On family car trips it was usually Dad who chose the music. While young me preferred it more than talk back radio or listening to the footy, often I would want to listen to the music I liked; which is what I did once walkmans came on the scene. As I’ve grown older though my musical tastes have bent closer and closer to my Dad’s, so much so that most of the artists I like quote the same musicians Dad liked as their inspiration. One of the songs Dad listened to (on repeat) was Fast Car by Tracy Chapman. One of my favourite musicians is Passenger, who’s recently released an album of cover songs – including Fast Car by Tracy Chapman. It is, of course, today’s blog song.
Current chain of writing days: 10
The man moved through the crisp morning air, two voices speaking in his head. The first was his own, delivering the usual commentary of thoughts and observations, cataloging and sorting all input into the relevant folders and sub-folders within his mind; connecting dots, finding patterns. The second was not due to any sort of split brain insanity, but was simply an audio book. This second voice, that of an author reading his own work, emitted inside his skull next to his own. Or, perhaps it was emitting from the metal, plastic, and glass rectangle in his pocket. Or was it from the tangle of wire finishing in tiny speakers that led from the rectangle to his ears? The man wasn’t really sure, now that he thought about it. Like most of the technology he used he had no idea how it worked, and so the actual source of the sound was a mystery to him. The headphones seemed like the likely culprit, but they were just soundless cords without the rectangle, and even combined those two would be a metaphorical tree falling in a forest without the addition of the fleshy protuberances sticking out the side of his head. He didn’t know. All he knew was that the words were first spoken on the other side of the planet, months or possibly years ago, and yet somehow, amazingly, were now rolling through his head, causing thoughts of sounds and their origins to flow along behind them.
It was then that he realised he hadn’t taken in a single word the second voice had said for the past five minutes or so. He admonished himself and tuned the first voice to concentrated harder on the second. Other sounds came from around him, but he told himself to ignore them. Traffic, the movement of the wind, dogs barking and people talking, the sound of his own breath as his legs turned in place while simultaneously moving forward. Another device he didn’t truly understand. There he was balanced on two wheels, his feet orbiting endlessly around the epicenter that was the frame of his bike, the two maintaining the same trajectory to one another and yet at the same time both propelling ever onwards; a miniaturised example of the earth’s relationship to the sun. It was so easy to forget sometimes that the whole solar system was racing through space much the same way he and his bike were flying through the air. That right now he wasn’t just moving across the earth, as his perception told him, but charging forward through space itself. That if you took away the bike and the planet he rode on to leave just the man and the vastness of space, you would see him hurtling forward, rotating wildly as he went, like a dysfunctional superman.
He had stopped listening to the audio book again, he realised. Focus, the first voice told itself. You really want to hear this book, you’ve been wanting to consume it for a while. Stop letting your thoughts distract you. You can write them down or something once you get to your destination. Maybe share them on your blog. But for right now you need to listen. He turned his mind back towards the book, letting the words take over his thoughts and paint pictures in his head. Another phenomenon he didn’t completely understand. Brains and their ability to take words on a page (or a screen), or spoken into one’s head, and create images that can then be recalled as if seen for real; so much so that at some point the words fall away and what you’re really doing is watching a movie in your mind. How does that happen? How is it that the tiny alien looking dendrites that make up his brain can pass each other sodium ions to create an electrical charge, and somehow result in him seeing an image that does not exist. How do computers do it for that matter? How does-
He slowed his bike and paused the rectangle with a sigh of frustration; leaving just the single voice in his head. I’ll have to restart the audio book from the beginning, he thought.
Remember, normal is only a matter of perspective.