Tag Archive | Musings

High Fidelity by Nick Hornby

Source: purchased from Barnes & Noble

“Nobody worries about kids listening to thousands-literally thousands- of songs about broken hearts and rejection and pain and misery and loss.  The unhappiest people I know, romantically speaking, are the ones who like pop music the most; and i don’t know whether pop music has caused this unhappiness, but I do know they’ve been listening to the sad songs longer than they’ve been living the unhappy lives.”
– page 25, Riverhead Books, 1995

My lovely flagged copy of High Fidelity

What if everything was beyond your control?  What if everything was done to you, not by you, with you, or for you?  What if you lived as a slave to circumstances?  Would you have hopes and dreams? Would you be happy, or would you be miserable?  If you are Rob, the narrator and main character in High Fidelity then no, you do not have hopes and dreams, you are miserable, and you are also discontent and oftentimes a jerk.

It takes losing his girlfriend for Rob to come to this conclusion, and it takes the entire novel for him to sort out his feelings about this realization.  Many who read this book (and who see the American film version) think of this as a story about music, and sex, relationships, and manliness.  And it is these things.  But thankfully, it is not only these things.  In that case, it would only appeal to one audience (men) and that would hardly make it a good novel.

Among many references to pop music, all-time top five lists, and in-his-head narrations and obsessions about situations in Rob’s life (past and present), he takes the reader on an emotional journey of finding who he is, why he really is that way, and who he wants to be.  If we are honest readers, I think there is at least a smidgen (more or less for some) of Rob in all of us, regardless of gender.  Aside from being clever and funny, this book can give anyone a little thought-check, an assessment of the head space, and bring about an evaluation of how one chooses to react to the circumstances of life.

** I read and reviewed this novel by my own choice and was not asked to do so by the authors or publisher.

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A Loaded Question

I found this prompt on Plinky today, and decided to take a stab at it.

If I could do anything I want right now…what does that even mean?  Off the bat a few things pop in my head, things I love but can’t afford (horseback riding), things I love but do all the time (reading, gaming), things I hate but would be a really great use of my time and save me a lot of stress later (laundry, grocery shopping), and of course the inevitable thoughts of what I definitely don’t want to do (go to work).

I realize that what I want to do is always viewed within certain constraints.  What am I able to do physically, financially?  What will my schedule allow?  What do I need to get done in order to have a functional life?  What am I obligated to do that other people are depending on me for (spouse, family members, pets, bosses, co-workers)?

What is the value of one activity over another activity?  Would vacation rank so highly with all of its pIans and its expenses if work and daily life were not so stressful?  Is one activity less valuable because I do it all the time, while another is more valuable because I rarely do it?  Some activities require a lot of planning and preparation (vacation, group activities), while others don’t.  For example, I can roll out of bed, skip my shower, stay in my pajamas, decide not to brush my hair, shove some cereal down my throat, grab a cup of coffee, and make my way directly to the couch, where I can then proceed to spend the day reading without ever encountering another person or lifting a finger to do anything but turn the page and occasionally drink some water and eat some food.  (Yes, I know that was a run on, but that’s how those days are.  They are a big simultaneous run on of nothingness and enjoyment.)

That’s a great lazy day, and I love those days.  And that same example can demonstrate my next point.  There is more than one aspect to any choice of activity.

Pros of a lazy day:

  • I get to do something I love all day long
  • Zero planning required
  • Actually, Zero anything required except self and book

Cons of a lazy day:

  • Loss of all social opportunities
  • Creation of a backlog of tasks to be done (because I chose to do nothing all day)

So, today I have the day off.  If I could do anything, what would it be?  After all this deliberation I still have no idea.  But one thing I do know is that with regard to this topic (and probably many more) I need to learn to think outside of the restraints of everyday life, even if it is just for fun.  So what will I do today?  Probably surf the web, go to the grocery store, do some laundry, read or game, but definitely think about what I would do if none of the things I have just mentioned existed or mattered.  What would I do if I truly could do anything I wanted?

**Image by Steve Backshall found in wikimedia commons and used under the license found here.

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