There was this very nineties television show that Will absolutely hated and made fun of all the time. I guess that nearly every woman he had ever dated loved that show, and he was quite surprised when I confessed near total ignorance of it’s content beyond what I would read about it on occasion or overhear from the show’s faithful with whom I worked. I do recall though that the main character visited a psychiatrist who believed that a woman should have a theme song and urged this character to adopt a song and play it in her head for inspiration. I was surprised by the reaction this elicited from most of the people I knew who watched the show. They thought it was a funny and bit beyond quirky thing to do. Indeed I believe the doctor was written as a bit of an oddball. I didn’t think her suggestion was weird at all. I have a virtual soundtrack for my life. Songs that can pull me out of time and right back to the circumstances that provoked my adding them to the playlist that is as much a part of me as the books I have read or the movies I have seen or the television shows I can recall in minute detail.
Music is one of the reasons I survived the past several years. My iPod literally saved my sanity during the months that Will was in hospice and the year following his death. One song is particular comes to mind too. The Middle by Jimmy Eats World. The chorus is even now a very powerful influence and it never fails to pick me up or push me onward.
It just takes some time, little girl you’re in the middle of the ride.Everything (everything) will be just fine,
everything (everything) will be alright (alright).
It was a shared love of Grunge that bridged some of the ten years between Will and I. He introduced me to Metallica and I convinced him that rap and hip-hop were real forms of musical expression although he never learned to like it much. There was one song around the time we were first together that we heard nearly every time we were listening to the radio as we drove from here to there. So incessantly did it dog us that Will was prompted to dub it “our song” though a less likely suspect for a romantic song you couldn’t possibly find it is eerily prophetic in retrospect. The song was What It’s Like by Everlast.
God forbid you ever had to wake up to hear the news
Cause then you really might know what its like to have to lose
Before Rob and I fell in love and were still just internet friends who wrote prolific quantities of email and conducted rather lengthy IM chats, he would send me mP3’s he had essentially liberated from his public library or was introduced to by his girls. Some of the first songs were by tOOL. Jambi and Right in Two were songs he had listened to over and over in the first months after Shelley died. We’ve discovered only recently that we both have the annoying (to other people) habit of playing a track, or tracks, over and over until we have somehow satisfied our souls need of it. I don’t know what Shelley thought of that but it drove Will crazy. I was inspired by these two songs to actually track down the CD and buy it ( I wasn’t corrupted yet) partly as a way to get to know Rob better but also because I knew that Will would have loved this music. I wasn’t as fixated on the lyrics as Rob was. In fact I hardly heard them at first. It was the sound. It brought Will back and at a time when I needed that. Eventually though I came to hear the twisted humor in some of the writer’s songs, particularly those he did with Perfect Circle and I saw the music as Rob.
The first romantic song Rob sent me was Desperately Wanting by Better Than Ezra or was it Got You Where I Want You by the Flies? The first CD he sent was Tom Petty’s Greatest Hits. The first time we made love was to the oddest collection of songs that just happened to be on his laptop at the time. The first time we danced though was to a carefully crafted playlist.
I couldn’t imagine a life without a musical background. How would you keep your memories in order? Pull them up with perfect recall? Feel the same emotions. I can’t listen to Desperately Wanting and not remember the week before Idaho Falls. Just as I can’t hear Mazzy Starr’s Fade Into You and not remember that Will chose that as our first dance song after hearing it in a movie we watched one night on television. And although it is now rare that I hear the Everlast song, whenever I do it is at a moment when I am wondering about directions or decisions and I always take it as a sign that I am on the right track.