I’m running. It’s late in the afternoon.
Through the headphones, plugged into my shiny green iPod, I hear the music from the wedding reception playlist I had created some months ago. Carole King. Joni Mitchell. Bowie. Dylan. All are represented.
I think of the way some people like to pick their music according to the activity or exercise or level of energy said activity/exercise expends. Like, for instance, people often say that they enjoy listening to something upbeat, excited, fast-paced, if they are running. It pumps them up, they say. Or, on the other end of the spectrum, as my friend Jake Kilroy says, you have the option to throw a copy of Shepherd Moons in the tape deck for a night of mellow, bubble bath relaxation.
Either way, people seem to choose the tunes for the tone of their activity, whether it be a guy sprinting to the sound of NOFX, or Jake getting wrinkly toes in the tub with Enya.
But does it have to be this way? Can I not listen to something slow and melancholy while running excitedly along? Does the sound of my footfall need to coincide with the rhythm of the music?
I say no!
Midway through my run, an Edith Piaf song whispers through the headphones. It’s so beautiful and inspiring, and while I don’t need to change my pace, I nonetheless think of those moments you find in movies in which violent scenes take place and some tonally combative tune plays in the background, giving it a level of eeriness, or irony, or what have you.
I think of these scenes.
And yet, I remain at peace. It’s an odd feeling.