I sincerely appreciate every genre of music… Even the Techno stuff that has become so popular… And despite my disdain for some genres that celebrate violence and the mistreatment of women, I am all about freedom of expression and letting people do their own thing. I can even prove this by sending you to visit (and like/follow if you wish) my 72-hour and Counting Spotify playlist that features everything from Tupac and Billie Holiday, George Jones and ZZ Top, to Tchaikovsky and Led Zeppelin. Check it out for yourself HERE if you don’t believe me. It plays in my headphones all day while I write, and the random diversity- song to song- wreaks delicious havoc on my mood swings as I move back and forth from paragraph to paragraph. I genuinely wouldn’t have it any other way.
There is a grocery store I have written about quite often, a relatively short bus ride from my house, where I had to go to pick up a few things to hold me over for the rest of the month. I have frequented this place so many times that I have taught myself to close my eyes, visualize the layout as I dictate my list of items into my blind guy Gadget, and plan which aisles I’ll go through based on where things are stocked. Like most stores, this one has music from speakers in the ceiling… I don’t know if MUSAK exists anymore, but you know what I’m talking about… And when I got to my first stop, Stevie Nicks asked me if I knew how to pick up the pieces and go home.
As I worked my way through the list my ’70s genre friends kept me company and gave me all kinds of golden oldies to hum along with while I weaved my way through traffic, mostly (but not completely) giving those damnable cardboard displays a wide enough berth to avoid knocking them over and spilling their contents into the middle of the aisle. I say mostly because I completely destroyed the”new to the store”promo display touting the new and improved dog chews I simply couldn’t live without. “They’re organic!” each of them screamed at me while I was on my knees trying to “mostly” pick all the freaking things up and put them back more or less where they were. It was fine though because the Beatles were telling me to let it be.
At fruits and vegetables, I grabbed my bananas(old people can never have too much potassium, ya know) and bolted for the donuts. When I got there, looking over to make sure my doctor wasn’t watching me pick up something I’m absolutely not supposed to eat anymore, I heard a man helping Eric Clapton tell his girl she looked beautiful tonight. As I remembered how much I hated that song, I couldn’t help but laugh.
I looked over at the guy, a good ten years my senior, and before I even knew it was going to come out of my mouth, I asked him if he was old enough to know every word of that song by heart. Being more or less accurately called antisocial, I didn’t set out to make his day, but boy-howdy did I ever. He looked at me with a wide, almost completely toothless grin and said, “You betcha I’m old enough.” He turned back, continuing to struggle to reach a plastic tub of pre-cut cantaloupe, and picked up right where he left off with Eric Clapton. I smiled, shaking my head a little, and headed for my Boston cream, screeching to a quick halt when I saw they had those plastic-covered tins with the six squares of monstrous frosted cinnamon rolls in stock.
I did another quick scan to see if the doctor was in the house, and worked my way toward checkout. When I got there, the second customer in line, I watched as the checkout lady did her thing and was humming along in complete agreement with Pink Floyd about being Comfortably Numb. After she gave me my change, I headed toward the door as Grand Funk Railroad escorted me out, assuring me I was getting closer to my home.
When I got outside, transferring the bags into my backpack for the walk to the bus and the ride back home, it occurred to me that it made perfect sense to play oldies in a store where mostly older people were shopping. Non-linear music-loving thinker that I am, though, right behind that train of thought came my wonder at what the hell shopping was going to be like when my generation is long dead and buried and “kids today” are senior citizens out and about trying to re-stock their grocery supply. Don’t get me wrong… I admire and respect the contributions of artists such as Tupac and Notorious BIG, and the impact they had on the music industry, but let’s think this through.
As I said, I like some of that music and hear it in my headphones while I’m writing, but are they really going to brag from the ceiling at the local grocery store that Tupac fucked Biggie’s bitch in the clinky clank? What the hell is THAT? Or Eminem’s girl singing in soothing tones about how much she loves the way his abuse of her hurts? Or does my even asking that question prove I’m too old to be qualified to ask? Either way, by the time these kids are pushing 70, and we’re pushing up daisies, I’m not so sure all that ‘progress’ we couldn’t die fast enough for them to implement will be making for a soothing and relaxing shopping experience going up and down the aisles looking for denture paste and a package of Depends.