It's 7:30 pm. I am seriously considering going to bed right now. I have had a pretty stressful and craptastic week. I think things will radically improve in my life in a few weeks, but for now, I'm living on the edge of two not so great realities with the Sword of Damocles hanging above my head. Does this make any sense to you? Probably not. But that's okay. These last few sentences have been more therapy for me than information for you.
What you need to know is this: I'm having a hard time lately, I'm pretty stressed, I'm not sleeping well, and I want to hide in a hole from everything obnoxious in my life. This leads to the urge to tuck into bed at 7:30 on a Friday night. And if it weren't for Satan's Cat and her unpredictable ways, I might attempt it. Instead, I'm going to blog for a little, both to relieve stress and to make the evening go faster. And I'm going to eat some Starbucks Java Chip Frappuccino Ice Cream. Have you eaten this stuff yet? Because seriously, amazing! Go try it now. Seriously. I'll wait. Actually, while you're off running to the grocery store, I'm going to pry the sleeping cat off my legs, run to the kitchen, and pull my pint-o-awesome out of the freezer. Be right back.
Okay. I'm back. And I've got the ice cream. Delicious! Next, to turn on the music and come up with a blog topic. Yep, I'm doing it again: 250 words in and I have yet to talk about anything remotely resembling an cohesive theme. My high school English teachers are clutching their heads in pain right now, I'm sure. I guess I should get on with it and starting saying something useful or entertaining before you all stop reading. But before I do, can I just tell you how difficult it is to type with a spoon in your hand? Riddi9culusly digficul;t...
Anyway, today's topic: noses and music. Wait, what? Just go with me for a second, okay? They say that nothing can bring back memories more quickly and more vividly than our sense of smell (I don't know who they are exactly, but I've heard this many places). You've probably all experienced it at one time or another. Catch a whiff of a scent and you're suddenly back in your grandmother's house as a small child, at a county fair, or in the embrace of your high school love. Sometimes, scents don't even evoke any images, just a sudden rush of emotions you can't quite identify. Anyway, they (whoever they are) say that our olfactory nerves are the greatest link to our memories.
If scents are the best link, then music is the second best. I have absolutely no scientific data to back up this idea, but I have a lot of anecdotal evidence. And since this is my blog and I needed something to write about today, you get to hear my anecdotal evidence.
The first piece of evidence I have is this: Sister knows all of the names of all of the countries of the world. Is she a genius? Maybe. I've never checked. But her IQ level has little to do with it. It's actually due to a cartoon show called Animaniacs (Do you guys remember them? They were awesome and hilarious.) She learned the countries of the world from this song here. Plus, Sister-In-Law remembers everything from her 4th Grade year, because her teacher taught everything with a guitar (she even remembers non-school stuff and she claims that it's all linked to the songs).
So, that's kind of evidence. But maybe more evidence of learning with music that music bringing back memories. But it goes to the point. Here's my second piece of proof: I cannot listen to *NSYNC's first album without immediately feeling insecure, inadequate, and faintly depressed. And it's not just because of their over-highlighted hair, their incredibly baggy pants, or their femininely high voices. It's because it was the very first CD I ever bought myself and I listened to it practically every day of 6th Grade. And 6th Grade was a bad time for me. In so many ways, I cannot count them (I'm probably not unique in my middle school experiences and don't claim to be, so can we all agree it was bad? Thanks.). Because I don't like to go back there or feel like that, I don't listen to that CD. Or Ricky Martin's Livin' La Vida Loca. Because no.
You need more? Okay. Today, I was listening to my Josh Kelley station on Pandora (I love him and if it weren't for Katherine Heigle, I would be having his babies right now). When Roommate was in town, Sister and I introduced her to Josh Kelley (His music, not him personally. Because I don't need any more competition, thankyouverymuch) and she loved him almost as much as I do. So when his song came on my iPhone, I was immediately in the car on the way to the glacier, the sun shining and Roommate in the seat next to me. Then Michael Bublé came on after him and I was again with Roommate, this time studying (okay, dancing really) in our tiny dorm at college at midnight. These two experiences right after one another almost killed me, by the way. Because Roommate is not here and will not be within at least 500 miles of me for about a year. Musical memories can do that to you.
Music is so powerful, it can make use recall memories that aren't even really ours. Yes, I just reread that and it doesn't make much sense to me either. I work better in examples: I'm listening to a Lifescapes album while I type this and I feel like I'm starring in a Jane Austen adaptation. I should be writing a letter to an unrequited love with quill and parchment instead of blogging to a readership that is likely composed entirely of robots. Music can change our moods instantaneously, even if we have no memories associated with the particular song. Because music speaks to our souls, not just our brains (take that, olfactory senses!). I know in my life, a good angry rock song at the end of a bad day can lift me out of my funk, but put on something mournful or balladish and I may finish the day in tears. Even actors listen to specific kinds of music to get emotionally ready for difficult scenes, because they know that music offers a window into the human experience.
So, I have a question for you, because I have to ask you a question at the end of posts like this to make you think I have put some kind of thought and planning into it and also to make me look really philosophical and crap. Here goes: How does music affect you? Do you find memories linked to music? Can a song change your mood? Is it the lyrics or the instruments that impact you? Tell me about your musical experiences, will you?
P.S. Hey look! It's 9:30 pm. I might be able to go to bed without feeling like a complete loser. And also, the cat may not eat the flesh off my bones at this hour. But she probably also won't let me sleep in tomorrow morning. Luckily, Sister gets home Monday morning, so only three more sleeps until I don't have to fear a feline death.
P.P.S Did your mother ever count days in "sleeps" when you were little? As you can see, mine did.