Sunny Daze

New York - Times Square - July 1977

I confuse sunny day with warm day. The wind tells me random is not on my side today.

I check the scoreboard. Slept in, morning lost: one against. “Ganja Babe” as my randomly selected song to start my walk with: one for. Now the wind pushing me indoors makes it one positive event versus two negative events.

The items in the column of negatives are not random events. Four AM bedtime, winter sun exposed by Northern winds. High probability events are not luck. I am blaming chance for everything negative.

A lazy day. Abdicating agency. Unplanned. A planned do-nothing day has filters to keep reality out, to delay the settling of accounts.

I want to lose myself in the music. Snow Patrol tells me to shut my eyes.

A well crafted song, one of the last I discovered via the radio. I heard it again a few months back. It has more going on than I remember, the voices its magical ingredient.

I hear a song that fascinates me. A caricature, as if the writer is following the formula for a hit: Clapping, a millennial whoop and, …, wait for it, …, bingo!, whistling. I don’t remember its name.

I am thinking too much about the music to listen to the music. To get into it, to get carried away, to walk to the beat, to break my step with a little shuffle, to make dance-like gestures, to spread my arms and fly like a four year-old. Too lost in thought to get lost in the music and walk around like a character in a musical.

Novelty, it’s what keeps me searching for new music, for the awe that comes with a musical epiphany. It’s never as good as the first time.

What a crock of shit!

I am developing a habit of calling bullshit on myself. Is that what they call mindfulness? A cynical joke delivered as a question. A question I know the serious answer to. A serious answer that I would find hard to keep to myself. Even if I know it is a joke, even if I know no answer is required, even if I know no answer is the best answer.

Crock of shit. New music. How many reasons have I invented for my obsessive searches for new music?

The pseudo-rational, a.k.a., the fear of missing out. Statistically, the population is growing and producing more music than ever. And listening to great music is one of my great pleasures in life.

Statistics, back of the napkin calculations. 759 albums equals more than two per day to listen to them all in one year. Two years at one per day. Two or three per week is five to eight years.

Two CDs is, on average, a little more than two hours. My playlist has 973 songs from 399 artists. It is 62 hours and 53 minutes of music and it takes me one month to cycle through it.

Music and math. I wanted to play the Glass Bead Game. Hesse doesn’t give the rules. I listened to Bach. It is not rock music.

New music. It is just a symptom. It is one of my procrastination tools. I start looking for something to listen to while I work.

Studies show you are more productive listening to familiar music.

I bookmark songs, bands, sites. I see links. I add more bookmarks. I misfile a bookmark. The list is longer than my screen. I sort, celebrate duplicates. It will take me forever to listen to the whole list. I review, eliminate. I find a new rabbit hole. I stop. Tomorrow I will feel productive as I work my way through the lists.

New music. It’s my obsession with facts. It’s my completist nature. It’s my reputation as a musical connoisseur. It’s my conversation starter. Now it’s supposed to be about musical epiphanies.

Musicophile. Full stop.

Jimi Hendrix.

How many songs have I not heard because I am too busy thinking?

I remember listening to Axis and getting surprised by the stereo panning. I tilt my head to the right and pinky-pop my ear to clear the imagined cause. The return to stereo listening amplifies the effect. 3D sound. I feel the music moving from right to left. It pans back and I picture an oscilloscope with a single green wave. I am on the wave, riding it like a surfer. I get to the right edge of the screen and, like a swimmer at the end of a lane, smoothly reverse direction. Scene change. I see a hand turning a big black dial, the white dot slow dancing to the tune. Reality check. Mixing boards have sliders.

Backlash Blues. I keep on getting distracted, my mind is running around in random directions.

There literally was a squirrel. A viewer makes a joke about only red allowed at Old Trafford. The presenter says it happened at a Man City game.

I am overthinking it. I am overthinking everything.

I turn on the coffee machine. “I heard it through the grapevine.” I slide over to the fridge. “People say believe half of what you see.” I lift my hand out to waist level and sweep it forward. I grab the fridge door and, not pulling hard enough, miss a beat. I turn it into a stutter move and pull harder. “But I can’t help but be confused.” I grab a yoghurt and, getting back into the flow, gently close the door. “Just about to lose my mind.” I spin, put the yoghurt on the counter and shuffle to the coffee machine. It’s ready to make my coffee.

Why do they call it mindfulness when it is about emptying the mind? (Yes, I know better but why miss the opportunity to make a bad joke.)

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