Donning proverbial fangs and claws, I’ve officially rejoined the rat race. (I can’t help but recall last week’s image of three plump, feral rats clambering around on the subway tracks in New York City; an all too appropriate visual aid.) I’m grateful for the natural light available at my window seat, the subsequent view of Pittsburgh from twenty-three stories up, and, of course, the steady paycheck that keeps my keester glued to the office chair.
The worst part about my new job, though, is the horrifying, total absence of music.
We’re not allowed to bring iPods or do anything “entertainment-related” on our work computers. They’re not even piping bad, contemporary jazz music softly into the office. I caught myself whistling a tune from Rachel Portman’s opera, The Little Prince, as I wandered the halls this morning—and immediately felt as naked and unwanted as a lone songbird in a post-apocalyptic land of death.
For me, music is water. I can go a little while without it, but not long. I need it on, constantly. (And of course we’re talking about film music here primarily.) I like music playing in the car, at work, in the evenings, in the mornings—constant, constant music.
I realize that I’d probably benefit from some good old monastic silence. With music continuously channeling into my brain, I rarely give my inner self a moment to just be still and contemplate life in all its quiet splendor. I say this, though, with my licker in my jowls. The idea of quiet contemplation is a nightmarish one for me. When I find myself alone in a car with no music, for instance, I inevitably start talking in strange voices or singing aloud. In many ways I think I’m allergic to silence. It can literally drive me insane.
It’s fair to say we live in an overstimulated culture. The incessant barrage of media (both visual and auditory) no doubt weakens our ability to concentrate, to appreciate, to meditate. Perhaps my addict’s dependence on music is simply a symptom of living in modern society, and not a positive one.
Still, imagined or not—healthy or not—I need music to survive. And working eight hours a day without sweet tones and melodies leaves my musical tongue parched, my musical body sluggish, and my musical kidneys working overtime to compensate for my musical dehydration.