It seems the only way to break the mood is to put on the right music. I think a good road trip is the way to go.
Hop in, turn the key, put the car in drive and then head out on an empty road with nothing but the landscapes on either side. There are times when the static is too much. I think times like this is when we need to unplug the most.
I think the music is part of what helps. The songs I play during drives like this are connected to a network of memory. They are connected to feelings of nostalgia and joy. As I see it, the music is a perfect trigger.
Do you see where I’m going with this?
Eventually, the direction is unimportant. Drive wherever you want to go. Nothing else seems to exist. The mind shifts into autopilot and the ideas, the complications and all the litigation of past or present issues are all in the rearview mirror. The disputes and dilemmas and the judgements and the worries are all gone. The lyrics from the songs are sung as loud as could be. And who cares? Your best singing voice is always best when you are alone, singing as loud as possible and belting out the words to one of your favorite songs.
I talk about this from time to time. I think about this when life becomes intense, which is now. Everything is intense; the presidential election, the virus, the fact that Thanksgiving is coming and the mood is less than colorful due to the fact that everyone is worried about another shutdown because of Covid-19.
Come to think of it . . .
I don’t want to hear another word about Covid. I don’t want to hear another word about the masks we have to wear. I don’t want to hear anymore about political beliefs or who is right and who is wrong. I don’t want to hear any of this.
Only thing I want to hear is the sound of wind as it flies by my car. I want the side of the road to be like a blur. I want the music to pull off its trick and take me away; and by this, what I mean is I want the music to trigger the sensations of memory. I want to think about the shows and the stadiums. I want to think about the places, down by the waterfront and back when the summertime meant everything.
Now mind you, my taste in music may not be like anyone else’s. My choice of playlist might be different but then again, this is my road trip, which means I get to pick..
Maybe I could start out with something relaxing. Maybe I could start out with something that brings me to an evening in particular. This dates back to when the sky was the perfect shade of orange. I was in the middle of it all, but yet, I was fine for the moment.
I was in perfect company, alone and by myself. I had a few things by my side to help me cope with the electricity of the moment. I had youth on my side, endurance and dreams of living somewhere else.
There are songs which I hold onto and keep them in my heart. This is because the music links me back to a time and a place that I never want to forget.
I could use this now. (Couldn’t you?)
I could use a few of the dreams that come with the idea of me, driving along the coastline with the top down of a red, two-seater convertible, white interior and the wind is blowing through my hair.
There is no need to wear a mask or feel a moment of concern because all of this would be in my rearview mirror.
The sun would be high and the sky would be blue. Nothing else would exist. There would be no more talk about Covid or Trump or Biden or the impending financial shutdown.
There is no talk about business or the lack thereof. There’s no talk about resentments or arguments. No incidents to report, no traffic, no police car, hiding somewhere down the road to pull me over because my foot might be a little heavier, depending upon the speed of the song.
For the record, this is not me leaving or running away. This is not me complaining or anything of the sort. This isn’t even a rant. Put simply, this is only me looking to unplug myself for the moment.
No more emails. No phone calls. No texts to answer. No need to check in or touch base. This is not an insult to anyone or anything. Instead, I see this ride as a way to leave the stress behind me. I see the action as a replacement of the current mood and the current discussions that take place in my head.
The truth is this; I have no control over Covid or the elections. I have no control over what happens at work. I have no control over my past or my past mistakes that might interrupt my future plans.
I have no control over outside opinions and no control if someone likes me, resents me or otherwise rejects me, which is only real if I allow this to be.
I have no control over misplaced articles and misdirected frustrations that go back and forth between other people, family matters or life beyond my control.
This is the point This is the reason for the drive itself. I can take any road I choose. I can ease back and listen to something bluesy or something calm. I can listen to something faster, more upbeat or find a song that makes me want to pin the gas pedal to the floor and drive like a bullet through a gun. Either way, this is all on me. This is a way to leave it all behind me and in my rearview mirror (So I can breathe).
I don’t take it personal when people need their space. I used to see this as rejection. I used to take this personally when I’d lose touch with people that I considered to be my friends.
Sometimes, I’d pick apart my thoughts and ideas and try to narrow down where and how things went wrong. I’d regret my mistakes. I’d wish I’d said things differently. I wished I didn’t look foolish or do something as self-serving. I’d wish my discomforts with the unresolved matters would somehow disappear. But hey, this is just life. This is why I take the ride because this is a healthy way to replace thought with action. This is also the same thing as saying, “It’s okay to not be okay,” and find a way to make peace with the troubles that we cannot change.
I know this:
I know who my friends are. I know who loves me. I know who I love and I know what I love to do. And I get it, life doesn’t play fairly.
Do you know what plays fairly? The radio.
You know what plays on a fair basis? The songs we grew up with and the music that connects us to a brighter time is something that play fairly. I’m talking about the songs that bring us to a time like, say, before Covid took away our comfort to hug someone we miss.
There was a time, long ago. I remember it well. I hopped in my van and took a ride to a town called Hancock. I turned the key and the radio came on. The song that played was both random and perfect.
I have to say this was one helluva memory.
One of my best.
I’m heading out in a minute. I have a drive to take. I wonder what the music gods will play first when I start the car. Either way, who cares?
Just let it play.
Know what I mean?