My Favorite Minor Phenomenon

Let me preface this first by saying this will be brief and probably my only attempt at writing this week because apparently, starting a new job and a new internship (more on that later) on top of an already full course load is super time consuming! Who’da thunk it? I do love being this busy, but it’s strange to have so little free time to do things such as blog. So as the film I need to watch tonight finishes downloading, I’ll write. Anyway, to the point.

I have to start by saying music is the absolute greatest joy of my life. Unfortunately, it is not one of my talents. The height of my musical career was my brief stint on the All-County Flute circuit in 6th grade. I could never sing (AT ALL. I cannot sing. It is painful for the audience.) or play any instrument but the flute, and as I got older, all the other flutists improved and I just didn’t. (I devoted less and less time and energy to the flute and more and more to my academics. Ultimately, realistically, the flute wasn’t going to get me into college. It’s sad how high school does that, isn’t it?) I’ve always been a very visual person, so I’m thankful I have film and I am talented in my own right, but regardless, I’m super, weirdly envious of people with musical talent and that’s because I’m in awe of music and all that it can do. (I’ll always have better spacial reasoning than you musicians though. Ha. Take that) “Arial’s” by System of A Down will forever remind me of my first, great unrequited love (who is now the closest of acquaintances and all I’ll say is God bless his girlfriend) and “Wonderwall” is ruined for me forever thanks to a botched high school romance. “How Much Is that Doggie in the Window” will bring me back to my grandpa always, no matter how many years he’s gone. The string break during “Ants Marching” still stings just a little because my last boyfriend used to make me laugh hysterically every, single time. There is no other medium that brings you so clearly back to a moment in time. I wish more than anything in the whole world that I had it in my arsenal of talents to manipulate and create music, but I don’t. So I just admire from a far.

But there is one, singular musical phenomenon that is probably one of my top five favorite things on the planet. That phenomenon is when you’re at a concert or in a bar or at a party and a song comes on and everyone knows the words and they sing along loud and uninhibited with no hint of self-conciseness. They all become so wrapped up in the song and the moment and where they are and who they’re with and the sense of unity is just so overwhelmingly beautiful. (On the other side of this, I absolutely hate people who are too cool to sing along or make comments about what the people around them sound like. You’re all soul crushing assholes and you will never really live. You’re the same people who stand around at general admission shows without moving or expressing anything. I hate you.)

Possibly the best moment of my life was when Paul McCartney performed Hey Jude at Citi Field. The music cut out and everyone just kept singing. This happens a lot at concerts, I know, but the magnitude and awesomeness of this singular moment literally brought me to tears. I stood and sang and cried a little and thought how awesome it must be to be Paul McCartney, standing on that stage in that giant stadium and knowing all of these thousands of people are singing your words. And then I realized I was one of those people. I was a part of something bigger than me and it was mind blowingly awesome. Similar moments have occurred the nights I saw Linkin Park at Jones Beach, Blink 182 at Madison Square Garden and John Mayer at Jones Beach. None of them will ever come close to Sir Paul, though.

Next is a moment that happens to me a few times a year but I look forward to it and love it every single time. A couple times a year (normally Thanksgiving weekend, sometime in January, March and then again over the summer once or twice) all of my friends from high school will get together and go out to a bar, and I mean all of us. At our largest, we probably run about 15 or 16 people, but rarely do all of us make it out on the same night. So, when this happens, it’s something special. Most of my friends disagree on music and atmosphere – some are country listeners, others prefer a club scene – but sometimes we come to a consensus. And, when the DJ gets it right and Bon Jovi comes on, my friends huddle up and raise their drinks and just scream the words like their lives depend on it and I love them for it more than you can ever know. (Also, if you have too much pride to sing Bon Jovi too loud in a bar, we’ll never be friends.) In these moments, I’m not sure if it’s the music that does this or the people I’m with or probably both, but I love it.

Music’s uncanny ability to recall memory and bring people together and remind you where and who you came from is why I love it so much and why it will be a part of me forever. I wish I was better at it, I truly do. But, I’ll just keep wearing out my Fall Out Boy CDs alone in my car, pretending I’m in 8th grade. I’ll be fine, probably.

(PS This thought was brought to you by last Friday’s commute home. I rest my case.)

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