Skipping to the Next Track

I’ve never been much of a music-obsessed person. You’d think I was because:

  • I usually have music playing in the background, especially if I’m cleaning or cooking.
  • I was obsessed with my cassette playing Walkman and then my portable CD player when I was little. Then iPods came into existence and I’ve had one ever since.

  • I used to go to a lot of concerts. Early on: Hanson (not embarrassed), Counting Crows, No Doubt, Blink 182, Green Day, U2, Incubus, Coldplay, Rilo Kiley, Ani DiFranco, Secret Machines. More recently: Dead Can Dance, Nick Cave, PJ Harvey, and a lot of Chicago Symphony concerts.*
  • In middle school and high school I hung out a lot at the local concert venue. Probably partially for the music and also partially because I thought I was super cool hanging out with all the hipster (before there was “hipster”) kids. I also went to a lot of open mic nights at the local bookstore.
  • I’ve played violin since 4th grade and I played piano for a few years in elementary school. I also dabbled in guitar. I learned the chords to play Wild Thing, but all I remember now is the G chord. I think.
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At an Open Mic Night at Borders. That used to be a thing. #highschool #braces

Yes, I have an iPod, I usually have something on in the car, and I do have favorite artists, but I don’t know what is new and exciting in the music world. I feel like I usually find out news about my favorite artists weeks after the fact. The only time I download new music now is to make a playlist that will inspire me to run at the gym. Or if it is something in any way related to PJ Harvey. Point is: I like what I like, I like a lot of things, but I’m not the kind of person who always has ear buds in or is lost without my iPod (…or if I don’t have all my music on my phone. What do kids do these days? I don’t have any music on my phone. Am I a loser? Whatever.)

*I also rarely go to concerts anymore because I refuse to go if I cannot sit down. I’m 5’2”. I can’t see if everyone is standing. And my feet start to hurt.

Exception: I will always go see PJ Harvey – regardless of the seating situation.

While I was driving the other day I was listening to my old iPod (which can’t hold a charge anymore, so it stays in my car, constantly plugged in). I was flipping through songs until I found one I liked. In doing so, there were a number of songs I listened to for a moment and then skipped past because I didn’t want to dwell on whatever memory popped into my head that was associated with that song. There are a lot of songs on my old iPod that remind me of middle school and high school and, most of the time, those aren’t memories I care to rehash. BUT…couldn’t that be a cool way to get inspired and write? Maybe?

So…let’s begin with 311.

My first car was a black Honda CR-V. I loved it. It was a great size, could hold a lot of stuff, the seats in the back folded down flat (to accommodate canvasses and my art supplies…duh), and I thought it was a cute car. Plus it got good gas mileage. This was before built-in MP3 player accommodations. I went through so many different MP3 player adapters in an effort to get one that would work well. The ones that patched into a local radio station were total crap. Anyway, most of the time I just listened to a CD. I’d make mixes of the music from my iPod and pop those in.

I had an assortment of friends each year in high school. My freshman year I was friends with this super smart guy who lived nearby. Since we lived near each other we were always on the bus together in the morning and then again after school. We had a biology class together and we had a lot of fun in class and working on projects. There wasn’t any attraction between us – nothing weird – we were just friends.

Sophomore year he started hanging out with a different crowd. In high school I was a total straight edge lame-o. I didn’t drink until I was actually 21. I didn’t smoke, I didn’t go to parties. I was pretty boring. This friend, and his new crowd, liked to drink and get high. We stayed friends, but hung out less and less.

(Photos of high school Kathleen. Please note: senior year bangs were in an effort to look like Jenny Lewis)

By the time I got my car, we were still friends but we had definitely grown further apart. Because I had my kickin’ CR-V, I’d pick him up sometimes in the mornings and give him a ride to school. (Yay! No more bus! Best part of getting a car in high school!) A lot of my mixes had at least one song by 311. Transistor, Electricity, Omaha Stylee, Beautiful Disaster. Now when I hear something by 311, this friend of mine and our early morning rides to high school come to mind.

I’m also reminded of an ex-boyfriend (probably not surprising – I feel like most people associate songs with exes). He was older than me – he graduated when I was a freshman in high school. We were friends throughout my time in high school and started dating when I was in college. We often talked about music when we were in our friendship phase. 311 was one of the bands we both liked. So sometimes when 311 comes on while I’m in the car I immediately skip to the next song.

I also vaguely remember watching music videos on MTV and liking Amber a lot when it came out.

The friend I used to pick up for school sometimes – we’re friends on Facebook. Unfortunately I’m not sure how well he fared in high school. He was so intelligent, but I think in the end he got majorly distracted and didn’t graduate with a very high GPA. I’m not sure what he did for college. I’m not 100% sure what he does now, but he does still like to drink and smoke. To each his own.

On to the next track.


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