A Change of Scenery 4.19.12

I’m one of those people that still keep CDs in the car. And by keep, I mean the life span of a single CD in my car’s stereo system averages around a full year. Just last month I took out the mix that lasted my entire senior year of high school—it was a mix CD of new music from a friend, the type of CD that possesses entertainment that could outlive a cat.

Today Pandora happened to greet me with a substantial song from the playlist: “World Spins Madly On”, a melodramatic song by the Weepies.

Maybe I’m naïve, but I often imagine life as a bunch of set changes in an old community playhouse. First there’s the exposition: familiar surroundings, establishment of a “home”, and a close-knit group of friends and family. From the beginning we learn to claim our beginnings within a certain setting, whether the memories retained from the place are pleasant or less admirable.

The audience becomes familiar with the fake shrubbery, witty best friend, and the wooden outline of a house. And suddenly, when we feel most familiar with our surroundings, the lights dim and there’s a change of scenery. We’re thrust into something completely foreign—a bittersweet tug from old to new.

And as Zoey Deschanel sings to me, “change is hard, I should know.”

A year ago I would still be sitting through a seven-hour school day, spending time with my dear friends dancing, shopping, and talking just as we did nearly a decade before.

Our town was marveling over a new traffic light (which made a grand total of four traffic lights), the opening of the first fast food chain (Subway) downtown, and permitted parking for seniors at the high school, something that had been heavily restricted for over fifteen years.

Sometime around a year ago I was soaking up some final moments with my high school music department on a Senior trip to New York City, still digesting the fact that in a few weeks time high school would be only a short-lived memory.

And then, the set changed.

Somehow I find myself in a small campus coffee shop, using time allotted for a research paper to begin something I’ve wanted to do for a while, even a year ago.

And a year ago, the music I played was about to undergo a set change.

As the stagehands took away the clean-cut shrubbery and white picket fence, the notes on the sheet began to blur.

Whereas I use to find myself glued to picking patterns and simple folk progressions, I’ve replaced my musical scenery with real books and piano standards. I’ve found a place to connect a lyric to a half diminished seventh chord, and lovely musicians to inspire and push me along in life.

I’m living with my closest friends, building new relationships every day, and attempting to finish off that last research paper before three in the morning.

I’m trying to find my way down a path to the feet of something beautiful.

Now I know that my minds on old mixes and playlist mode today, but seriously, “the dog days are over” folks.

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