Monday, April 30, 2012

Memory Audio

robert langellier

You don't have to read this. But that's what this is about, that's what inspired this thought. It's by Nadia Wiwatwicha. Do you remember her? I do.

A few years ago my grandparents moved. They lived in that Quincy, IL Victorian house my entire life, and most of theirs. When I visited then, I knew it was the last time I would see the building with my eyes. In a heroic attempt to capture the image of that particular "last," I decided to invoke that one thing where you listen to a song while something important happens and you associate that song with that moment in time and space forever and ever and ever. Except normally, that happens by accident. You just happen to listen to "I Don't Wanna Miss a Thing" by Aerosmith on the way home from a 4th of July fireworks party where your first love stood you up. Or just by chance your mix CD breaks and it plays the first 30 seconds of of track 1 for the remainder of the entire summer. They are coincidences, and sometimes they don't even happen at exceptional times at all. Sometimes songs monopolize driving through a small city in the winter at night, or sitting in sand on the Atlantic coast. That's pretty greedy of those songs, in my opinion, but it isn't my fault or their fault because it's all just coincidence.

Anyway, on that particular day I decided to test if I could do it on purpose, if I could break the coincidence principle, because apparently being at my grandmother's house for the final time is something I recognize as probably important but that in reality I don't really trust myself to treat with all that much sacredness. At some point in the day, I walked around their backyard, probably billions of times, listening to "Thrash Unreal" by Against Me, which, for anyone who knows me, isn't something I'd typically listen to elsewhere because it has electric guitars and loud noises. ("No mother ever dreams that her daughter's gonna grow up to be a junkie.")

I walked around listening to that song, punching slow and heavy footprints into the low and wooden borderlines of my grandpa's treasured garden that I historically have liked to break things in. Repeat, repeat, repeat. ("No mother ever dreams that her daughter's gonna grow up to sleep alone.") This, until I felt satisfied. Maybe I should've chosen a less ominous and dually applicable song than one about the horrors of denying your own aging, but I did this until I felt satisfied. And you know what, it worked, god damn it. I actually have vivid memories of the menial task of simply walking in circles around a fucking yard. All it took was the simple decision to remember it, and then some merciless musical repetition. I completely intend to document the rest of my life in this way. My memoirs will be a Spotify playlist.


  1. "My memoirs will be a Spotify playlist." Accurate.
    Story of my life.
    Love it Rob.

  2. Rob. This is incredibly strange because I just found out that my grandmother who lives in Quincy (remember that time we found out our parents went to the same high school?) is moving out of her home soon that she has lived in for my entire life.

    Also, I loved this.


  3. Nadia/Natthida's post was excellent, and so was yours.