For Christmas, my dad gave me a new iPod. I had an iPod -- one of the original, five-pound versions -- but one day in 2006 a sad face appeared on the screen and from then on it refused to work, presumably the result of clinical iDepression. Being incredibly stubborn and prone to abusing inanimate objects, I decided to "fix" my iPod by banging it on the side of a table, in much the same way that people try to loosen jar lids. To my surprise and delight, this tough love method actually worked, and iPod started up again. Every time it shut down, I would just whack it a few times, but eventually it began to dent and finally died for good. Jeff likes to tell this story as an example of my impulsive and ill-advised behavorial tendencies, to which I say, but it worked! Sometimes things just need a good smack.
Anyway, I had been living without iPod for almost a year. I love music, but I don't tend to listen to it much at home, so without my iPod I was living a largely music-free life. Until today. Today I finally loaded all of my music into my new, whisper-thin iPod and pressed "Shuffle Songs" as I set out for the subway. And it was .... magic. For one thing, I forgot how much I like walking to music. I like to pretend it's the soundtrack to my life. Usually I pretend whatever I'm listening to is playing over the opening credits of a movie, of which I am the star. Or sometimes, if the singer if female, I pretend that either a) I am singing the song in a crowded nightclub, and everyone is impressed that I have written such a masterpiece, or b) that I am doing a kick-ass karaoke rendition in front of one of the following groups of people: my bosses and co-workers; all of my favorite celebrities; my entire high school class; a convention of all of my ex-boyfriends. This is an old habit -- when I was in 6th grade I would listen to Madonna's "Immaculate Collection" on my walkman over and over and pretend that I was performing for all of P.S. 282. I even worked out choreography: during "Like a Prayer", I would rise on a rotating silver platform while the gospel choir sang below me. I have what may be called an overactive imagination.
The other great thing about having an iPod again is that so many of the songs on it are like time capsules. I don't listen to a lot of contemporary music -- most of my favorite songs and albums were made between 1964 and 1993 -- so most of what I have takes me back in time, back to adolescence and first love, back to college and falling for Jeff. This morning, in fact, the shuffle function (my fave, as I like to pretend whatever comes on is meaningful and fated) played "Such Great Heights" by the Postal Service, which I listened to on repeat when Jeff and I started dating, and which I put on the first mix CD I ever made for my now-husband (ironically, Jeff hates this and pretty much every other song that speaks deeply to me about our relationship). Just hearing it made my step a little quicker, my heart beat a little faster. It made the impending workweek seem a little less terrible.
Then, of course, "Rico Suave" came on and I had to skip past it. Some things will never have any meaning.