On a 2005 hike with my former landlord, Paul, we talked about life and aging.
I was 23 at the time. He was more than twice my age.
He said life was like a vinyl record on a turntable. The early years are like the opening tracks, with the needle taking longer to make a revolution around the disc. As time advances, the needle nears the center of the slab and the record spins faster and faster, much the same way people say time seems to speed up with age.
I’d heard the analogy before, but instead of a record, it was a roll of toilet paper. I prefer the vinyl example.
Paul rented me my first home in California – an apartment in Nevada City, where I lived for three years before I joined the Daily Republic.
Because today marks 10 years since I arrived in the Golden State from Colorado, I’ve reflected on that time.
Music and pop culture are a colossal part of that time. I saw hundreds of concerts, from An Angle to Zion I, watched hundreds of hours of television and films and even read a few good books.
Still, there are few pop-culture-related moments that stand out during that time.
One came in a movie theater in Grass Valley in 2005. I moved here a pacifist, but that started to change after seeing “Hotel Rwanda.” After watching Paul Rusesabagina (Don Cheadle) struggle with powers far beyond his control in an indifferent world, I realized pacifism needs the fuel of idealism, but ideals are ineffectual against an enemy that does not respond to reason and idealism.
I still think the ideal of pacifism is worth aspiring to, but I understand the need for force. It’s a change in perspective that’s allowed me to be the editor of Travis Air Force Base’s Tailwind at the Daily Republic for the past seven years.
While my spirituality hasn’t changed as drastically, a moving moment came when I saw Sigur Rós in Berkeley in 2008.
Dark clouds threatened rain the entire night, but didn’t deliver much more than a sporadic dusting. However, things changed for the final song, when Sigur Rós played “Popplagið,” which increases in volume and intensity during its 15 minutes.
As the song steered toward its climax, drizzle began to fall. As “Popplagið” continued to build and swell, so did the water from the sky. Every time the song ratcheted up a notch, the rain fell harder, until we stood awed and soaked at its conclusion.
It felt as though some force out there was listening along, attempting to duet with the band. It was hard to believe there couldn’t be something bigger than all of us behind it all.
I was in the same sort of contemplative state last month.
Around the time I left Colorado, 311 had a hit with a cover of The Cure’s “Lovesong.” The chorus struck a chord with someone moving 1,000 miles away from the only state he’d ever called home: “However far away, I will always love you.”
Last month, The Cure headlined the first night of BottleRock, performing “Lovesong” early in the night.
I had a thought and I couldn’t help but laugh. I thought about going back in time to tell myself in 2004, “In 10 years, you’re going to be in a field in Napa, watching The Cure play this song at sunset.” I’d like to think I would’ve laughed and said it sounded good.
I couldn’t have predicted a decade ago that this is where I’d be. The fact that we don’t know what comes next gives significance to all of our lives, each person’s individual record spinning on the turntable of life.
All we have is now. No one knows when the needle goes up for any of us. If the past 10 years have taught me anything, it’s that it’s best to enjoy the record while it’s spinning, no matter how fast it moves.
You could try that analogy in toilet paper, but I wouldn’t suggest it.
To read more of Nick DeCicco’s blogs, visit http://dailyrepublic.typepad.com/forthoseabouttorock. Follow him on Twitter @ndeciccodr.