My iPod, almost completely out of battery power, didn’t seem as if it would want to scroll very far to find an album for my morning commute on Wednesday. I obliged by only descending as far as Ani DiFranco.
As the trolley whisked through its underground tunnel, I marveled that an Ani Difranco album came out on Tuesday. It’s the first one that I haven’t bought on (or before) its day of release. In fact, I used to pride myself on being able to recite Ms. DiFranco’s release dates as if their were birthday’s of favorite cousins, or political revolutions.
As Ani releases an album nearly every year, it’s easy for me to associate every one with a certain bit of my life, as many people as there are songs strewn across her dozens of discs. Standing there on the trolley a line caught my ears, a line I’ve heard so many times before: I owe my life to the people that I love.
It’s a strange concept to me who, by any account, is at least halfway centered on myself. I measure my life in personal milestones and, in Ani’s case, in albums, but rarely by other people. But, as those songs passed by I thought of some of those other people. How Ayelet put an Ani song on a mix tape before I even know who Ani was. How freshman year I sat on Alison’s floor and traded Ani concert stories as we carefully cut out the tray-art of my demo cd. How sitting in Lindsay’s room (really Laurel’s) and singing “Falling is Like This” I realized that I had met someone of a completely like mind.
All of those people, just by invoking Ani DiFranco albums. If Ani’s music has partially made my life, then what about the people who brought me an appreciation for those songs? The people that are unavoidably invoked every time one of them is played.
I am happy to say that I’ve spoken to all of the people in that paragraph since Wednesday, but what about everyone else? What about the ones I associate with Tori, or with the Beatles? I am so eager to cloak myself in a fluency of all things musical that I seem to have forgotten the importance of what allows that music to be meaningful to me.
So, here’s a new initiative. Every time I hear a song for the next week, and it reminds me of someone, or someplace, I am writing their name down. At the end of the week, I’m starting at the top of the list, and talking to one of them every day. Will I have their phone number? Their email address? Will I even know where they live, or if they’re alive? Who knows. But, if an iPod can allow me to appreciate music in a whole new way, maybe it can help me appreciate people again, too.
Do you think I associate you with a song? Do you have one for me? Since my comments are currently irreparably broken, why don’t you drop me a line and tell me what it is.