Thursday, August 22, 2013

A Mix for the Road Ahead

My friend Sarah and her husband have a game they play when they're in the car for long stretches, a game which she taught me on a road trip she and I took together a couple falls ago. With the MP3 player or phone plugged into the stereo, the passenger chooses a song to play and explains why he or she chose to play it. After that song finishes, the driver chooses the next song—the catch is that the second song needs to be connected to the first in some way or another. When the driver tells the passenger which song to play next, he or she explains the connection the song has to the previous song: perhaps one line in the lyrics of the first song has a word or phrase that is also in the second, or maybe the first song brought to mind a story that reminded him or her of a person that loved this second song. The second song plays. Then it is the passenger's turn to choose again, and he or she tells the story of the connection of the second to the third. There is fun in the listening to the music, but even more fun in the telling of and listening to stories.

Though I'm back to work for a couple days of meetings and preparing my classroom, school starts with students on Monday. I'm excited and nervous. I dread waking up to alarms and peeing by the bell. I can't wait to thrill in the excitement of new learning and belly laughs. This year, I will have taught seventeen years. Occasionally, I think that I'm almost done, but more frequently, I look forward to many more years.

Right now, though, I've got the back to work jitters. I know I'll sweat a lot Monday, so I will need to wear something that hides sweat, but I'll also need layers because the A/C in my classroom is on steroids. I know I will be terrified of the quantity of names to remember because I'm no good at names, but I also know it eventually will happen. I know, from many years of doing this, the first day is one of the easiest days because everyone is on their best back-to-school behavior, so I will not be able to make any valid predictions about my students based on Monday. I also know that this year will be an awesome trip.

Let's put together a back-to-school mix, one to pump me up and keep me moving along on this adventure. I'll start.

I choose Pixies' "Here Comes Your Man." Walking my dog a couple days ago, this song came on my player as we were returning home. I began belting it out, and once in the backyard, hopped around dancing with my hands in the air. The Pixies are unique because they still move me. When I was 17, I thought I'd die without Pearl Jam, and when I was 23, I thought Weezer was doing something amazing. Now, I think "Hurl Jam" may be a better name for the former, and I usually skip over every Weezer song that ends up on a playlist. But the Pixies, they never went away. So far, that's true for teaching, too. Each year, I've been frustrated by something different, but I've also found new things and people to love about the job. I haven't reached an "I'm done with you." Teaching, so far, is the Pixies.

So, listen to "Here Comes Your Man," sing along with the Pixies' weird lyrics, see if you can keep from echoing, "so long, so long," howl along in the background of the guitar solo, and give me another song and story for this year's mix.


Terry at Blue Kitchen said...

I've got a bunch of old school for you, Christina. Almost any track off the Talking Heads "Stop Making Sense" album (don't get the remix—it sucks). "Rock & Roll" by Led Zeppelin. "On the Road Again" by Canned Heat (and not just because the title sounds like road music). "#1 Crush" by Garbage or "Local Gods" by Everclear, both from the Romeo & Juliet soundtrack. "Gimme Shelter" by the Stones. "(I Can't Get No) Satisfaction" (Devo's cover of the Stones tune). "Baby It's You" (The Smiths' cover of the Shirelles' original). "Crossroads" by Cream (studio version, not live). "Feeling Alright" by Joe Cocker. And "Please, Please, Please" by James Brown. If these don't make you exceed the speed limit or at least go the long way, I just don't know.

sarahww said...

My first gut connection: Cat Stevens, "Here Comes My Baby." Mostly because of the inversion of here comes your man. (here comes my baby…and it should come as no surprise to me with another guy…) Are they talking about the same guy?! WHOA!

Pasadena Adjacent said...

...and here leaves my baby

Ground Control to Major Tom

This one became a favorite when I was making my way over to the Rose Bowl to listen to U2 from outside the bowl. We were making our way across Suicide Bridge when they threw this up (before the band came on) and we stopped mid-way across the bridge and listened. It hammered down the arroyo and it was pure bliss

Anonymous said...

I have a connection to the Pixies right away. But then I spent a lot of time searching lyrics, watching songs on YouTube and reminiscing over old friendships. I love music it does a lot for me. But by the time I got back to this post, ground control to Major Tom was the order the day. For me it was the trip talking about the Rose Bowl. A friend in I used to do event staff, Yellow Jackets at concerts. we worked a concert at the Rose Bowl, Rock en espanol concert. we didn't care for the concert that much. So when we got to the car for the ride home, we played our new favorite soundtrack from the movie dead presidents. however we kept playing one song in particular, sometimes singing long, sometimes discussing it, and sometimes just playing it really loud and trying to look cool while we were driving. My choice is if you want me to stay by Sly and the Family Stone. Robert Y

Anonymous said...

I was about to say I had nothing to add, and then: