, or keep popping up in my consciousness repeatedly over the course of a number of days. This trip was no different. I found myself singing certain songs, or portions of songs, to myself over and over again, and also would be reminded multiple times of particular songs.

Today we started our drive home from Houston at about 1:30. I was in a bit of a crappy mood, mostly because our departure time did not meet my expectations (in other words, totally my fault). I plugged the iPod into the FM transmitter and set it on shuffle with, I must admit, a pretty negative attitude about what I might get. Shuffle does bring some incredible things sometimes, but it also can bring a lot of music you're just not in the mood for, depending on how sharply specific your mood IS.

Remarkably, or maybe I should even say AMAZINGLY, the shuffle brought forth not only a great many songs I was both in the mood for and very grateful to hear, but a NUMBER OF SONGS THAT HAD BEEN RATTLING AROUND MY HEAD FOR DAYS, as mentioned earlier. Songs that very much had been accidental sorts of "theme songs" for this little mini-tour.

What to make of this? Do our iPods have some sort of actual consciousness within them that reads our brains? This is unlikely, but I start to wonder. I also start to wonder if larger creative forces ultimately have influence over devices such as this. Is shuffle really RANDOM at all? Sometimes it is and sometimes it isn't? Is it all just crazy coincidence?

I suppose that must depend on how much credence you may or may not put in the idea of pure coincidence. I am not a big believer in pure coincidence...I like the idea that most things, or even all things, happen for a reason, even the smallest things that don't seem to matter much like my iPod. Maybe music is choosing me, those particular songs are choosing me...maybe they are the songs that can and will bolster me, or boost my morale, or whatever. Perhaps it is that they are being chosen FOR me. All this (wouldn't you know it) leads me to think more about the larger picture...

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