You’ve just received your new stereo system. You’ve unpacked it, picked off all those little styrofoam biscuits, and waded your way through the installation manual (but only because you got stuck). Red cable here, green cable there, plug here, connector there. You hit the power button and, with a quiet hum, the beast breathes.
The display oozes neon, backlight buttons beg to be bashed. You pause to admire the smooth sleek lines of the design, the very ones that caught your eye in the sales room, the ones that flirted and seduced, and teased your wallet open. It is time, the virgin speakers crave sound, the electronics quiet hum demands it, the CD slot slides open eagerly, tantalisingly waiting to be filled.
I’ll pause here and state that hi-fi systems do not turn me on and I’m not entirely sure from where the previous paragraph came (pardon the pun). Suffice to say that that is not what I was going to discuss. The following paragraph, however, is.
Where were we? Oh yes, the stereo system, waiting patiently to be played. The big question, of course is: What music will you play?
If you are anything like me (and there must be SOMEONE else who does this) you’ll probably spend more time choosing the first CD that will be played on a new stereo system than you did setting the damn thing up.
This personal foible of mine, isn’t limited to household stereo systems. The same applies for car systems, personal stereos, basically anything that can play music. Hell, I even did this with my mobile phone.
In some respects it’s rooted in the desire not to spoil or sully something new. It’s the same kind of thing that makes me, on some levels, a bit of a clean freak. A pet peeve of mine is people not clearing up after themselves, or leaving messy fingerprints on handles – you know the type of thing, you’re baking, hands covered in flour, and you open a drawer.
Either way, it’s a bit odd.
Why I am pondering all this? Quite simply because I’ve stopped doing it. I wonder what has changed in me, nothing too fundamental I wouldn’t imagine, but something has made me stop doing the same thing I’ve been doing since I was 12 years old.