Emergency Music: Or, How I got out of “The Game”

Yesterday I posted this on my Facebook page:

So, there’s this thing going on where people want to know when it is okay to play Christmas music. And I have decided, in the spirit of all things not within my realm, that today marks the opening day of ” Josh Groban Season.” So, y’all, feel comfortable belting out that Ava Maria or, Heaven forbid, Little Drummer Boy. But for *&^%’s sake, enjoy what you enjoy when you enjoy it and don’t let anyone tell you it is too early, too late, too almost or whatever. Enjoy your dang life, y’all. (So I’m enjoying life so much I decided to go Texan on all y’all.)

And I have to admit that I am the one who may have actually started this thing, earlier in the week when I posted on a friend’s wall:

6:58 am, October 28. I’m officially out of the game.

Which referred to a “game” last year where you try to avoid hearing The Little Drummer Boy as long as  you can.  I didn’t last long last year, either.

After that post, many people chimed in and another friend (who is also now out of the game) asked for people to take a poll on when it is appropriate to start listening to Christmas music.  And that’s when I went all Texan.

In the post where I outted myself from the game, I told people who were incredulous that I was already out that I would blog the circumstances because I didn’t have time to write it all then.  So here is my really boring yet true accounting of how I came to be listening to The Little Drummer Boy at 6:58 in the morning on October 28:

I have had the same 6 CDs in my car’s player for the last two years, I think. Maybe longer. Two of them are holiday-themed CDs.  One is Peter Mayer’s Midwinter, and the other is Josh Groban’s Noel. The other four CDs are your every-day kind of music. Lately, when I drive, I am either listening to NPR or my iPhone. I keep the CD player loaded up with emergency music–music that has accompanied me through most of my adult life and will follow me to my grave: REM, Indigo Girls, Bonnie Raitt.

Somehow, over the last two years, Josh Groban’s Noel was added to the Emergency Music rotation. Maybe out of sheer slothfulness on my part (it’ll be Christmas music time in another 10 months, I might as well leave it in), or maybe out of the fact that I just love his voice. It soothes me. It’s like audible chocolate.

And so, there it was, in the CD player, in the rotation. I got in my car at 7:15 pm on October 27th, after 2+ hours on the commuter bus that takes me from Chicago to my home town. It is a 4-minute drive from the bus to my home, and when I got in the car, the CD-player kicked over to the Josh Groban CD, having just finished up the REM greatest hits CD.

My first instinct was to skip the disc and get to the next one.  But there it was, “Silent Night” and I had had a long day and had just a short drive home and I thought, “this is really pretty,” and so I let it go.  I got home, parked my car, went in to spend what was left of the evening with my family and The Blacklist and didn’t think another thing of it.

Next morning, I get in my car, turn it on and Silent Night ends and … Little Drummer Boy begins.  And you know what?  I laughed.  I thought of my friend who doesn’t ever want to hear it and I thought of my daughters who had, I was quite certain, already started listening to Christmas music, and I thought to myself, dang it all if it ain’t time for a little bit of Christmas.

And so, that’s my story of sound and sloth. And joy.

I don’t ask you to listen to music if you don’t want to, I just ask you not to poop on my party in the meantime.

Blessings to you–and Merry Christmas music season (whenever that starts for you).

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