I love a good mixed tape. Yes, that’s right: a good mixed tape. I no longer have the apparatus necessary for creating one, but I miss the attention and care that went into making them. Now you just dump songs into a list on your computer. It tells you when you’ve taken the list too far (only if you’re trying to fit it onto a cd), so you condense, song by song. A mixed tape, though, took so much more. It required mathematical skills, looking in the liner notes for exact timings, planning for any breaks between songs, and trying to avoid a long, silent lull at the end of one side. Also: sides! Mixed tapes had two sides, so you could categorize if you so desired. Also: No shuffle function! There could be meaning in the order of your songs, a progression of sorts.
I am an avid tape-listener in my car. When I bought the car a few years ago, I never really even thought of upgrading to a cd player. Instead I lamented that I didn’t have a stereo at home that could effectively play cds and record them onto cassettes. I’m glad I didn’t upgrade — I still like my tapes (thrift store finds for the most part, with a sprinkling of childhood leftovers and some I’ve permanently borrowed from my parents (I don’t think they know) (sorry mom and dad, but Some Girls is seriously good)). Another reason I’m happy about having the tape player is that I don’t have to mess with one of those radio frequency iPod adapter things.
This weekend I cleaned out my car — even the little plastic “pocket” on the passenger door — and I found a mixed tape. I know who left it there, but that’s about all I know about it. I had even listened to it before, but I hadn’t noticed that one side is titled “Soundtrack: The Rehardening, Vol. 2,” in a way implying that this was actually the soundtrack for a re-rehardening. It is useful to me right now, as I think I’m rehardening (or re-rehardening). The songs are a mix of everything: the Shins, Patsy Cline, several I don’t know, like this lady who sings, “Mama said one thing’s for certain: it’ll feel good when it stops hurtin’.” They’re about loving, letting go, moving on, being okay, looking back fondly, but not too sentimentally. What they are not about is the heartbreaking part of heartbreak, pathetic longing, wallowing, moping.
Nothing else noteworthy was found in the excavation of my car’s contents. I got it washed on Sunday, and tonight after a really long time of no rain, the storm I’d hoped would rinse it off finally came, a little late but welcome all the same.