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7. Death of original something
The guard on the first floor of our building stopped me this morning in the lobby, as I was humming, about to board the elevator.
"You just reminded me of someone I used to work with years ago," he said. "An old, black man from the South who used to say whistling and humming was a sign of contentment. When you came in here humming like that, you reminded me of him."
I took this as a good omen - a compliment, even. First, conjuring the stereotype of a contented and wizened old black man unselfconsciously singing to himself, to describe me, will practically earn you a marriage proposal. Second, I did grow up in the South, and I was humming - and feeling content, no less - so it was nice, as it must always be, to feel seen.
But I couldn’t respond to this guy, couldn’t thank him, couldn’t do anything but vaguely smile, because all I could think about was his breath. His mouth had recently been soaked in either Listerine, or whiskey, or both, and not knowing whether he had admirable hygiene or was spectacularly drunk paralyzed me.
So I smiled - vaguely, like I said, the kind of smile you might expect of a great grandmother’s ghost in a dream - as I backed into the elevator car and waited for the doors to close between us, and I let it carry me to my floor in silence.
With what song/track would you test out a new pair of headphones?
And he got some great answers. And I thought, “I have some answers too.” But unlike people who just answered his question inline like normal human beings, I am full enough of my own cheap self to believe my answers merit broader exposure than they would receive on Ryan’s Activity page alone. Plus, I’m looking for new headphones and his question made me think about how I could better go about my shopping. So here are the four songs I decided to put on my phone today, after thinking long and hard about Ryan’s question. They are the four I will use to decide what headphones I like best.
Admit it. It’s a good list. Covers a lot of territory. It’s not a bad list at all. Not that bad.