S.G. Browne

Jackhammers and Playlists

They’re jackhammering again.

Across the street.  The never-ending Add-A-Garage project.  At least it’s been never-ending for the past year.  But honestly, they’ve installed the framework for the structure.  What the hell are they using a jackhammer for now?

Electric saws I can handle.  It’s white noise.  Freeway traffic.  Ocean waves rolling along the shore.

Hammers pounding?  Not a problem.  Distant tribal drums.  World music from a neighbor’s stereo.

But jackhammers are fingernails on a chalkboard connected to a Spartacus vibrator and pumped through Nigel Tufnel’s Marshall guitar amplifier.

Not exactly ideal conditions in which to write.  And since I don’t drink coffee and am easily distracted by baristas, cafes aren’t an option.  So I have to resort to drowning out the noise with my iPod.

But I can’t listen to just anything when I’m writing.  No B-52s or Squirrel Nut Zippers of Blink-182.  Nothing too distracting.  Nothing I haven’t heard a million times. And when Green Day’s “East Jesus Nowhere” from 21st Century Breakdown comes on, focusing is pointless.  I just want to hold my lighter in the air and sing along with the band.  (Yeah, I know.  Everyone holds their cell phones in the air now.  Call me old school, but holding a cell phone in the air at a concert instead of a lighter is like eating sushi at a baseball game instead of a polish sausage.)

All right, where the hell was I?  Oh yeah, playlists.  In order to drown out the vibrational dissonance of the jackhammering, I need comfort music.  It’s like comfort food, only for my ears.  Nothing heavy.  Nothing nostalgic.  No love ballads or screeching guitars or house music.  Just some of my favorite bands whose lyrics and music inspire me and that I’ve heard so many times that I can listen to the songs without getting distracted by the lyrics.

That comes to more than eight hours of Morphine, The Pixies, Sublime, The Beatles, The Doors, and, yes, some Green Day.  Just nothing from their new album.  Throw in some Booker T. & TheMG’s, some surf music, and some selections from the Fight Club and Pulp Fiction soundtracks, and I’m good to go.  Cocooned in a world of inspired familiarity.

Now if only I could do something about the fact that my cat keeps sitting in front of my monitor.

Filed under: Just Blogging,The Writing Life — Tags: , , — S.G. Browne @ 10:07 pm