The Soundtrack of My Life

I’ve worked the same job for five years now.

I don’t know if you’ve ever paid attention to such things, but grocery stores pipe in music to make customers walk slower and buy more food. At the particular store where I work, the tunes are beamed in via satellite (taking a sinister concept – mind control music – to comical heights). It’s a horrible situation to be in, let me tell you.

First off, there is no “personality” to satellite radio. No banter between songs, no news flashes to warn of approaching tornadoes, not even commercials. I suppose this is great for the purposes of customer mood-modulation, but for the employees it is a cruel torture.

Torture, because whatever playlist is on continuous shuffle is at the very most 12 hours long. It’s the same Bee Gees songs day in, day out. That means someone who works about 250 days will hear the same songs 250 times.

As if that isn’t enough, the music always seems to be slightly too loud. If I ever try to formulate a thought under the omnipresent speakers it is blasted away into oblivion by The Mamas & The Papas.

There are, however, signs of hope. I suspect somebody new is in charge of the playlist, because every few weeks a new(ish) song finds it’s way into the rotation. These brief moments of musical bliss have become the highlights of my day. I find myself semi-consciously seeking out secluded places where I am unlikely to be interrupted by customer or coworker until the song is over.

The first oasis to appear in my desert of easy-listening was Muse’s “Starlight.” Then a handful of others began to pepper my day. “Stadium Arcadium” by Red hot Chili Peppers. “Release the Stars” by Rufus Wainwright. Something by Feist whose title escapes me.

(There is also a disappointing cover of Modest Mouse’s “Float On,” but the positives so far outweigh the negatives.)

I’m pleased with this mild improvement, even if it comes five years too late.


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