Wednesday, May 30, 2007

The Morning Commute


Whenever possible, I listen to a book on CD when I commute. Not surprisingly, I just finished listening to books 1 through 6 of J.K. Rowling's Harry Potter series, read wonderfully by Jim Dale, to prepare for the release of the 7th book in July. Listening to a book makes the commute go by faster, or seem to anyway, and reduces any chance of road rage. I'm stuck in traffic? No big deal, I've got an excellent story to listen to. The only downside, really, is that I want to stay in the car even after I arrive at my destination, to continue the story.

Since finishing Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince last week, however, I've been listening to music. Sometimes the radio---92.9 The Mountain, with its "world-class rock" a la KBCO in Boulder, Colo. is about Tucson's only decent station---but more often CDs. I reloaded my CD book, and chose some old albums I haven't heard in many years.

One of those, which began today, is Pink Floyd's The Wall, an album I listened to religiously from about 7th through 12th grade, and a bit into college. It struck me, as the memories danced back into my mind, how much like a good book this album is. With its theme of outcast, rejection/repression, and totalitarianism, it has both plot and characters. And like a good book, too, the verse is lyrical. It helps, of course, that the music really rocks. I think I turned "Another Brick in the Wall, Part 2" up the highest my car stereo has yet been.

Some of the memories include a wild van ride with my friend's older brother up to Sabino Canyon in Tucson, in sixth or seventh grade, before it was all built up there; driving down to my dad's in Miami in my 1966 Mustang (my first car), he borrowing the car to do some work on it, then remarking---as he handed the keys back to me---that I listen to "really weird" music (The Wall was in the tape player); many afternoons in my high school friend's basement room listening to the album; and seeing the movie with new friends from the balcony of the Colorado State University theater when I was a college freshman. It may be that I am the only youth to enjoy The Wall drug-free, though I doubt it.

The album, and the movie more so, induce an altered state of mind without the additional aid of drugs. Maybe that's why this particular album re-creates a set of experiences and not just memories as I listen to it once again.
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