Music and slowness

I'm in pain today, and feeling compelled to listen to music. I'm also smoking pipe tobacco and drinking bourbon at 3:30 PM, but that's beside the point. Anything for comfort is what I told myself. But maybe it isn't comfort. Maybe it's distraction. Maybe that wasn't beside the point after all.

Milan Kundera wrote a book called Slowness. It's a thin book and it was some years ago - Kundera is getting slow himself. But the point of the novel was that people increase the speed of their lives to escape pain. For me it's a very concrete analogy: to drive fast, you have to concentrate on the road. That leaves no room in your mind for what's bothering you. The book left me thinking that a lot of modern life must be optimized to minimize mindfulness. (Hi, Jack.)

To return to my earlier train of thought, this is where I admit that for a guy who professes to love music, I don't listen to nearly as much of it as I could. In other times music was my constant companion. I measured tasks - washing the dishes, lovemaking - by how many album sides they they occupied. Not any more; I might be sitting right in front of my computer for hours and not put anything on. It seems too much trouble to pick something, and often too distracting when I do.

Distracting. There's that word again. Here I am, distracting myself, for a change.

The point of this post, besides the comfort I get from writing it, is that music is escape. It's something to concentrate on, it's permission to feel about something without thinking too pointedly about it. I speak only for myself, of course. However slow the music might be, life needs to be slower to be lived.

Now playing: Cruiser, by Red House Painters, from the album Old Ramon.