Hearing Things

One of the special features of our on-its-last-legs car is that we have no capacity for audio. Radio, CD, MP3 options, all dead. It becomes a special treat, then, to carefully choose some music to listen to when I have reason to be driving another car.

A week ago, I was visiting my mom and dug out an old CD I had burned for her one Christmas about 10 years ago. As I was re-appreciating all the songs I had once liked (and sometimes shaking my head at my early-20s tastes), I found myself hearing one song as though for the first time. Not that I didn’t remember the song, but that as I heard the lyrics, I realized that ten years ago, I had completely missed their meaning. Not in a subtle way where the implications of the poetry were lost on me, or in a never-really-stopped-to-think-about-it kind of way, either. It seems that I had somehow heard the chorus and not bothered to listen to the verses, which frame the content of the chorus in a completely different light. And suddenly the song hit me with such force that I almost had to pull the car over because I couldn’t stop crying.

Somehow I had completely missed the verses when they didn’t apply to my life, and only heard them now, when they do. I said in my last post that I’ve been resistent to the idea that having a child has changed me, but it has. Things are still the same all around me, but I hear some of the ones that I ignored or somehow missed before. I don’t know what that means for what and how I can write now. I’m hoping that stopping to listen will help me find out.


9 thoughts on “Hearing Things”

  1. 1.) Having a child absolutely changes you, and often in many ways that will take you time to realize. But the way in which you perceive art and media is definitely one. I’m a huge Stephen King fan, but since having a son, I am unable to read “Pet Sematary” any more; I get to one particular scene and I have to stop reading.

    2.) One of the things I love about music is how we can perceive it so differently depending on our state of mind. I think the same is true of books as well (movies to a lesser extent, maybe?), which is why I love to re-read books and listen to music I haven’t heard in a long time.

    3.) Man, how in the world do you get by without some kind of audio in your car? At the least, can you play an iPod or something? Maybe I’m just spoiled, but unless I have people in the car I want to talk to, I almost require some kind of background music or noise. If I have nothing, then I sing.

    1. Something that came to me a bit later…on the subject of how children alter you, consider this post by Jerry Holkins over at Penny Arcade.

      The key quote (IMO) is towards the end:
      “I talked about the secret band of data a few years ago, specifically related to games like Silent Hill 2, the Bioshocks, or Heavy Rain. When I was younger, I would have resented some of this stuff – it would have seemed ham-handed. Manipulative. I could have discern what they wanted me to feel and valiantly refused, or (if it were executed especially well) felt a version of it which might have been similar in color or shape. I would feel it in deference to their craft.

      That’s not really how it works now. Children carve something out of you, a place for themselves; people can twist the knife in that spot, and it just bleeds and bleeds.”

      He is speaking of a specific way in which children make you vulnerable (which is really a subset of the way love makes you vulnerable), but it’s a very concrete example of the way in which you are no longer quite the same self you were before you had kids.

      1. That’s a great quote, thanks…I think the thing that is taking me time, and that I have been trying for months, actually, to articulate, is that I have been resistant to the cultural discourse about Becoming A Mother and everything that means for authentic womanhood and all that. I appreciate the acknowledgment that not only is it a parent thing, but that really it has most to do with the vulnerability of love taking new forms.

    2. On 2 – I have always struggled between wanting to discover new things and wanting to delve deeper into new angles on old favourites. But this example was a bit different, in that I had somehow completely missed the point of the song until recently. Like my 20ish brain didn’t get what talking about a kid sounded like. It was kind of embarrassing, really.

      On 3 – man, it sucks. If I’m going more than a few minutes away, I will play my iPhone, but the volume isn’t great. There’s some weird conspiracy whereby we just get our audio system fixed and it fails again.

      On 1 – the more important stuff – I answer your comment below.

      Thanks for commenting. I am suddenly no longer in the ether. πŸ˜‰

    1. Dude, it would have been *way* easier to write this post without eliding that information, so no dice! The reasons it hit me so hard are in areas I don’t want to go into publicly right now, y’know?

      1. I just realized that rejection sounded kind of bitchy, sorry about that. I’ll totally tell you in a non-internet context, though.

        Also, free your blog! I want in! πŸ˜‰

  2. Lol! No worries – I didn’t take it that way.
    And my blog’s not quite ready yet. Should be up in about a week though. I don’t know what I’m doing, so it’s taking a little while. I want it to be pretty πŸ˜€

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