Stephanie’s Infinite Playlist

I watch a lot of movies.  I don’t have a TV, so mostly it’s going to the cinema.  I probably go to the movies five or six times a month.  I almost always see things on the opening weekend because I’ve already seen everything else.  I have (many times) walked out at the end of a movie, turned around at the box office, and bought a ticket for whatever else was showing next.

This is because the cinema experience for me makes even a crappy movie pretty good.  If you watch a bad movie on the small screen, all you get is a bad movie experience.  But if you watch a crappy movie at the movie theatre, it’s still fun.  It’s bigger and louder.  You have the other people’s reactions to enrich the experience.  There’s the smell of popcorn and the knowledge that your phone is off and won’t interrupt you.  There’s the anticipation that there might be a preview for some awesome movie that you didn’t know was coming.  There’s Fredo the Magician.  There’s Mark-frickin’-Saltzman!  (Was that sarcasm on that last one, Stephanie?  Yes, yes it was.)  I love it all.  If the movie happens to be good, well all the better.  If you luck into something great, for me we’ve just moved into the realm of the sublime.

I actually only bring this up because I think my many many hours spent watching movies may be the reason that I am somewhat obsessed with the concept of the soundtrack.   Until very recently (I’m talking days) I thought this was completely normal, but the people I work with have assured me that it is not.

See, there was an emergency preparedness workshop that none of us went to because we were all too busy.  I think the main emergency they were thinking of was an earthquake.  Now me, I’m of the opinion that the earthquake, when it hits, will either be not a big enough deal for all this bother, or (more likely) it will be so bad that all of our preparedness will have been a big waste of time anyway.  I work on the sixteenth floor, so if there’s a serious earthquake while I’m at work, I wouldn’t place bets on our chances.  But not everyone shares my opinion.  So in lieu of the workshop, people were making up a plan of what we would do if disaster struck.  There was talk of keeping practical shoes in desks, as well as non-perishable food items and first aid kits.

And then I — getting into the morbid excitement of it all — brought up the concern of what music we would have.  Well, you’d think I had suddenly started speaking Swahili for the looks I got.  “What are you even talking about?” they wanted to know.  Of course (or apparently not of course), what I was referring to was the importance of having the right music to perform heroics and/or die dramatically by.  (Obviously we would need different pieces available for either or both eventualities.)

Now apparently, this is not something that anyone else had given any thought to.  In fact, they thought my even considering it was stupid.

I was shocked, I tell you, just shocked.

Because this is something I think about all the time.

  • While walking in to work on a day when I’m pretty sure I’m the sharpest tack in the box, or if I just need a confidence boost: “I am so *&^%$# rock, I am so *&^%$# rock, I am so @%$^%$# rock.”
  • While walking in to work on a day when I’m really not feeling it: “Work like a dog, whadda ya get, ‘nother day older and deeper in debt.”
  • While doing some awesome multi-tasking, “I got a twenty-dollar gold piece says there ain’t nothin’ I can’t do.  I can make a dress out of a feedbag and I can make a ma-aaaaan outta you.”
  • Studying will always be to classical.
  • The gym will always be to pop.
  • The beach will always be to Bob Marley and the mall will always be to that song from Clueless about being a supermodel.

Seriously, this never shuts off for me.  There is always something playing in the back of my head.

I also attach theme songs to people, usually based on prominent aspects of their personalities.  (If you know me personally, don’t bother asking what yours is.  I’m not going to tell you.)  And then, sometimes, I plan soundtracks for hypothetical situations, exactly like the one we were talking about at work.  Because it’s good to be prepared.

Maybe this means I watch too many movies.   Maybe this means I’m a freak.  Or maybe the people I work with don’t represent a complete cross-section of humanity and I’m not all that weird after all.  Whatever the answer, I’m really not all that concerned.

Life isn’t a movie.  It shouldn’t be.  It can’t be.  Among other things, it’s just too long and full of boring details that no one would care to watch.  (If you don’t believe me, get a hold of Andy Warhol’s excruciating film, “Sleep.”)  But my life, in my head at least, gets to sound like a movie, and I like it like that.

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