The Writing‎ > ‎

Getty

LEARN OR DANCE?

            I’m driving down the highway at night.  My face is hot, but I turn the heat on anyway because the rest of me is cold.  I switch the radio to talk, which in my cableless state keeps me up to speed, but it’s dominated by the righties and so I get sick of listening to them rant.  I flip to music.  “Sister Christian” comes on and I try to sing it.  Have you ever tried singing that song?  My strategy is to sing louder if it doesn’t sound good, maybe I’m just not singing loud enough.  I have to bully my vocal chords into hitting the right notes.  It doesn’t work, but I insist on singing the entire song similar to the way I recite some prayers—correct words smudged into blurred wrong words, sometimes with the right first consonant, back to the right words and then a drunken slur of completely wrong.  Snap and turn to NPR, the voice of the woman sort of irks me, she reminds me of the teacher from Ferris Bueller, so I flip again in search of music.  I stop, the Bee Gees.  They’ve found me.  “More than a Woman” stays on and I know I must be pulsing to the music, although I don’t realize it.  Something about that song—“Oh say you’ll always be my baby / We can make it shine, we can take forever / Just a minute at a time-ime-iiiiiiiimme.And then it hits me, as it would hit only someone with writing on the brain.

            As too often I do, my mind untangles a metaphor like it’s some sort of solution, some sort of antidote that will clear my head and give me black and white on this stretch of gray.  Do I want to just enjoy the moment or do I want to learn something—feel like I’m part of a dialogue, monologue, some sort of –ogue.  And then I’m thrown back into gray again; foggy, misty, irresistible gray.  Do I have to choose between learning from words and getting pleasure from them?  Must my entire dimly lit, with a splattering of blue construction cop lights, drive consist of people talking at me, around me, muted in the distance as I construct my metaphors?  Why mustn’t music interject?  Conversely, does my finger have to go stabbing at that digital device at every commercial or news short that doesn’t carry a tune?  Once I go music can my curiosity never send me poking into the stream of unending conversations at random?  According to my presets, I’m a music gal.  But, if you could see me in action you’d see that the first button is merely a jumping off point to NPR and the second an ambassador to Talk, talk, talk; and yet I can’t bring myself to commit them to a preset.  Perhaps it’s some sort of radio denial.

            The Bee Gees are still playing, but they can’t play forever.  So, I guess I’ll take each moment, each song, as it comes and enjoy it for what it is.  When I wonder about the world around me or within, I’ll stick my head out of the jukebox and seek something more human, something without a chorus and forced rhymes. 

And then, with my problem solved or just beginning (I haven’t decided) I can’t help but sit back and think of how lucky I am to live in a country where we can listen to talk or music or an artistic interpretation of either.  We can write and read and share the ideas that are most important or attention grabbing at the time.  Some of you will think, “Hey, that girl’s got it right.”  Others’ eyes will go on a rolling spree, “Whatever” you’ll say.  And that is why there are so many stations and not just one big preset.  Not even one person feels like the same station all the time and not even one station has everything somebody out there wants.  There is no solution.  There’s just the road to drive and the silence to fill however I may see fit.  What a country!