A young woman walked by me this morning, stringy headphone wires dangling down from beneath her shiny, still shower-wet hair, thumbing glumly through the contents of an iPod. She nearly walked into a tree and just about managed to side-step a parking meter before one of her unsupervised feet finally stumbled off the sidewalk, losing its filthy flip-flop in the process. Without looking up from her iPod, she wriggled and stamped her toes back either side of the sandal band and continued staggering blindly down the street.
Later, no doubt, she would board a city bus, absently waving her monthly pass at the driver and slumping into a seat beside some other zombiefied commuter. Would she have found a song to listen to by then? It seems unlikely. After all, there is no music made that can possibly withstand the rigors of the daily grind.
Believe me, on my way to work I've listened to both Strauss(es), Rimsky-Korsakov and various versions of Wagner's Ride of the Valkyries on repeat play. I've tried Kraftwerk, Sidney Bechet, Astor Piazzolla, Dagmar Krause, Camille Saint-Saens, Shahram Nazeri and Slim Gaillard. I've tried the Splendour of the Baroque and even a Treasury of Medieval Song. I've tried Aphex Twin, Amon Duul, John Barry and the Bonzo Dog Doo Dah Band. In the spirit of "it's all about the journey, not the destination," I've tried Alice Coltrane's Journey In Satchidananda. But none of these has ever brightened up the long march to the office.