Public Display of Music


My Saturday ritual for the past year and a half or so has been to get up early, grab my computer and take a seat at my local coffeehouse. The baristas know I order a large cappuccino with an extra shot of espresso and a lavender vanilla scone. Sometimes I switch it up and get a dirty chai, but lately, I’ve craved just a cappuccino with extra cinnamon sprinkled on top of the frothy milk goodness. 

Oberlin College is back in session, as the coffeehouse is in full buzz with conversations. I love this environment. It helps me escape the constant buzz in my head. Since school is back in session, the music the baristas play is usually tuned into the popular noise of the day. I always bring my earplugs and pick one of my many playlists to musically meditate while I allow the creative juices to flow and type words onto a screen or write in my (many) notebooks. 

Not today. 

As I put my earplugs in to listen to one of my classic alternative playlists, as “Cuts You Upby Peter Murphy starts to play in my ears, the same song begins to play in the background of the coffeehouse. I stop my playlist and pull out my earplugs, just to make sure I’m not just hearing things. Nope. It’s playing.

This brings a smile to my face. Soon Peter Murphy is followed by New Order, then The Smiths, The Cure, and Psychedelic Furs. Did they find one of my playlists? This musical background to the buzz of people conversing is absolute creative bliss to me. 

There truly is something magical, electrifying and stupendous about hearing your favorite music played in a public setting. Someone out there picked these songs, which means I am on the same wavelength as him or her. A sense of belonging. Their vibe is resonating with mine. I feel as if I am completely in tune with the universe at this moment.

It has been two hours since the playlist started and it still plays on with Talking Heads, Dead or Alive, and The Church. I feel so productive. Funny how music reaches deep within, pulls out feelings and transforms them into words for me. Almost as good as going out for a night of dancing. Almost. 

I wonder… is it the charming and quiet barista who looks as if he walked right out of a Jesus and Mary Chain or Echo and The Bunnymen video, the strikingly adorable alternative girl who reminds me of Abby from NCIS or the handsomely rugged (obvious) comic book fan guy who picked these songs on this particular playlist. 

It doesn’t matter… I’m completely in the zone… my element… I’m dancing in my chair as I type this, lip-syncing the words to every song. On we go with Pet Shop Boys, more New Order, Depeche Mode, and Thomas Dolby – and not his usual “She Blinded Me with Science“. 

Abso-fucking-lutely blissful.