Category Archives: Story

People as Music

As we plot our way through life, our perspective changes. When we first experience something, it’s like seeing a building for the first time. We see one side as we approach. Over time, seeing its four faces and learning its corridors gives us a different perspective. Depth. Where the building once only mattered because of its coffee shop on the ground floor, it now also hosts the doctor’s office and that person you hope to run into. On first seeing the building there’s no way you could ever grasp its reality. You can only grasp what you perceive. But over time you might get a chance to gain a better appreciation. Or you might never see it again.

What was previously dissociated datum becomes a constellation, constellations a universe. In the same way, as we get to know people, each encounter fills in a point on an axis. Kindness, humour, intelligence, anger, selfishness, wit, efficiency. The more encounters, the more depth to the perception. When I get to know someone well and consider them friends, it means that the occasional encounter that provides an “our of character” experience can be dismissed as an anomaly. Unfortunately, if my first encounter is of an anomaly in that person’s character, it may lead me to keep my distance. It’s a tricky thing.

In a similar way, as I come to appreciate a piece of music I might listen to it very frequently at first. Sometimes it’s the only thing I want to hear for days, weeks even months. Eventually, though, I move on. It’s rare that I make a conscious decision to not listen to something. Often, I just drift away and towards other things. Years later, however, I’ll stumble across a song. With it will come memories. Places, people, situations, emotions. Things which really have nothing to do with that song. They were experienced when that song was prominent in my daily life. Good memories lead to a smile, painful ones lead to changing the station. These personal memories which are technically unrelated to the aesthetic appreciation of a song can create a sort of cage around the aesthetic response to the music. That whole combined experience of the memory and the song itself, however, can be very powerful and not something I could ever have planned or expected. A song that was peremptorily dismissed as a silly pop number years ago can now bring nostalgia and, in tow, strong emotions.

People can be seen as a song, or better, an artist. I might go through a period where an artist’s works fall our of favour. I often don’t stop to analyse why that music doesn’t do it for me any longer; I just move on. Years later when I stumble across a certain album again, a rush of memories and emotions accompany the encounter and creates a singular synergy. Unexpected. Powerful. Unplanned.

What’s rarest, though, are artists whose works stay with me uninterrupted. Songs which never leave my playlists, music I consistently approach when in certain moods. They’re as precious as they are rare. It’s not often that I realize that I’ve been listening to one song for over twenty years and its power continues unabated.

The main difference between music and a person, however, is that music does not walk away of its own accord to leave me staring helplessly in the middle distance.



Posted by on October 13, 2013 in General, Personal, Story

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Pointless Stories (VI)

He stood in the glass bus shelter, coat collar up, shoulders haunched. He lifted them higher whenever a gust of wind assaulted him. After a few minutes his shoulders remained just below his ears. He glanced at the bus schedule but rapidly looked away. In over fifteen years of taking buses these schedules had been an insult. He’d hurried to meet that schedule only to be let down every single time. When he saw these schedules he could only think that someone was being paid more money than he was to create and update them. For what. If he was late five minutes, if he had the temerity of letting a typo get by him, if… he needed to find another job. Read the rest of this entry »


Posted by on March 2, 2011 in Story

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Pointless Stories (V)

He sat in a padded chair by the window. The work lunch room was largely vacant save for one person reading a newspaper and another using the associate phone attached to the wall.  The former looked like he was staring through the paper at the wall before him. The latter was turned from the room and spoke in hushed tones.

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Posted by on February 24, 2011 in Story

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Pointless Stories (IV)

He averted his eyes for fear that she’d be unsettled by him looking at her. She looked so good. The outfit (colourful but not flamboyant, well fitted without a hint of promiscuity). The hair. Her glasses. He even noticed her shoes. He never noticed shoes. He willed his eyes away from her and back to the book he was reading, afraid that if she caught him staring at her she’d roll her eyes.

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Posted by on February 14, 2011 in Story



Pointless Stories (III)

Today the clock seemed to tick by perfectly. The day felt neither short nor long. He had two hours to go. He tore open the sip hole of his coffee cup and closed his eyes, wincing a little, anticipating scalding hot water to impact his lips. He opened his eyes and enjoyed a long sip. It’s been reported that there is nothing enjoyable about coffee. Analyses of its taste have left researchers bereft of reasons. Spicy foods are enjoyed by some apparently because of the way it hurts without harming, bitter foods reportedly become increasingly enjoyed as one ages. However coffee holds nothing. So they’ve written it off as a programmed act. They say one trains oneself to enjoy coffee. Regardless of what had happened leading to this moment, he enjoyed this coffee. Black. Hot. Bitter yet not. Salty yet not.

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Posted by on January 17, 2011 in Story

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Pointless Stories (II)

He walked into the large shopping mall, looking behind him as he was about to let go of the door. There was someone behind him at that awkward distance. Should he pause and wait a few seconds to keep the door open? Surely he’s far enough that he can keep walking… He paused. The man behind him was on the mobile phone. He glanced at the open door and kept his slow pace.

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Posted by on January 11, 2011 in Story

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Pointless Stories (I)

The cold had seeped in and made the bones in his fingers ache. He cupped his hands before his mouth and tried to warm them up with his breath, knowing full well that seconds later the pain would come back. He could picture his gloves sitting on the rickety chair by his front door. He berated himself. Told himself things he’d never let anyone say to him. Insults. Accusations of a feeble mental faculty.

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Posted by on December 16, 2010 in Story

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