I might be falling in love. Never met the person, never will. And yet. The mix tapes! I was always a sucker for a great mix and my basement can prove it – boxes of cassettes titled “Driving Mix ’92” or “Is She Really Going Out with Him?” or the ambiguous “Let’s See.” There are mixes from old loves, mixes from college roommates, mixes from crumbled friendships. Mixes from summers I’ll never relive except through these songs. And I love that music allows for time travel. I based my whole first novel, Liner Notes, on that concept.
But of course, cassettes are long gone. We find them only in kitsch now. CD mixes have no A/B just one ultra long space to fill.
So imagine my surprise when along comes a mix. Handed to me at night, when I’m alone and the house is quiet and my unsuspecting husband is out at his indoor soccer league. 11pm. Pat my bedtime. Cue the music.
I’ve flirted with Pandora before, had some fun times with various song channels and stations ranging from Cat Stevens to the Shins to Little River Band (hello, Air Supply!). But this one…
The mix is the mix I never received from the ideal high school boyfriend I never had. Squeeze melds into Echo and his silly Bunnymen into Kinks and dashes back to unreleased Squeeze and then to the Smiths and the Clash and pretty soon I’m thinking, yes I will go out with you, yes let’s skip the fall dance for a romp through Harvard Square and I’ll borrow your suede jacket and we’ll share pumpkin anything and I’ll think the sound of your ragged shoes on the cobblestones is pure music.
But it’s just a radio station, right? And I can pause it. Restart. Skip ahead. All the things we can’t do in real time.
I asked it in Liner Notes and I’ll ask it again here.
What’s on the soundtrack to your life?