I mean, like the kids say, we been knew. But still, it always takes a moment of silence amid the noise to realise that music has always been that bitch and that’s all I have to say on that. Not literally, of course. I have a few more words.
I am in China on my lunch break walking down the stairs toward the food court at the local mall, because I am frozen and starving. Yes, cold and distance do not harm hyperbole.
Anyway, I get to the bottom of the stairs and I’m hit by a teddy bear promotion, but also by Coldplay’s Fix You. Let’s not even get into the toxic nature of that title. They meant well, but I would be waving a red flag if my psychologist told me to play this song outside the window of the love of my life while holding a boom box. It doesnt work. Trust me.
But I stopped in my best unintentional salt pillar pose, happy there was no one stomping behind me.
Music is so rude, just transporting one through time like that. Calm down, Back to the Future, we are in your future and its shit! Yet there I stood, yanked unsolicited through the years.
It was 2006 or -07 depending on how hard I’m keeping track of lying about my age. Beyoncé had just released the B’Day album. I was with my friend Lynne in Grassy Park or Retreat getting beers somewhere, when I spotted a field of sand. It was time to do the dust dance from the Deja Vu video, with the help of the aforementioned beers. It was a mess. “Come on, we have to go,” I heard.
Back on the back of the bakkie, we were headed somewhere. I don’t know where. I was in shorts and flip flops and under a blanket. For a second I thought I was being kidnapped, but dismissed the notion because I was not dressed for the occasion.
We got food. Probably a gatsby. I remember red-stained hands later. Even later, in Lynne’s single-room apartment that seemed like a palace at the time (and still would, to me) we had picked up some guys and I was slumped in the corner with another beer.
Her cousin came over and we spoke. She played music from her phone. Marco Hernandez – The Way I Do. Remember him?! Then Coldplay. Fix You. That damn time machine again.
For her, an ex boyfriend who committed suicide. He could not be saved. Maybe music could have helped him. Maybe not. Our eyes glazed over, drunken swaying and background noise. The guys talking, we faded back into that present. Maybe we are the ones who suffer by constantly being transported through time instead of that annoyingly mantra of our age, LIVING IN THE MOMENT. What’s so great about the moment anyway? It only seems to be great and profound in hindsight.
But the moment was calling nonetheless. Noodles in a spicy soup, and ice cream. Coldplay had wrapped up and I was garnering more stares than usual. From adults in teddy bear costumes, no less. I got my food and temporary warmth, and the music played on.