I like to listen to Jay-Z and Kanye West, because my life is nothing like theirs. The closest I will get to a Ferrari is renting a BMW, and the closest I will get to being Kim Kardashian is reading Yerevan Magazine. But sometimes, you don’t want to listen to songs that say “My furs is Mongolian/ my ice brought the goalies in,” no matter how much rhetorical talent Kanye admittedly has. Sometimes you don’t want to be reminded that Kanye’s single Jesus piece is the cost of your MBA. That sometimes is usually when you’re paying your semester tuition bill.
Sometimes you just want to listen to songs about people like you, which is why Thrift Shop is so popular right now. America has been on a Cristal hangover since 2008, and we somehow can’t seem to get over it, no matter how many glasses of water we drink or how much Pepto Bismol we take. We’ve woken up to find our wallet empty and our hand in a Wendy’s drivethrough bag (mmmm Frosty). We need a lot of energy to get through that Sunday, and we need support from our musicians.
Here they are (most have NSFW lyrics because, they, they are rap songs):
The first mile wasn’t so bad, and I actually kept a pretty good pace with the rest of the crowd. It was also mildly downhill, so my spirits were high. It also helped that I paced myself really well with the playlist I picked out. It is really hard to put together a good playlist because it has to be ranked in order of increasing BPM and also has to be motivational.
I started out with this one, the Russian version of Ai Si Eu Te Pego to pace myself:
Then, onto Shakira:
Then, Country Roads. Man, I was killing it, even without preparation. Doing great!
Then, at .92 miles, we hit the first hill and something strange started happening to my legs—they were forced to work. Good God, it was the most painful experience ever, because my legs are weak and not muscly anymore, so I gasped up the first hill. I felt like I would never make it to the top. I started mentally making a list of who my possessions would go to.
The worst part is that everyone was beating me. Kids were passing me. Dogs were passing me. Pregnant women with strollers were passing me. At a brief moment in time, the heat made me hallucinate and I was convinced I was passing myself.
And then, at the top of the hill, I had to walk. Because I finally started feeling the 86 billion degrees it was outside, plus the hill, plus life beat me down. I’ve never had to walk any part of a 5k before. Defeat. She is ugly. I turned down the volume all the way on my carefully-curated (God, I hate that word) music, because someone who’s not running doesn’t deserve the Cool Jams. I concentrated on trying to walk as fast as possible and gulped down air to regulate my breathing, but it was like trying to breathe in a fishbowl full of sand. There was no way I could cool down fast enough to run the second half.
But, I started jogging again when I passed the first volunteer station. Because those people are always happy and start to cheer you on, and when you’re walking, you kind of feel like a moron. I jogged weakly past the first station, then I walked again. I jogged, I walked. My lungs expanded to full capacity and I still couldn’t pick up the pace enough to pace myself while running. The course became super-hilly, and I almost just gave up. I was desolate.
By mile 2.7, I was concentrating on making it back to Mr. B alive. I turned the corner up the last hill, and I could feel the finish line in the distance. I knew that, as much as I didn’t want to, I had to I saw more volunteers and people watching on the sidewalk, so, I forced myself to start jogging again.
It really was the last of everything I had and I wasn’t even sure I could finish it out jogging, but I was going to give it my best effort. I braced myself mentally. I quieted my mind. I turned the volume up on my music, because music is for winners.
Sometimes life is better than fiction, and I am not making this up at all when I say that the song that came on was my remix of Loch Lomond.
And it pushed me through to the end.
Mr. B came up to me after the race with a cold water bottle.
“You’re still alive!” his eyes said.
“Loch Lomond pushed me through to the end,” I said, then I told him the whole story. It was like I’d seen the Virgin Mary in a piece of toast. It was a Sign from somewhere that I was meant to live through this race and make it out the other side. It was a Sign that there is a just and benevolent God. It was a sign that-
“Every other song on your playlist is Loch Lomond,” Mr. B said.
“That is NOT true,” I said vehemently, crazed and probably sunstroked. “Do you want to see my playlist? I have only one Scottish song on there (THIS time, I muttered, sotto voce). ONE. So the chances of this song coming on were, like, one out of THIRTY.”
“THIRTY,” I repeated in a Scottish accent, then stumbled a bit, because I couldn’t feel my legs anymore.
“Right,” said Mr. B with sympathy and concern and gave me my water so I could de-heatstroke. “You only have one Scottish song ever. Let’s go inside. I turned on the AC for you.”
If you are a fellow Special Pretty Princess (also known as “creative type” ), you know that sometimes your craft goes easier if you are playing music.
When I was writing my ebook, I often worked really early in the morning, right before a full day of thinking intensely at work, and late at night, right after a full day of thinking intensely at work, and, on Mondays, in class.
So I needed music to not only push me through, but to get me in the right frame of mind to write. Unfortunately for Mr. B, with whom I share the office, the music was a playlist of about 50 songs that I could loop through infinitely. It was Scottish folk songs. Also, remixes of Scottish folk songs. Also, Enya.
Oh, how Mr. B suffered.
At first, he was ok with it.
“Anything to push you through to the end,” he said brightly as Annie Laurie played in the background.
“Ok, looks like you’re really writing,” he said, hesitating slightly as the Scottish MegaMix looped through a third time. (Although I have a discerning and classy eye for literature and design, I have an embarrassingly Russian love of techno music.)
“Oh my God it’s this song again,” he said as Scottish Rain came on again. Yes, this song really does exist and after the first month of about ten plays a day, Mr. B was singing this song like a textbook case of Stockholm Syndrome.
But somewhere in the middle of month two, he cracked.
“You HAVE to put on headphones,” he said in desperation in the middle of Loch Lomond.
“But it’s my pushing code song,” I protested. (I was in a startup frame of mind.)
“No one in the history of anything has EVER pushed code to Loch Lomond,” said Mr. B and sadly left the room.
Between the playlist, the neglect of the house, the empty refrigerator, and the piles of teacups and manuscripts everywhere, I’m actually not sure I’m even married anymore. Even if I was, I can’t find Mr. B. I think the huge tumbleweeds gently rolling through our living room ate him.
Now that I’m slowly clawing my way back to reality, maybe I should check.
“I don’t want to study/
I only want to get married/
I’d rather ride around in a bangin’ car around the capital at night
Rather than other stuff.
Life is stressful,
Why does she need all these cares?
Studying, thesis, work,
She already has enough problems,
Shopping, manicures, and moisturizer.”
And on and on in this vein.
I played this song for Mr. B and he got a panicked look on his face because he though he would have to go through a wedding again.
“No, it’s because I don’t want to study or work. I just want to buy moisturizer on Amazon.”
“So you’re not going to do anything, but we don’t have to have a wedding again?”
“Oh, that’s cool then.”
How did this man live in the Soviet Union and still create such joyful, life-affirming music?
Remember this one?
Some things deserve to be remixed.
The following is not a comment on my mental state right now.
No post today (working on one), so for now just enjoy Terry Gross figuring out how to reference crack cocaine and not offend a public radio audience while interviewing Jay-Z. She also says bitches and hos. For realz.