Jealousy Leads to a New Discovery

My obsession with knitting subsided with the arrival of spring. I hate knitting in warmer weather, because my hands are hot and sweaty. It’s not a nice experience.

However, when the knitting stopped, I didn’t have anything to replace it and I missed my very early mornings of creativity. I attempted to read, but quickly gave that up as a bad choice when my eyes refused to stop watering. I tried taking the mini-laptop with me again, but had the same problem (which is a shame because there’s so much I could have done in the hours of travelling). I took to just sitting and staring out the window, which makes for a very long trip.

Then, one morning, a crowd of young people boarded the train. Laden with heavy looking backpacks, with a bedroll strapped to the top, they were obviously excited about the trek they were about to undertake. They kept to themselves, but found it difficult to contain the joy of being let loose in the world. The volume of their chatter increased, and then increased some more.

I understood their happiness, but for me (and the many other passengers sitting around them) it was just another work day. Just another boring trip, followed by another boring day at work, followed by yet another boring trip to get home again. What did we have to be excited about? Why should we have to bear witness to their excitement? Of course, it was pure jealousy that moved me to dig into my own backpack and bring out my iPod…and the earphones!

I never listen to music. And that’s not an exaggeration. I’ve always found music to be annoying, distracting. If I do have to suffer it, the volume is usually so low that only I know it’s playing. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been told “it’s not worth it if you can’t hear it”. But I listened on that day. For the first time, I joined the “music plugged directly into the head” crowd. It was foreign to me. My ears were a little sore when I got to work, because they are not used to being invaded like that. But – and here’s the interesting bit – I enjoyed it! I let the music wrap around me, so that the noise of the group diminished, and found myself in a likeable cocoon.

When I arrived home that night and told G what I’d done, he actually looked at me with concern. He was more than shocked. He loves music. He listens to music, of all types, all the time (with earphones when I’m around). I guess he thought something was wrong with me. It’s more likely he thought the something that was wrong with me, had finally turned right. Anyway, at my request, he loaded some of his albums onto my iPod. I had listened to the small selection I already had on there and now I had to find out what I liked and didn’t like. Where was I to start? I had no idea, so I let G decide instead.

For a week, I boarded the train, plugged the music in and listened. I listened to pop, rock, folk, instrumental, soul, celtic and even some rap. I listened to music from the 50’s and 60’s right through to modern day hits. I rarely touched the “forward” button and I would arrive home each day and tell G which ones I liked the most. He would take my iPod and make some changes – delete some, add some others. By the end of the week, I found myself not turning the music off when I reached my workplace station. I’d walk to work with the music still pumping. When I arrived at work, the first time, with the earphones still plugged in, my work colleagues gave me strange looks but said nothing. Everyone knows what I’m like with music.

I’ve discovered that listening to music on the train is a great way of filtering out idiots. I’ve discovered that I like all types of music, except heavy metal. I’ve discovered that the music I listened to before sounds totally different through earphones – better! I’ve discovered that, like anything, the body adjusts and my ears no longer worry about the inevitable invasion.

I like music! I can hardly believe it myself, so I can only imagine how hard it is for everyone who knows me personally to accept this sudden change in me.

And where ever those young people are, I really do hope they are having as much fun as they envisioned that morning, on the train.

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