Sunday, December 7, 2008

A Different Kind of Playlist

"What's on your playlist?" - a question referencing mp3 players and their accompanying lists of songs. Quite often, my life feels like a giant playlist. I can't think of a time or event in my life without a concurrent song! Seriously. You name the year - the *moment* - and I'll name a song that was popular. The same is for the reverse: I can hear a song and rattle off half a dozen life associations instantly! So allow me the indulgence of sharing a random, shuffled "playlist" from the other night as I listened on the subway on my way home, following a friend's performance downtown.

"Minute By Minute", Doobie Brothers. I don't remember the exact year I first heard this, but it's definitely elementary school! It's the 70's. It reminds me of Dittos jeans, college co-eds with bell bottom pants and Farrah Fawcett hair, and men with lots of facial hair and what appeared to be poor personal grooming habits. I'm still standing on the platform, wondering when in the world the train is going to arrive.

"Leave Me Alone", Michael Jackson. This song was popular the year before I met SuperTrav. I was at BYU, and was in the middle of a relationship that would prove to be the biggest waste of my dating time. I should've sung this song to HIM! Finally - here comes the train! But's the D train, not the A.

"Fragile", Sting. Let me begin by saying that this album, Nothing Like the Sun, is one of the all-time greats! I LOVE IT.

Oh man, I have two associations with this song. The first as a teenager. My best friend and I would play this tape in her car, and each take turns relaying to the other some romantic fantasy featuring ourselves with whatever guy on whom we each had a crush. We would narrate the scenario in time to the music - it was all very fun and the cheesier we could make it, the better! The SECOND association is years later, and it is the first time I ever came to New York City. SuperTrav and I were touring the country with the San Francisco Opera Center - I as a singer, and he as a member of the stage crew. It was the end of October. The weather was GORGEOUS NYC fall temperatures. Our cast and crew stayed at the Beacon Hotel on the UWS. It was all very exciting and romantic - and I fell in love with New York City. I knew then that one day we would live in the city. I will conclude this association by saying it was also SuperTrav's birthday, and we celebrated by upgrading this same Sting album from a cassette tape to a CD, purchased at Tower Records - along with external speakers for our CD player, some candles and chocolates....It's a great memory. My train finally arrives, and I will be standing for this ride, as there are no seats even at this late hour.

"I Don't Want to Wait", Paula Cole. Even thought I know this song was released in 1997, I associate it with a year later. We had just returned to the US from living overseas in Australia for two years. We arrived in SLC on April Fools, 1998 and to be truthful, the song hadn't even hit Aus yet (probably because Dawson's Creek hadn't either). Baz Luhrman's "Don't Forget to Wear Sunscreen" was a big hit on the charts Down Under, along with Kylie Minogue and Backstreet Boys. I look around and feel slightly bemused with how many people are wearing ear buds. At least 80% of my fellow straphangers are plugged-in.

"You Live", Alanis Morrisette. This hit the charts right after Kit was born. It reminds me of sleepless nights, foggy days, post-partum joys and aches, and preparing two recitals in the midst of trying to move to Australia. All before Kit was nine weeks old. Yes, I was definitely living and learning when this song was on the airways. I'm over halfway through my train ride and I'll be home within minutes.

"Lucky Star", Madonna. Oh yes, this came out right after the 1984 Summer Olympic games with Carl Lewis and Mary Lou Retton! This was Friday Night Videos (because we certainly didn't have cable), Cabbage Patch Kids, and back to school shopping for penny loafers and cable knit cardigans - or black mesh tops and leggings if you were into the Madonna look. I remember babysitting that summer for the single mom who lived across the street. She worked the swing shift, so I looked after her 2-year old son for eight hours a day, Monday through Friday, for $75/week. It was big bucks for a kid my age! I'm quite sure that in 2008, I wouldn't hire a girl who was as young as I in 1984, to do a similar job. I watch a man, standing across from me, pull a hat from his coat pocket. He appears to be in his early 50's - and at first, I thought the hat was a tea cozy. It is crocheted with white yarn and what was obviously a large hook. The edges are finished with three rows of yellow, green, and red yarn. It looks a bit like a Jamaican flag. I smile to myself, and wondered what woman in this man's life made that hat for him. He must love her an awful lot, because man - that hat looks silly. Of course, he could have crocheted it for himself, but making a snap judgment, I'm pretty sure that he's not the crocheting type. I share my smile, and he smiles back.

And now I'm at my stop. I enjoyed my memories, and the bit of time I was able to spend lost in my thoughts without worries of entertaining a toddler on my lap, or a 'Tween by my side. I tuck my ipod into my coat, and alight the train. Home is just a few steps away.

How about you? With what do you associate the songs I named on my playlist? I'd LOVE to know!

1 comment:

McLani said...

Technology is a great thing, isn't it?! When I can sit with your blog, reading your playlist while listening to mine and yet be transported to the platform, awaiting that A train as your lapel button companion, continuing on, until the exit - "a few steps away". I don't mind saying that frankly, those particular songs didn't strike much of a cord within me yet I smiled to the man in the crocheted hat and somehow felt as if I saw his grin too... --You have many talents, Marie. :) Thanks for the ride, it was great to momentarily slip away....