1) Sometimes I can’t believe I just hopped on a plane and went to Poland alone without knowing a single word of Polish.
2) Listening to my iPod on public transportation, especially trains in Europe, gives a lot of these overplayed songs a very train-like rhythm when I re-listen to them now.
3) Songs I listened to on buses give me much more the impression of seeing what I used to see out of the windows–if it was night, it was a reflection of the inside of the bus.
4) I can’t believe how quickly time passes and how distilled so many moments are in my memory because I listen to songs repeatedly for periods of time. I have a playlist of songs like this, and when I put on Random Song by the Postal Service I can almost taste the Caribou Coffee Reeses’ cooler, and smell the bathroom soap from Shu on my hands, and feel the gray squeaky tile beneath my feet and the clear Dansko mug in my hand, and think about how at the end of the day I’ll be going home to that house on St Clair where no one but me lives yet. Mostly these memories make me think how lucky I was at the time that I listened to that song over and over; sometimes I knew I was lucky at the time (like when I was in Spain with Zandra and Chelsey and Marcela and listened to Youth Group’s cover of Forever Young over and over and over as though I knew that this was the most fun I was going to have for a long long time); sometimes I had no idea. It still never gives me any wisdom to tell which I am in the present. Sometimes the songs remind me of how sad I was and that’s equally hard to listen to; Band of Horses’ Is There a Ghost reminds me of roaming the streets in Reims wandering into shops because there was nothing else to do for so much of the time; Adele’s Hometown Glory provokes that rising panic that I became so familiar with those last weeks in France, as though I was losing something I was afraid I couldn’t get back.

I don’t know. Every time I try to write about this I get lost in reminiscing about things I didn’t mean to reminisce about. Well that’s what the songs do to me anyway. But I more meant to wonder out loud about how multi-sensory it is, how the routine smells and sounds and sights and tastes of the time get wrapped up in the song. It was so unintentional. I just listened to the songs because I liked them, or because I had to and they were on the radio, not to color them and embed them in my memory like this.


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