Friday, April 04, 2008

There is water at the bottom of the ocean.

And sometimes I need to be reminded of it.

"There is water at the bottom of the ocean."

This is one of the very first songs I loaded onto my recently acquired MP3 player. If there's a song I should have at the disposal of my auditory apparatus, yielding to the control exerted by my little finger, available to me at all times and forever, this is it.

Having come to the end Chapter 11 of Great Expectations, being all that I'd foreseen to load, I find myself waiting for a train and having to listen to — gasp! — music. (The audiobook listening on my daily commute is immensely enjoyable, by the way. I will continue with this book, and I will find others. But this is "reading" to be entertained and distracted. I will not expect an audiobook to change my life, nor that I remember it for very long.) Music!

I stand there, toe tapping, body swaying. I feel conspicuous. I restrain myself from humming, but it takes a great deal of effort. I smile. I feel like I have a secret.

(I have a few secrets.

'What am I?' he said, as if speaking to himself, but using the driver's own language. 'I'm a man with a secret, that's what — a secret which only the emperor's ears may hear.' The driver felt reassured: the fellow was a fool after all. There was no need to treat him with respect. 'Keep your secret,' he said. 'Secrets are for children, and spies.' The stranger got down from the cart outside the caravanserai, where all journeys ended and began. He was surprisingly tall and carried a carpetbag. 'And for sorcerers,' he told the driver of the bullock-cart. 'And for lovers too. And kings.'

I have a review copy of Salman Rushdies's The Enchantress of Florence — I'm loving it.)

I am mystified that for all the wired heads I see riding the metro, more people aren't tapping their toes, swaying their bodies, restraining their hums. Have we lost (are we being trained to lose) the capacity to feel the music?

Perhaps this is why I listen to music so relatively little: it carries me away too easily.

There is water at the bottom of the ocean!


Anonymous said...

Carry the water at the bottom of the ocean!

Anonymous said...

This is not my beautiful blog. However: it's nice to see someone enthusiastic about music and their mp3 player. So many people are jaded about the whole thing. Great music can do great things.

The new issue of Audiofile magazine has a bunch of recommendations for audiobooks that are family-friendly - good for trips, enjoyable for kids and adults, classics and new stories. It's a good list -