Saturday, July 23, 2005

Sometimes you feel like a nut...sometimes you don't

My curse: I always always have music playing in my head.

I'm sure this is a more common phenonomenon than I'm aware of, and maybe it's because I'm a musician that I experience this, but I've only heard of one other person who had this same talent/problem and he was a musician also. (At this point I feel like I should almost laugh when I refer to myself this way, but it is technically true...) Anyway, while this little mental oddity can come in awfully handy, it can also be an incredible pain in the ass. Such as when you're truly trying to pay attention to something, whether for your own personal benefit or, say, because your job depends on it, and you literally cannot turn the shit off. It can really be maddening. The proverbial "double-edged sword," I guess...

My gift: I always always have music playing in my head.

As a bonus, I've also, for as long as I can remember (literally going back to my childhood), had this weird ability to program music into my head like it was a CD player. I have a difficult time going to sleep fairly often so I usually go to sleep by putting something into my personal factory-installed player album or a particular artist using some sort of set list that seems appropriate for the moment. At any rate, as crazy as it might sound, it also comes in really handy for occasions where you know you'll be needing to tune some shit out for an extended period of time...say, a funeral you'd rather not be attending, a meeting a work that you don't need to be in, etc.

I got to thinking about this a couple days ago, as I had to spend a few hours laying on this...thing at Baylor hospital having some tests run on me. The gist of the situation was that I had to lay completely still for two different periods of just over an hour each while this...thing scanned my abdominal area. I felt like I was laying inside a giant copy machine (and giggled once or twice because I'd just seen a repeat of the episode where Bart Simpson made ninety-nine copies of his bare ass and distributed them inside his church's hymnbooks). Now, while this was certainly not torture of any kind, and lord knows there were plenty of people in that building experiencing exponentially worse situations than I was, it still wasn't a whole lot of fun. And, needless to say, I was not looking forward to it. So I went in armed to the hilt with my favorite longer-playing albums...London Calling, Exile on Main Street, Sandinista!, Kiss Alive, The Wall...just wanted to make sure I could keep myself mentally occupied in an unpleasant situation where I knew I couldn't fidget, think upsetting thoughts, ponder my mortality, etc.

I guess I'm just mentioning all this because it never really struck me how cool an ability this is until just the other day. Yes, it can be excruciatingly annoying to have a constant stream of music running through one's head. But it's also really fucking awesome that I'm able to use that same little bit of weirdness to fight through ooky situations like insomnia, hospital tests, mind-numblingly dumb work meetings, etc. So yay for me, I suppose...

A secondary issue...

As it turns out, though, I didn't need my hidden superpower after all, as the kind folks performing the tests offered to turn on a radio for me, god bless them. And it was also at that time that I realized...I have no earthly idea what's on FM radio in Dallas anymore. When I do listen to the radio, I jump back and forth between The Ticket and KERA. And that's it. I don't think I've listened to music on the radio in over a decade, mostly because I know how much it sucks, but also because I have really picky tastes in music.

So I was kind of unpleasantly surprised when the attendant/nurse/technician/whatevershewas asked me what kind of music I wanted to hear. It caught me off guard and all I could respond with was, "Um...I don't know." At first I said, "Whatever you want to listen to is fine with me." Then I realized, of course, that the radio really wasn't for her benefit. So I searched my memory banks to see if I could actually think of ANY music stations that still existed in Dallas...and all I could come up with was KZPS.

Wow. Is this what it's come to for me? When my frequency of choice is some fucking NASCAR / cock rock / white trash / mesh t-shirt n' mullet beast that is the Classic Rock radio station? That's the same shit that drove me from listening to FM radio in the first place! Holy god, when did this happen?!? Granted, the choice of 92.5 didn't mean much more than any other station - like, say, 98.7 - where I'd be subjected to eighty percent shit, ten percent slightly more tolerable shit, and ten percent cool stuff. But, still...

Anyway, when it's all said and done, I guess it's not so bad that I am so clueless with regard to modern FM radio. Even in the days before Clear Channel when I did know which stations were where, I hated FM radio. Even in the long ago days of my headbanger youth when I thought The Zoo was pretty cool (and in its heyday, it really was, kids), I hated FM radio. And why shouldn't I? I have my own fucking radio station in my head.

So how great is that...?

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