May 4, 2018


Before the onset of wet dreams and awakening hormones, before cliques formed and baseball cards were traded, there was among the kids of my generation the fantasy of winning the equivalent of the lottery:  The famed five-minute shopping spree, wherein a lucky kid got to fill as many carts as possible, as fast as possible, at Toys’R’Us.

Spotify is the first real online service I’ve signed up for, and I feel like one of those kids in the throes of materialistic ecstasy and abandon. 

The forgotten songs scratched out from memory and love rekindled.  Flavors of childhood, early adulthood.  If ever you loved it, they have it.

That doesn't begin to cover the benefits.  For instance, if your skin crawls at the strident crowing of a particular Verdi soprano, you can choose another album of the same work and roll the dice.

I got back the pieces I could play on the piano in my adolescence.  Mozart's Fantasie in D Minor, the runs up and down the piano that I learned, the crescendos and textures.  I had not heard it in twenty-five years, and chills and wisps of lavender and motor memory awoke against the leather cover on my steering wheel. 

I dove in and went swimming in Doc Watson's decades of music.  His voice is singularly calming.  Its timbre marries his humility in spite of the course of his life, the blindness and bereavement and crowds of fans and mastery of the guitar in his hands.  It's a voice sometimes witty and merry, sometimes earnest, and always grounded in the world, as it is.  It is everything I am not.  It is medicine.

I can listen to songs from The Little Mermaid and Beauty and the Beast, indulging my secret Disney holdovers, and P.J. doesn't need to know about what happens in my car, does she?

It says much about me that the first thing I did was create playlists and include all of the things that are already available on my USB drive in the car.  The main point of the service is the introduction of other things its algorithm suggests you would enjoy, but I have little use for that.  I know the danger.  I might accidentally branch out.

But for me, it's aisles in the toy store and the chance to take anything and everything off the shelves that I want, to my heart's content.  

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