Awhile back, someone gave me a mixtape.
It wasn’t just any ol’ mixtape.
This person, a boy, carefully selected a medley of music ranging from Tom Waits to Gil Scott-Heron, dropped it all onto a USB drive, and then fused the USB drive into a gutted cassette cartridge, therefore creating a USB mixtape.
The idea that someone wanted to give me a mixtape was lost upon me at first. However, over time the significance became more clearer. You see, it had been a long time since a boy made a mixtape solely for me. The connotation often affiliated with such an act had become foreign to me. A gesture of a time long ago.
At least I thought.
In return, I arduously made the boy a mixtape. Though creatively inferior to his own present, it held the same emphasis nonetheless.
Since the day I received the modern day version of the classic mixtape, I’ve thought a lot about it’s bearing on contemporary culture.
Being the articulate sage I am not, Rob Sheffield, from his book, “Love is a Mixtape”, sums it up better than I ever could;
“The times you lived through, the people you shared those times with- nothing brings it all to life like an old mix tape. It does a better job of storing up memories than actual brain tissue can do. Every mix tape tells a story. Put them together and they can add up to the story of a life.”
For me there is only one song that lives on my own mixtape. It sums up my entire life. It’s the mixtape I will give to myself at my wedding. The mixtape I will play at my child’s birth. The mixtape someone else will have to play for me at my funeral.
It’s a tape made of twenty tracks of “This Must be the Place (Naive Melody)” by Talking Heads.
It’s a song about love. The sort of love where your “head is in the sky” and you “make it up as you go along”. It’s about home, but not really knowing where that is, until you find that person. It’s about death and loving that person until “their heart stops”. The words are spoken by a man who never sang about love, who never sang about his emotions. Only objects and abstraction. A man who probably thought he was incapable of ever feeling such a way.
However, this time he felt something.
This post has been a few months in the making, and now I can finally finish it.
The boy and I parted ways yesterday.
But the mixtape that he put so much time and energy in, the mixtape he nervously handed to me in the kitchen, the mixtape I was too confused to receive, the mixtape I listened to the next night and smiled to until I fell asleep, like a snapshot, has now become a fleeting memory that will forever live on in the essence of itself.
So goodbye, boy. I know you are reading this. You always do.
But maybe today you won’t.
You knew you couldn’t get away with dating a blogger and not getting mentioned at least once on her blog.
Thank you for being my mixtape giver, my daily proofreader, but above all, thank you for being simply amazing.