Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Soundtrack To My Day

Happy Groundhog day!

How pathetic that I get excited about a weather-predicting rodent. I just like any excuse for a holiday-themed party. If this was a weekend, it might have even happened. So Punxatawny Phil saw his shadow- 6 more weeks of winter. But I think Phil must be on crack, because we haven't even really had winter yet. So I looked into some other Groundhog options, and Balzac Billy (in Alberta) did not see his shadow, so an early spring. Geographically, for me, Billy seems more right on. But I encourage you all to do some research and find a Groundhog that suits your own needs.

So I don't know if I have ever mentioned this, but we don't have a radio in our office. We just have the sweet, sweet sounds of typing and phone ringing to create the soundtrack of our day. Until sometime last year when they were doing construction on the roof and the sound of a concrete drill thing (that is the technical term I believe) distracted all of us. In perhaps the one decent thing my former d-bag-with-no-name boss did, we were allowed to listen to our own music. Both headphones in.

And this kind of stuck after the construction workers left.

There are risks involved. Namely that you will forget that you are supposed to be working and stop listening for footsteps behind you, while you look at someone's awesome blog (or write on your own) and then have John appear beside you. There is also the annoying habit that some have of blasting their music into their ears so that I can hear what song they are listening to down the hall. And finally humming along, or even singing along with your music- annoying as hell.

Oh, and also, I got new headphones, the kind that have that little rubber thing around the earbuds, to block out more sound? Yeah, I cannot eat with those in. It amplifies the sound of chewing- hella annoying.

But if you can get past all that- you will find that your own music sometimes allows you to escape from your Cubicle prison for 2-3 minutes, and relive some more positive memories associated with the songs (like smell triggers memory, so does music). Here are some songs that do this for me.

The one that triggered this thought process (don't judge): Daniel Powter's You Had a Bad Day. This always takes me back to that first week as an au pair when it came on the radio as we drove the kids the 5 blocks to their school (I tried to make them walk, the mom said no- wtf?), the outgoing au pair said to me, "This song always makes me feel better after a morning with the kids." After that, it would come on at practically the same time and I would always remember to breathe. Even the morning after I had parked the van at the school and someone had hit it while I was taking the kids in. And I had to go back to Monster Mama and tell her what happened. Boy was she pissed...but I had a bad day. And actually- it wasn't my fault. I wasn't even in the car!

Another song from that summer- The Beach Boys' California Girls. There were 4 of us that summer- 2 South Africans, me and a girl from California. Every weekend saw us at the same piano bar, requesting songs that never got played. One weekend we did our research and found that one of the players loved The Beach Boys, so we requested a song. He didn't play it- said the harmony wasn't right for one person. But then he played California Girls instead, looking right at my friend and saying that everyone knew California girls were the most beautiful (he knew where we were all from- they totallly hooked up later in the summer). He's famous in the Netherlands now- Roel van Velzen. How cool were we?

The soundtrack to Wicked or Coldplay's Viva La Vida album make me think of when I went to London. Adele's album reminds me of paper writing (which I would actually rather do than work here). If I want to relive recent concerts I will listen to Gaga, Mika or U2. If I need to work faster (like I will after this) some Lily Allen (particulary F*ck You) helps out. Dolly Parton knew what she was talking about when she wrote 9 to 5.

James Blunt's 1973 and Feist's 1,2,3,4 remind me of a particularly hazardous roadtrip from Amsterdam to Brussels with my mom. The Boyfriend had made me a CD and I took it with me when my mom, sister and I drove to Brussels to visit my aunt and uncle. Well I can't drive standard very well so my mom had to drive the rental car. Turns out my mom was seriously out of practice. I cringed every time she had to merge, tensed up when we had to start after a light, tried to distract myself with passing scenery as we careened all over the place. My mom (love you) isn't a good driver in the best of conditions. Add a foreign highway, a standard car, a bored 11 year old and bad weather and its a miracle I'm even sitting here telling yout this story.

Last night I made a new memory. Ke$ha's ubiquitous Tik Tok was on at the pool during aquafit (yeah, I went again. And you should too) and The Record turned around and said "doesn't this make you feel like a whore?". It kind of did, and that will forever taint my association with that song.

And finally (and kind of randomly) there is John Denver's West Virginia. If you have ever been to Oktoberfest in Munich (maybe "in Munich" wasn't necessary, but I know they have a version of Oktoberfest in Ontario...so maybe it was) you will know that they have a hard on for this song. I mean, its a good song. It just seems kind of out of place in a German beer festival no? But they love it. Its the soundtrack to my Oktoberfest. And everytime I hear that song, I am instantly transported back to a hazy day in late September (confused? Oktoberfest is rarely all in October) where I was dressed like a traditional Bavarian, drank my weight in delicious golden German beer, and The Boyfriend said "I love you" for the first time. Altogether now- awww. But mostly, there was beer. Oh, and rides! If you go, please watch where you step. Beer and rides do not a good combination make.

I have learned all sorts of coping mechanisms in my time here- emailing, messsaging, phone facebooking, blogging, but music probably saves my a$$ most often.

What's on your daily soundtrack?


  1. "I'm talking about everybody getting crunk, crunk... Boys tryin' to touch my junk, junk"

  2. you had to look that up didn't you?

  3. I would recommend getting small speakers to have on your desk. You can turn the volume down low enough to enjoy, but no one else can hear. The perfect mix.

    Currently in love with Pandora internet radio and listening to Sister Hazel. I feel about 15 years younger . . .

  4. Sure did, and I felt sort of whorish just writing it ;)

  5. Aunt BT: Speakers aren't allowed. It would solve some problems, but probably create more when Maurice decides to do the same. What I need is a mirror put up somewhere so that I can see who's coming.

    Record: go take a shower to wash the whore off.