For a day that’s been fairly productive, I’m now wading through the muck with ‘Travels with Molly.’ Trying to write the beginning – and going back to the original music I listened to during the development of the original idea back in 2005-2006.
[Yes, I can chronicle my music autobiographically. Yes, you can call me Rob Gordon (though I also make obsessive lists, I have little need or desire to revisit past relationships – once was probably more than enough for me).]
The time period was full of genre jumping – but what I remember most was the commute to work in the mornings. I was a cool kid: I had a first generation iPod (god, how did I live life before an iPod…oh wait – with a MiniDisc player), and I’d listen to it all. the. time. I rediscovered music, wallowed in favorites, branched out and found new and different tracks, provided gratis from my fine musician and audiophile friends. Vinyl was still a cherished medium, don’t get me wrong – but now I could stand outside in sub-freezing temperatures, waiting for the train, dancing along to Jet and the Black Eyed Peas and the Caesars…you get the point. It was a big deal, you whippersnappers. It brought color and vitality to an otherwise frigid grey day met with dark icy night. It brought reprieve to the lab job I worked (read: slaved); brought sanctuary to the cubicle job I held (read: became disillusioned with); brought joy and gratitude with each play of Ok Go’s “Invincible” and “Don’t Ask Me” and “It’s a Disaster” – among several hundred other favorites.
That iPod met its untimely death when I dropped a 20lb weight on it at the gym. It was pitiful. I cried at Boston’s only Apple Store (and couldn’t show my face there again…until I bought a Nano in January 2006 – which still accompanies me to the gym).
But I digress.
It was January 2006 I remember best: standing on the platform, waiting for the train at Davis Square, stressing as both the train and I were to be late yet again, sick with anxiety, wondering how many other people waiting there on the platform were in devoured in their own personal hells as I was. I’d known for three months I couldn’t continue as I was; I’d applied to a full-time law program; I’d applied to a variety of new jobs, new hopes, new titles, new responsibilities: and I waited, the clock ticking. slowly. in. my. head. There was one particular day I got to work early, stimulated by an idea of Langston Hughes – I’d woken before my alarm, thinking of dreams deferred – and without a glance or word to anyone, sat down in my cubicle, opened my laptop, and searched. These were the days before absolutely everything was on the internet, and I couldn’t find it. These were the days before coffee (my birthday, September 2006). This was a day that I gophered above my cubicle, looked over at a co-worker’s empty chair, and made an executive decision: I’d be right back.
And to the Boston Public Library I went. To the expertise of a librarian, through the stacks, to just the collection: and there it was. A dream deferred. And then I wanted to see Allen Ginsberg. And then Kerouac. And whisked away through the byzantine library, surprisingly populated for a Tuesday morning. I absorbed and analyzed and lingered and with sycophantic pleasure, I pursued, now on the hunt for just the right written words. The clock in my head stopped ticking, the clock on the wall finally flying after months of dreary monotony.
I returned to work the next day without explanation, I think. I’m sure there was some laconic excuse – there usually was. It wasn’t worth sharing the truth, that finally I’d pieced together together the puzzles of my despair. It wasn’t appreciable, not in such a raw, pornographic form. All I shared was a singular idea, just before leaving in May. I thought I’d never feel as free as I did that departing day – turns out the albatross evaporates with every good decision, every good move, every personal stand and victory.
And I love it.
Next anticipated date of freedom: maybe July 30. Maybe August 8. Maybe sometime in September. Consider me in full state of preparation, just like the old days, from here on out.