By Christian Lipski
I’m lucky enough to be able to travel a little, and no matter where I go, I always have music with me. If I had to choose between bringing a book and bringing my iPod on a long voyage, it would not be a tough choice. I was thinking on my last vacation that besides just providing entertainment for ears, music serves a couple of additional purposes for me on my travels.
The Five-Star Lifeline
I have little faith in the power of physics. Maybe it’s because I studied it in college, and so it has lost its magic for me, but I just don’t trust air to keep a seven-million-ton plane suspended in the sky. As such, I’m in a constant state of alarm when I fly and I need something to cling to, since “wind” is not convincing. Apart from massive doses of Valium, there’s nothing like music at high volume to keep your quivering mind occupied.
I’ve been rating my iPod songs as I listen to them, and I’ve accumulated about 250 songs that carry five stars. These are the tunes that make me feel invincible, the ones that are filled to the top with lush melody, harmony, or general goodness. I’d been avoiding listening to these songs too often so I wouldn’t risk tiring of them, but I realized that if music in general is helpful in-flight, the music that I consider to be the cream of the crop would be even more effective. And I was so right.
Usually when I’m listening on shuffle play on a plane, I’ll have to skip songs pretty often. I can’t listen to “negative” songs when I’m flying—not because it’s bad luck or anything so OCD, but it affects my mood and I can’t afford to feel sad or negative while I’m in the air. Which means the gangsta rap needs to wait until I’m safely on the ground. But with the five-star playlist I know that each song is going to be just what the doctor ordered. And with every new track I say to myself, “Awesome! I love this song!”
I actually find myself crying a little when I’m listening, and I think it’s because I’m able to hold on to something that makes me so happy. When I’m up in an airplane, I feel so isolated—the ground is far away, and I’m balancing on a series of glorified breezes. The music is something familiar and soothing that I can clutch like a security blanket. Like a lifeline keeping me up in the air.
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