Check. Please.

Things were very January at my desk this afternoon.  I’ve been kind of in a rut this month, which I’m actually enjoying.  Same breakfast, same lunch, same outfits, same trash tv, same early bedtime. Same routine.  I’ve been resting, and cooking healthy food, and taking walks at lunch, and seeing way too many old episodes of Modern Family.   After a crazy busy fall, and a stressful holiday season, January is a great time to be in a rut.   You can’t bust out of your rut, come sunshine and warm weather season, unless you’ve developed a rut out of which to bust.

So: January.  Rut.  You are all caught up.  It was during a dreary moment at my desk this afternoon that Audrey sent me my Favorite Thing of the Day, if not the entire month so far:

The Emotional Bag Check website.

Try it. It’s fabulous.  You can either “check” baggage, or “carry” baggage.  If you’re “checking,” you just type in your problem, anonymously, and send it off into the ether for someone else to babysit.  You just toss it out there.  Within minutes, you get e-mails back from anonymous friends, with a link to a song that is perfect for your problem, and also maybe with advice and kind words.  It’s the Advice Booth.  With music.  I love it.

I logged on immediately and filed a minor complaint with the universe, as a test case.  I got back the song “There, There” by Radiohead, with the comment, “Eff! My condolences.  This is one of my favorite angry songs- play it LOUD,”   and the song “This Too Shall Pass” by OK Go, with the comment, “Know what? You deserve to be happy.”

For the sake of good karma, I took a turn carrying someone else’s baggage.  Someone was feeling overworked, put-upon, and underappreciated; I sent him “Sixteen Tons” by Johnny Cash, with a note full of sympathy and cheerleading.

When I got home, I unloaded another piece of baggage.  I got back five responses immediately, including  “My Love is Like…Wo” by Mya,  “I Should Tell You” by Jonathan Larson, and  “In for the Kill” by La Roux.  That last one came with the advice, “Just talk to him.  See what you have in common.  You got this.”   I love my new anonymous friends.  I want to send them all thank-you notes.

I swapped out for another piece of someone else’s baggage, because fair is fair.  The owner of this baggage was feeling inadequately endowed, in a  Liz Lemon “top front quadrant” kind of way, so I sent her “Imma Be” by the Black Eyed Peas.  It’s kind of a game changer, if you play it enough times in a row.  You do start to feel like the flyest chick, even if you don’t like hip hop.

There are a few more pieces of baggage I’ll probably drop off.  Heck, there are a few new ones that crop up, most days, by lunch time (maybe you work in an office, too?)  None of my baggage is cataclysmic, or dire, or even all that interesting, just your run-of-the-mill baggage.  None of it is even secret.  (I’d love to have a secret. Wouldn’t that be fun?) Whatever baggage you come up with: there’s a song for that. Or a lot of songs.

It’s even better that these songs come at you from all over the place, in all kinds of genres.  It’s easy to get stuck in your own head, in your own perspective, in your own routine.  How refreshing, then, to get bombarded by suggestions for club music, or jazz/funk, or top 40 teenage radio hits, or all kinds of other songs which would generally send me walking briskly out of earshot while making a judgy face.  Refreshing, because all these songs come from a place of good will, and camaraderie, and communicating through music.

It takes a village, y’all.  Let me know how you fare.

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