Humans are judged in three ways, general speaking. They are categorized by themselves, how they choose to see themselves, which ultimately affects how they present themselves to others. They are categorized by their contemporaries, what they as a person chooses to share and how that is interpreted by the contemporary in the context of the contemporary’s life. And finally, they are categorized by those who are not party to the person but still come to categorization based on assumption and heresy.
Her mind drifted through the different interactions and how each individual deals with these three judgments in their own way. The introspective nature of her being dominated, but she was not without nervousness.
Her long, slender fingers slid over the graying worn paper spines of the records in the bin. Flopping them over one by one, with a soft thump emphasizing each flick her eyes scanned the artwork, twitching back and forth in rapid succession, and every once in a while peering up, to determine the proximity of the other aficionados as she slipped a title out.
It was not that she cared being judged by having the Descents and Miles Davis laid on top of one another, but she knew that someone would see them and decide something about her. Something unreal, something fictitious. It would drive them to avoid her, or strike up an awkward conversation at worst… though, at best, she hoped, it would make them think about themselves.
“I put that record on, just to make a sound…” resonated in her mind. She knew that feeling all to well. She found herself escape in the gritty sounds of the needle against vinyl reflecting in her speakers, the musty smell of the sleeves, nostalgia for times she never knew. She felt the same with an old book in the library, an old log in the forest, an old pot in an old kitchen.
The aging paper under the soft touch of her fingers, dry and brittle and unlike anything else she’d ever experienced. From the first time she felt it, invigorated her, touched her emotionally, almost spiritually. She would delicately slip the black, vinyl disc from it, feeling its weight, the slick feel to her touch, and place it on the player to experience the deep, warm tones resonate in the room, and through her soul.
As much as she tried to defy the stereotype she was it, and she knew it…
Most little girls want prince charming. They want that preconceived notion of the perfect life derived from the perfect love. What she wanted was the mystery of nostalgia and the return to a world she never knew as she defined it.
“I look to you and i see nothing, i look to you and see the truth… you are nothing” was the neurotic thought that constantly treaded through her thought.
Her disdain for the modern interpretation of pop culture was not the problem, per se, as she gritted her teeth and shuffled her feet flipping trough sell-back albums from a by-gone era of Gary Neuman, Toni Basil and the Waitresses, it was not the sad recurrent nature of pop that sickened her it was moreso, the fact that even her loves were a sad parallel to that.
Pulling her hoodie over her black hair to veil her face and hide her shame just as a young man began to walk over to investigate the collection of used records she was already flipping through. He set himself to the next row over and soon lost interest in her and focused on the sound of the records flipping between his fingers… and as she realized this, she felt dejected.
That was the irony of her being. As an introvert she was focused on herself, happy with herself. Yet, she longed and needed the simple interaction, the smile the passing hello, to survive, or rather, thrive and, in being an introvert, she just passed up that subtle interaction… and who knows what else she gave up in the process.
It forced her to reconsider what she had done, what she had failed to do and, in essence who she was at every turn. She tried desperately to reconfigure herself, to reacquaint herself to the situation and to try and engage her fellow audiophile.
Sadly, the moment was lost. He was shuffling along the titles in the opposite direction. Her mind drifted, definitely, back to her own pile of records. What did she really think of them? She knew, in private, in her own soul, she’d enjoy them, but would, or could, anyone ever enjoy them like she would? Would it be fair to expect anyone to?
No, she knew, deep down, that was what made her an individual, and wanting, wishing or hoping for anyone that could interact with her in any way that touched her soul the way she could stroke the sensuality of her own soul was a near impossibility.
“I never claimed to be something more than me,” as she paused to hum in the record shop to the song playing in the background but here melody was distracted by the continued meandering of thoughts, “who I am is no more who I claim to be,” but she cut herself off before she could be too self-proclaiming. She knew her roots would never allow self-worth to become more than deprecating realization, the minute it began to show ego, she’d hide back in her being… rescinding and recoiling.
Trying to rekindle that brief and fleeing moment with the young man were fruitless, he was already lost in his own personal solace flipping through the softness of the records he was flipping through. The musty smell and rising dust with each toss of a title under his fingers raised her interest but forced her further within herself as she mimicked the execution in the opposite direction.
Individuality came at a price, she felt and she continued to hum to herself as she moved along the worn, wooden racks. Each record that pass though her hand felt luxuriousness, as if experiencing it the first time again, with the drama and flare of it even if she already owned it. As she felt the titles flip to the next she felt more introspective and self-assured and became more at home under her soft, cotton hood, forgetting what she felt challenged by just moments ago.