Some time ago my Pandora station played a song by Young The Giant that I had not known before, “Apartment,” which deeply moved me. In listening to the song I realized that You Tube had been trying to get me to listen to the song for a long while, but the surrounding footage before and after the video distracted me from the beauty and elegance of the song itself. There are times where a video can add to a song by putting it in a powerful context, and other times where frills can distract one from the message of the song. In particular, the video to Apartment suffers because a beautiful song full of quirks, almost a mini-suite is encased in boring aspects of silence. And I am not someone who under most conditions enjoys pointless and meaningless silence. Given the fact that the song itself talks meaningfully about the fear of silence faced by many people, it is ironic that its music video has silence that hinders the enjoyment of the song. Life is full of ironies, though, and it is quite possible that the band themselves was not responsible for that particular one.
As I was driving in the rainy darkness to work early this morning after one of far too many insomnia-filled nights , I was struck by how poorly people drive in the rain. On the one hand, given how tired most of us were, it is probably good that we were driving safely, but on the other hand it is somewhat distressing that on the day after Labor Day that the traffic around the Interstate Bridge was already terrible at 5:30AM without any accidents or detours of any note. I listened to Brahms’ second symphony and tried to make the best of it. As it happens, after I got to work I listened to a voicemail from one of my coworkers stating that he would be coming in late because of the traffic north of the river, and I smiled within myself, and later talked with him about it at lunch, because I could verify that the traffic was unusually bad for that early in the morning. It is perhaps rare that someone’s excuse could be vouched so straightforwardly by the person listening to it, but I suppose it made me the fairest possible messenger to pass along his message.
I find it intriguing just how often I end up being placed in the position of a middle-man taking advantage of an ability to understand something in order to communicate something from one world to another . For a variety of reasons I have always felt myself to be a highly complicated person at a worrying number of boundaries and border lines, and as a result communication between people or groups of people who do not communicate often or well tends to be a frequent area of concern and difficulty. For someone who tends to be rather sensitive about personal difficulties in communication, I find it particularly striking just how often I am called upon to communicate on behalf of other people. Perhaps it is easier to communicate when there is less emotional content, when one can faithfully convey a message that one has little personal stake in, and focus one’s attention on how to convey that message effectively to someone else in a way that is both honest and kind, rather than the far more difficult task of trying to communicate effectively when one’s own intense but restrained emotions make the task of precise communication particularly difficult and personally stressful to all parties involved in the communication or the silence.
As I sit and write this, I ponder and reflect what is it that leads people to write or communicate in the first place. Perhaps some people write originally out of a sense of fun, but that was certainly never the case for me. Long before I ever wrote much of what was pleasing for others to read I wrote out of a sense of compulsion, spilling out poetry, drama, and reflective and even self-absorbed prose out of the intense rumination and reflection of my overactive mind and out of the intense drama of life. At least given from my own observation and reading, much of what is communicated is done because of a deep feeling of compulsion and obligation. Yet feeling compulsion and being able to do something successfully is not the same thing, not by a long shot. Indeed, at times, the feeling of obligation and compulsion may often free us from being overly sensitive concerning the feelings and sensitivities of those we are speaking to or speaking about. And that is definitely not a good thing.
 See, for example:
 See, for example: