To the Mountains…

Thanks, Spotify, for letting me know that Puddle of Mudd’s “Blurry” was one of my top played songs in 2019. I’m not sure what that says about how I’ve emotionally progressed since middle school, but make of it what you will. I wonder how many of Spotify’s “Top Songs of the Year” playlists create a virtuous cycle in which you listen primarily to that playlist the following year, causing your “Top Songs” for that next year to be the same list. Another question I have is why every single white girl I know had at least one – if not many – Maggie Rogers songs featured on her Top Songs of 2019. Has anyone written a think piece about her appeal to the white, privileged female audience? (This isn’t a knock on her or anyone who listens to her – I enjoy her music myself – but genuine curiosity).

While I always enjoy my yearly recap of top songs, this year’s was especially interesting as it featured a look back on my top songs and artists of the decadeas well as top tracks by season. It’s crazy how well these songs correlate to specific seasons (literally and metaphorically) of my life. For example: I had MUNA’s new album on repeat during my four month injury recovery because it filled me with a kind of excitement and movement and hope despite not being able to leave the couch. Ben Howard features prominently on these playlists, and I can pinpoint the weeks of time when I had a certain song of his on repeat (literally, on loop for hours on end) and remember in detail the walks I went on while listening to it and what I was thinking about and what streets I explored and what the sunset looked like that night. Spotify calls its personalized, curated throwback playlists “Your Time Capsule” which might be the best way to describe music’s function for me: the facilitator of connection between myself and a place, or people, or emotion at a given time.

Kinda nuts to think about what my life would look like without music. Pretty empty, I imagine.

Anyway. I’m in the car with Thomas and Aaron; it’s late on a Thursday night and we’re driving up to Lake Tahoe for the weekend. I’m psyched for some mountains. And some beer. And an opportunity to wear fuzzy socks without my feet overheating. That last item there is what the holiday season is all about. I take that back – it’s also about stressing for weeks prior because you don’t have gifts for anyone and, if you do happen to have a gift, it’s not nearly exciting enough and you’ll need to supplement it with something else otherwise they will be disappointed and won’t love you. Don’t mind me, I’m just over here getting in the holiday spirit! Living in fear of letting everyone down and being abandoned! Ho ho ho!

Here’s a question for everyone: what’s your favorite holiday tradition? I need to lock down some new “traditions” for Thomas and I that I’ll force him to endure each year so that I feel fun and festive and like we’re a family who has traditions. The only one I attempted to institute this Thanksgiving was “give a speech before dinner about what you’re thankful for” but that didn’t work out because Thomas didn’t want to participate and sat there stubbornly until we all got too hungry and started to eat. (It should be noted that I even prompted him by saying, “You could say you’re grateful for me,” to which he responded, “I’m grateful that you have me.” I suppose I signed up for this.)

We’re cruising down 80 now and Aaron’s playing the kind of folk/rock-ish music that I only enjoy when driving to the mountains (think Silversun Pickups kinda stuff). It’s pitch black; I’m used to the bright overhead lights of Connecticut’s I-95 and am always overwhelmed by the feeling of isolation that washes over you on these dark, lonely roads. We pass the small towns that make me sad at night but transform into beauty and safety and light in the morning. I’m lucky to be in good company.

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