Dispatches, thoughts, and miscellanea from writer Jon Konrath

The 89 Playlist

Last week, in a fit of nostalgia/stupidity, I decided to make a playlist in iTunes consisting solely of music I would have listened to in the summer of 1989. I use iTunes for music while I’m sitting here at my desk working, and also use it for my iPod for in the car or when I’m walking around or at the gym. This was harder than it seems, because I lost a lot of tapes back in the day (my car had a hole in the floor) and I can’t remember all of my music from back then. (My brain also has a hole in it.) There’s also the issue that everything I have in iTunes is ripped from CD, and although I spent a good deal of the late 90s trying to recreate my old music library by sending CDexchange my paycheck every week, there are many holes in my collection. Not every tape from the 80s made its way to CD, and not all of those ended up in the iTunes store.

The biggest factor in doing this is that certain songs greatly remind me of the feel of that area, which is what I wanted to capture. I wanted to be able to drive around with the playlist going and forget I was in a 2008 Yaris in Southern California and have that brief thought that it was 1989 and I was driving the back roads from Goshen to Elkhart in a 1976 Camaro (with holes in the floor). That meant two things: some of the music I’d have in the car back then wouldn’t make the cut. For example, even if I had any of Voivod’s first three albums, I don’t think I could stand listening to a single second of them, let alone put them on the list. I probably would not want to load up the list with vintage Metallica, although I put a couple of specific songs on there. Most of the rest of the stuff is either prog-rock (although no Rush, because for whatever reason, I’m really sick of them at the moment) or various pop-rock stuff I’m embarassed to own, but I listen to constantly.

I have not been horribly nostalgic lately, because it’s something I’ve been really unsure of. I never thought about it before, but I started seeing someone for DBT therapy, and there’s this concept that being heavily buried in either your past or your future can be unhealthy. For example, if you were the Al Bundy type who always gravitated toward living in the past thought of scoring three touchdowns for Polk High School, it could be indicative that you are avoiding or having problems with what’s happening in the present. And I find that when I’m most depressed, I’m usually looking back to some era and avoiding what’s happening at that moment. (Case in point: I wrote Summer Rain when I was heavily depressed.) I’m sure there’s some balance, in remembering the past but keeping this strong sense of mindfulness and moving forward with life, without being in a constant bubble of “I wish things were as great as 1992” or whatever.

And next year is twenty years from when I graduated high school. Aside from the great feeling of depressing in thinking that so much time has passed since then, there will probably be a barrage of various emails and reunions and whatnot, and I don’t have a great desire to deal with that. But nostalgia is such a huge pull on the internets. You have all of these classmates sites, and high schools have reunion pages, and half of the function of facebook is to find people you haven’t talked to in a decade and see how many kids they’ve popped out. At first, I thought facebook was interesting in that I did find a lot of old high school pals, until I realized I had pretty much nothing in common with them anymore, and couldn’t really talk to them about anything.

I had part of a white filling fall out while flossing on Saturday. I didn’t know what it was at first and was like “what the hell did I eat?” but then felt a huge gap in the back of a tooth. I found a dentist just up the street from us, and I will start that whole process at 8:00 AM tomorrow. I always hate going to a new dentist, because they always look in my mouth and see their next four boat payments. I really don’t care about the pain or drilling – they could drill all of my teeth for days straight like some kind of Daytona 500 marathon, as long as it was free. The most painful part of a root canal for me is getting the bill in the mail and seeing what my insurance didn’t cover.

Just finished reading that Halberstam book on the ’49 baseball season, and it was pretty decent. I’ve read an insane number of baseball books this year, and should probably get back to fiction soon. Suggestions always welcome.

Speaking of unnecessary medical appointments, gotta go drive up to Santa Monica to see a rheumatologist. But first, I need to tweak my playlist for the trip up there.