Back in the days when I was a factory worker, if I did not stay awake all night after my shift, I would fall asleep at three in the morning and awake sometime past noon. Now that I am a hack, I fall asleep at twenty-two of the clock and then rise at five. Or, more accurately: I awake at half past two and think strange thoughts till five.
I like my new schedule: getting up before dawn makes me feel like I’m a burglar snooping around inside my own house. And, since the sun is not even in the sky yet, there’s nothing to shake my fist at—nothing to curse. I feel like I’m training myself for old age. Daily, I tell myself: Dressing in the dark will help you prepare for blindness.
During those couple hours of limbo that I routinely endure before my too-early rising, I have the best dreams: they’re the type that do not begin or end properly; and they stick to the rules of reality closer than usual. An evil man is lurking just outside of my bedroom: he creeps forward to murder me, and I can neither move nor speak.
But enough about the joys of sleep and dreams; the only reason that I am writing this entry, dear diary, is to complain about waking.
Today I awoke feeling instantly angry and agitated. The neighbors across the street were playing their music so loud that I could hear it over the sound of my bedroom fan. I had to tell myself: Try to focus on how good you have it in life—at least you’re not in the hospital for any reason; at least you’re not staked out in a deadly war zone.
I hate counting blessings: I think that it prevents improvement. To focus on one’s blessings during hard times causes one to settle into the bad and be content with worse conditions than one deserves.
But I question that word “deserves.” Does one deserve a better life? How should one find out what one truly deserves? (Now that word “truly” bothers me. As if anything can truly be discerned.)
- Someone is washing their vehicle as you walk by their driveway, and you hear music playing on their radio.
- Passing a store at the mall, you hear music being pumped through its ceiling speakers.
- The sound of the neighbors’ music wakes you today.
I could go on and on listing circumstances where other people’s music affronts your hearing. I just have one question: Why is the music that others play always so awful?—without fail, it is ignorant, lazy, and plain—it just frumps along dowdily.
I favor music that demands one’s attention. The music that I like cannot be played at a party or during a conversation at dinner—its essence, because of the dominance of its artist’s personality, would come off as annoying: the composition would be competing for your attention rather than tamely waiting in the background.
People assume that some music is friendly to the general populace, as if it automatically appeals to all—like certain varieties of rock, or what passes for party music. I’m stunned to learn that I’m the only one who hates this stuff. (I hate it all.)
Genres of music seem to follow a lifecycle just like humans: I mean, a musical genre will be born with wild wisdom and verve; then, after a while, it’ll become a responsible adult: boring, complacent, smug. This process of decay usually takes about twenty years for a human, and a decade for a musical genre.
I think I might have said this before—if so, I’ll repeat it, because the odds are that nobody was listening. Take almost any genre of music: I tend to love its earliest manifestations as much as I loathe its late ones. Fill in the blank with any genre you can think of: I love early [blank] music, I hate late [blank] music.
Since my favorite musical genre is rap (because I secretly think that music is the poison for which rap is the antidote), I’ll insert that into the statement above: I love early rap music, I hate late rap music. (We misread the Y2K prophecy: we thought it meant that all of our computers would go bonkers at the turn of the century; but it really meant that rap would suffer a stroke.)
I wish that I had not ended this thing with a negative thrust. I would rather be uplifting. I am all for happy endings, because I see them as the imagination’s triumph over reality.