Have you ever had one of those moments where you unexpectedly get a good hard look at yourself? I mean a really candid look, without all those barriers and filters that we all put up each and every day between our inner selves and the outside world. Now, don’t play innocent with me. You know exactly what I’m talking about here. The kind of barriers that keep us from yelling at the barista who got our order wrong, from telling our boss what we really think of him, and from lecturing our friends on why they should convert to one of our chosen philosophies. Some may call it conscience, others may call it politeness, but it’s a survival tactic really. You know, the stuff that keeps us from being boorish and makes us suitable for civilized company. We all put up these walls, although not always consciously (and there are a few people out there who could stand to add a couple more coats of varnish to theirs–you know who you are). However, because the placement and use of these mental screens is not always premeditated, we can sometimes be shocked at what we see when they are casually swept to the side. It usually happens in an off moment, directly after you’ve opened your mouth about something. You give your opinion to your audience and then a little voice in your head pops in and asks, “Do you really mean that?” And your answer may catch you off guard.
Today I amazed myself by having one of these moments of sudden and brutal clarity. How did I pull off such a feat, you say? Well, this morning I got the sudden urge to text an old friend and ask what her top 5 bands are right now. We live across the country from each other, are at different points in our lives, and have very different beliefs–things that in this day of rabid partisanship have been known to tear friendships apart. We have weathered a lot over the years and still share one of those close bonds that time and circumstance do not seen to touch. But lately our conversations haven’t progressed much beyond how-are-yous, happy-birthdays, and condolences. Not from lack of affection, more from lack of time. And I realized that I had no idea what she was into these days. This seemed simple enough to remedy, so I thought I’d find out. What followed was a lovely and long conversation about what she is listening to now. She dropped names, some I knew and some I did not. But on the whole, there was much we had in common and I even got a few names of artists who–from the sound of it–I should know (something I am working on rectifying, let me assure you).
I was impressed and pleased that we had so much in common musically but still had new songs to share with each other. I thought to myself, it doesn’t matter what religion she prescribes to or that she is a member of the other political party, her music taste passes muster and that is what really matters.
That’s when it happened. That little voice in my head popped up and said, “Do you really mean that?” And I stopped… and I realized that yes, I really did mean it. And then I groaned!
When I was a teenager, I was accused by several friends of being a music snob. For me there was no worse insult, even then, but I admit now that I more than earned the title. I’ve talked about it before in previous posts, how I used to whine and moan and grimace when music I didn’t like was played in my presence. I was an awful little pain and I thought I had grown out of it. I truly did… but it seems that I was wrong. At best, I am a recovering music snob who happens to relapse every now and then. Apparently today was a relapse day. It appears that sometimes when those internal barriers come down, we find out that there was actually a second layer shielding us from ourselves.
On the bright side, I also reaffirmed that I do not need to be in the same ideological boat with someone to be their friend. I may be a music snob, but I guess it could be worse. And now while I go do some research on 12 step programs for the musically pompous, you get to see an amusing video from one of my friend’s current music picks: The Walk by Mayer Hawthorne (NSFW).