Turntables and Patience
I have always had a soft spot for old things. From vintage clothes and antique furniture to old books and the elderly I just can't get enough. I love the energy an old bookcase gives off, you can feel it when you touch its shelves, the secrets an antique sitting chair holds from all its been witness to, and the wisdom of my grandparents from a life well lived. It's all so intoxicating.
With that being said it is no surprise that I have a record player in my home, it's not an antique, but it just feels so good to listen to. For the longest time, I couldn't put my finger on why I love it so much. Sure an album sounds totally different on vinyl than it does on Spotify. The songs crack and pop and have this vibration to the sound that you can't get electronically. And as wonderful as all those things are, they are not it. The reason I love my turntable so much is that it teaches me patience every time I turn it on.
Sure I remember cassette tapes, but I grew up in the world of CDs and jumped right into the digital music scene. For most of my life if I wanted to listen to a song I just put it on. No waiting to hear it on the radio, no mastering the art of rewind and fast forward on the cassette or 8-track, and definitely no waiting for the record to turn to my favorite song on an album. A life of instant music gratification, what a gift!
But when I listen to an album on my turntable I must be patient and I must be present. Two of the hardest things for most Americans to do. If I want to hear my favorite song I just have to wait for it, and if I am not present I may miss it. And in that time in which I wait to hear my favorite song, I get to appreciate and love other songs that I wouldn't have bothered to listen to if I was able to just play whatever song I wanted. I also don't have a million records, so sometimes I have to listen to an album that I have heard a million times. And then I learn to appreciate all the nuances and familiar comforts of the album.
In this life, we so often get what we want right when we want it. We live in a world of instant gratification. But the best things in life end up being the ones we have to wait for. However, I fear that principle is losing its meaning. Practicing patience in the little parts of life will help you actually be patient when the harder challenges arise. So let the turntable spin even if it's not what you want to hear, let the music teach you to be patient, and when the needle finally reaches that magical spot on the vinyl, be present and appreciate not just your song, but the journey that brought you to it.