The Futility of the Brake and Other Thoughts

This is how I listen to music: I discover a song, and it makes me feel. That song then becomes a staple in the playlist of my days, one of the fifty or so tracks that paint the color of my consciousness. The track stays on the playlist for as long as it makes me feel that thing. When that song is randomly called up on shuffle, I hear the weighty solitude, or the empathy, or the flirtation, or the silliness that is that song’s hue. Like myself, the playlist is in constant flux. With each passing day, I am an incrementally different person. It would make sense, then, that when I hear a new song whose pigment better matches who I’ve most recently become, I add it to the list; when a familiar favorite reaches my ears as I’m walking down Main Street, but I suddenly realize that its timbre is not quite right anymore, I remove it from the playlist, archiving it to my library, relegating it to memory and the jurisdiction of nostalgia.

The length of time it takes to complete my cyclical relationship to a song sometimes feels interminable, a certain song remaining relevant for years, or it can climax and conclude in a single day. I live my life like I listen to music, and Davidson is a song. It’s been the soundtrack to a host of experiences: connection, rejection, community, isolation, achievement, and heartbreak. As I enter the second half of my Senior year, I feel myself tiring of the tune and itching for way to weave some of its notes into my next new favorite.

I was sitting outside of Summit Coffee this afternoon, writing, engrossed in my task, when I heard some kid’s mom yell out to her daughter. The girl was riding her bike. She seemed a little bit wobbly — just learning. “Are you practicing your braking?,” the concerned mom called. “Do you remember how to stop?”

I responded to her in my head: Nope.


P.S. She also warned her kid, “Watch out for people!” We won’t get into that one right now . . .

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