How do you move through the city? Public transport, cars, bike, on foot, other? I mostly travel on foot and by public transport. However, last night my coworker and I were working in East Boston and instead of taking a convoluted “T” ride home, he offered to drive me to a more convenient “T” stop closer to where I live. Rather than changing trains twice, I happy accepted my colleague on his offer.
Following up on a conversation that we had earlier that evening, my colleague started talking about emo music when we entered the van. Are you familiar with emo music? I’m not, but I just got a crash course in the genre earlier that evening. For those of you who don’t know, emo, short for “emotional,” is a brand of rock music, which focuses on the emotional lyrics. My coworker described the genre as, ‘like alternative music, but the lyrics are weird and the singers don’t sing as well.’ Then, he described the different types of emo music, including “math rock,” which is characterized by its atypical tempos and rhythms.
When we started the drive, he surveyed a couple of different emo songs. He would play each piece for about 30 seconds as he half sang/ half explained the song to me. This continued for several minutes until he settled on a song that he liked. I already forget the song that he chose, but I remember that he described it as ‘a math rock song, which has a great ending, but the ending is too grandiose because the musicians aren’t skilled enough to pull it off.’ Although this coworker of mine is really passionate about emo music, he seemed rather apologetic about the actual quality of the music.
Once we got closer to Boston, my coworker started to play songs in their entirety rather than cut them off in the middle. The music was naturally turned up on high volume. Once we passed through the late evening traffic and began to cruise, the music became surprisingly more enjoyable. My coworker again was singing along to the music and swaying with the beat. It was a good moment. As a passenger in the van, I took the opportunity to stare out into the late-night scenery. Boston is lit up at night and Christmas lights are entangled in tree branches. Seeing the world move quickly around me was a beautiful sight. The combination of the pulsing music, my enthusiastic coworker, and the scenery made this one of those moments that is much greater than the sum of its parts.
I’m not a fan of emo music, but I made sure to find the song that was playing for this nice stretch of drive so that I could better remember the moment. If you do not know emo, I will drop a few lines from the song that was playing here, so you can get the tiniest of glimpses into what this genre is all about: I’ll start tanning my skin, to be more like my mother, because I am a ghost in size small clothes. It is a very strange feeling, Dear Reader, to feel so out of your element, but so comfortable in a situation. I can’t say that I can relate to any of the music that I listened to that night. However, I feel happy to have experienced emo in this little moment. With my demanding schedule, sometimes it can feel nice to just sit back and enjoy the ride, if only for a few minutes.
I don’t have to like emo music. I did not pretend to my coworker that I was secretly a fan or that I was going to run home to download some songs. However, I was open to learning about why this genre was special to him. When you are open to new things you allow yourself invaluable opportunities to experience your own beautiful little moments. Cruising along in a company van with emotional wailing in the background, Boston at night somehow never looked so good. Who would have thought? I surely didn’t and I guess that is one of the reasons why the moment was so beautiful.