Monday, October 8, 2012

Lessons Learned from the Music Listenin' Dude

This afternoon I decided to go sit outside the library while I ate my lunch. It's a lovely, sunny afternoon, and I doubt there will be many more of these that will be warm enough to allow for me to sit outside comfortably in my shirtsleeves. So I took advantage. While out eating my sandwich I sat near this guy:

I realize that isn't a great picture, but allow me to point out a few things. 1) The dude is asleep. 2) He doesn't have any book or anything else in his lap that he was looking at before falling asleep. I realize his backpack is blocking that out, but trust me, no book, no nothing. 3) He has his headphones in. Again, the picture quality is bad, but again trust me. 4) He's barefoot. He didn't get there that way; you can see his removed flip-flop next to him. 5) He's sitting in the shade. The light you see on his shirt is a reflection from a window, not direct light from the sun. 6) Look at the ledge he's leaning against. In fact, here's a better look at its ledgeiness:

Clearly that's not the kind of thing someone leans against who is planning on falling asleep. If he wanted to sleep, he would have found one of the numerous couches on campus and laid out comfortably. 

So now we can draw a few conclusions. He didn't come here to sleep. He didn't come here to study or read. He didn't come to catch some rays. He tried to make himself comfortable (flip flop removal). Finally, and here's the key, he put in his headphones to listen to some tunes before unintentionally falling asleep. From this evidence the conclusion that I draw is this: he came to this spot with the express purpose of listening to his music.

Just think of it. Here you have a college student who, midterm, decided to find time to sit down as comfortably as he could, intent on doing nothing more than listening to music. He didn't feel like he had to fill every waking moment with school work, or on his phone checking his facebook status, or playing with some gadget of some sort. He sat down on the cement, took off his sandals, queued up some sweet tunes, and just let it ride. 

I feel like there's a lesson in this somewhere. Let's see what we come up with.

Usually we only ever listen to music when doing something else or if we're at some kind of live music event of some sort. We listen to it while working, while driving, while exercising, or while doing any number of other activities that take the forefront of our thoughts. Background music, then, has largely become the place of music in our society. But why do we listen to music in these instances? It's because it calms us down. It keeps us focused. It rouses our souls and gives us the energy we need to complete a task. It keeps us awake when needed. We constantly use music as a means of controlling and channeling our attitudes, emotions, and states of mind. Why then, do we relegate it secondhand status?

We hear a lot about stopping to smell the roses, or look at the roses, or prick our fingers on the roses or any number of other things we can do with roses. In this vein I feel like we need to stop using music as a means to an end, but rather promote listening to music as an end all its own.

So here's what I say, we (and when I say "we" I of course mean "I") need to occasionally take some time out of the business of life to just sit down and listen to awesome musics. As to the question of which musics are most awesome, I have no answer. Each must answer that individually. But I feel like no matter what musics we deem awesome, this mindset and this act could prove a benefit for any and all. 

Anyway, these are my procrastinatory thoughts on this the 8th day of October in the year of our Lord two thousand twelve.


  1. Sometimes when I'm driving I will purposely take a longer route home so I can listen to music - when I'm in those moods, I'm happy to get caught at red lights. In that case, I'm using driving as an excuse to listen to music.

    So when do I actually ever listen to music just to listen to music? Not often. Good thoughts.

  2. I crank up the classical on my husbands sound system in our house. Especially when the neighbors next door are pounding the rap through the walls.