Friday, December 15, 2006

Sunday Scribblings: Anticipation

The first album I ever owned was Anticipation by Carly Simon. I wore out the cardboard of the aqua cover, drawing the album in and out of its protective sheath. I listened to its songs nearly every day of my freshman year in college, dancing in place in my tiny dorm room, singing along to "You're So Vain," and speculating with friends about whether Carly truly had written that song about Warren Beatty. I treasured that album and its music. Even today, I need to hear only a few notes to recognize any of its songs.

The second album I ever owned was Tap Root Manuscript by Neil Diamond. I got it for Christmas midway through my freshman year, brining my music collection to a total of TWO albums. That summer, Tea for the Tillerman joined the party. I still know every word of every song on all three of those albums.

Now I own an iPod that holds songs I've never even played. Don't get me wrong—I love my iPod and listen to it all the time, but it's unlikely I'll ever again appreciate any music the way I did back in the days when getting a new album was a major life event I'd remember for 35 years.

Today, life's about instant gratification. If I want to hear new music, I can buy it, download it, and have it playing in less than two minutes. An audio book takes 20. No more slowly acquiring a set of encyclopedias once a week at the grocery store and staying up late into five nights to read the good bits of A by flashlight under the covers so I'd be ready for B by the following Saturday. These days, if I want to know some strange detail, I push a few buttons and the information is on my computer screen in seconds.

There are lots of advantages to this "instant on" world of ours, but we lose the prickly, tingly, edge-of-our seats feeling known as Anticipation that used to keep us wa-a-a-a-a-ai-tin.

Who knew? Carly was right so long ago. . .those were the good old days.

So are these.

14 comments:

Stewart Sternberg said...

I was talking to a student about this the other day. He acknowledged that there were songs on his ipod he never listened to. I explained to him that I made a point of down..er...buying whole cds..and then listening to it as a whole for a week or two to get to know the music.

He started doing that as well.

I'll tell you what I miss most about albums..the covers. Albums were big...and the covers luxuriant. Who can forget sitting on the floor and staring at Sgt. Peppers? Or the covers for any of the Moody Blues? Who can forget the cover to Abraxas by Santana. Album art. sigh

Michelle O'Neil said...

Love this Jerri!

As I've been writing my memoir I've been absorbing myself in music from the various times I'm writing about. It's very effective in bringing up memories and detail.

* You're So Vain is one of the best songs ever! : )

Jerri said...

Thanks for stopping by, Stewart. You're right about album covers. Staring at the image and reading every work of the liner notes was part of the process of savoring the music. I don't savor anything quite the same way these days.

Do you remember Steppenwolf? Can't remember the name of the album, but I remember the wolf on the cover.

Michelle said...

This is an interesting take on the prompt. It got me to wondering if, at 13, I ever would have gotten so into my first album, Pink Floyd's The Wall, if lots more had been available. I remember I bought it with my first paycheck. Before that, my favorite songs were something that I anticipated would come up on the playlist on the radio. I would be soooo excited!!

Ziji Wangmo said...

I love this! You're right about instant gratification -no one is willing to wait for anything any more. Is patience a virtue of the past?

Inconsequential said...

that's one of the problems with dow...buying cds on line...so many to choose from, so much stuff you've never heard, it's so easy to amass a vast collection that you've barely heard half of.

I like the idea of an extended listening to get to know it...
I think i'll adopt your idea.

:)

Great post. Thanks.

Inconsequential said...

oops, sorry, hope that wasn't insulting but i got carried away by a comment...

The post is a great post, and I relate to it in so many ways.

I did find stewarts comment very apt too :)

I do love that any info on just about anything is available pretty darn quick, if you know how to ask the machine :)

Carrie Wilson Link said...

I think instant gratification is dangerous, and we, as parents, need to highly monitor the amount of "it" our kids get. It may be abounding, but there are still PLENTY of things that require dedication, commitment, patience and planning before one can "have". We must make sure our kids get that message, too.

love.

Regina Clare Jane said...

Thanks for your very kind words, Jerri. I also feel like we take too much for granted these days... there's no fun anymore when you can get things right away. When I was younger, I had to wait till Christmas or my birthday to get that special something... now if there is something I really want, I try to wait on it, forcing myself to experience a little of that waiting time- and anticipation- of oh so long ago...
wonderful post.

Amber said...

Oh yes! I agree. I was thinking this this week, when we watched Rudolf and Frosty with the kids...Remember when it was SO exciting when these shows would come on every year? And they were so special, because you didn't have cable with 400 channels of cartoons available every hour of the day or night. When these "specials" came on, they WERE special. *sigh*

BTW, YOU are a jewel. And I can't tell you how you make me smile with your kindness to me. Really, you do. Thank you.

:)

rubyslippers said...

i love this post! great observation--instant gratification is the opposite of anticipation. i hope we collectively find a way to restore our child-like qualities--life is so much more fun that way!!

Tinker said...

Wise words, Jerri - we did appreciate so many things much more, just because we DID have to wait so long for them. Great post!

(and I wore out the 45rpm of that song!)

Pacian said...

Huh! You kids with your inter-nets. Some of us oldies still do buy albums and listen to them properly.

Pacian, age 23

twilightspider said...

You are so right and you've put it all so well. Personally I think we should all try to hang on to any kind of delicious anticipation that we can - it's priceless.