Last summer, the very worst thing happened to me.
I was on location with my friend. She was shooting a contained thriller in the middle of the Pennsylvanian countryside, just outside of Philly. The days were long. Really long. By the end of each twelve, thirteen or sometimes fourteen-hour day, we’d come back to the hotel and collapse, trying to squeeze in what few hours of down time we could before the next morning’s pathetically early call. Our dinners consisted of mixed greens and marginally undercooked chicken from one of the three local fast food chains in the small, working-class town.
(Shooting in a remote town in the middle of nowhere? Believe it or not, not the worst thing.)
One day, by the grace of the celluloid gods, we somehow managed to wrap early. And by early, I mean probably about 7 PM. The night was young. What were two girls to do? Well, if I told you my friend was HelloGiggles & Real Girl’s Kitchen’s own Haylie Duff, you’d know what one girl was to do. One girl was itching to COOK US A FEAST.
(Haylie cooking us some nom-noms? This is obviously not the worst thing.)
So there we were, in her suite’s “kitchen” (I use the word loosely). She was concocting some sort of an amazing feast while I diligently took on the pivotal role of “sous-chef” (again, I use the word loosely).
And then she said it:
(Here comes the worst thing.)
“V, my iPhone’s dead – hook up yours to the stereo. This place needs some music.”
(THE WORST THING.)
I think I gasped. Seriously. Audibly. It was as if she’d asked me to strip down to my skivvies and run naked down the hallways of the hotel. Actually, had she asked me to run around naked, it probably would have made me feel less nauseous.
“Uh…” That was my answer: Uh.
She looked at me with a smile. “Where is it?” she asked. “I’ll hook it up.”
“It’s…” A panicked pause. Where the eff-bomb was my phone? If it was close enough, maybe I could grab it first and pretend my battery was dead, too.
I saw her scanning the area. I froze. All I could think was: “Please let me have forgotten it in my room… please let me have forgotten it in my room…” (As if my phone has ever been outside of a 16″ radius from my fingers.)
And then it happened: the dreaded vibration. Usually a signal that someone loves you, this alert might as well have been sent by the devil, a freaking text message identifying the exact location of my playlist like it was sonar.
Haylie grabbed my phone and immediately started searching my music for something to play. I watched helplessly, wanting to throw up, because I knew that nowhere in my 4,300 song library was there a single “cool” song. No Plain White T’s, no Black Keys. No Killers. No Wilco. No Sigur Ros or Kings of Leon. I’d never once heard of The Boxer Rebellion and Band of Horses sounded like something you’d find on a farm. There were no Strokes, no Fleet Foxes (confession: I got this list from a friend). Heck, at that time, there wasn’t even a single She & Him (don’t worry Zooey, there is now).
My playlist was missing any song heard at any Coachella since Coachella began. Haylie was a finger-swipe away from scrolling through 4,300 songs featuring The Carpenters, a little Bette Midler, some Wilson Phillips, the occasional Celine Dion and The Quintessential Backstreet Boys Collection, mixed in was possibly some stuff your parents listen to, smattered alongside the stand-by Top 40, some country that I pretend isn’t actually country, a bunch of one hit wonders, a lot of film scores and more songs from the ’80s than I’d ever care to admit.
Truth? I know nothing about indie music. It’s not because I don’t like listening to it – I just don’t know where to begin. To me, learning Russian would be easier than managing what’s hot in that large corner of the music world. The thought of discovering new bands overwhelms me. Seriously. The statement: “Have you heard this new band?” is non-existent in my vocabulary. I know, I know. It’s a personality flaw.
Yes. My name is Vanessa and I am ashamed of my playlist.
Because of this, I’m ridiculously protective of my iPhone musical library. I feel like my playlist is like my diary. It’s top secret. I don’t really want you to know what I’m listening to – even if you are my friend… actually, especially if you are my friend. The minute you start flipping through my vast collection of A-Teens songs, I quickly lose my cool card. One accidental slip and Neil Sedaka might fill the room (yeah, go ahead, take a minute to Google him). But that’s the great thing about headphones… and also why my nightmares are filled with me one day accidentally downloading Spotify. Nobody ever needs to know. It’s the vow of trust I share with my phone: we don’t judge each other. I won’t second guess its Genius List Picks if it doesn’t mock me when I press play.
As Haylie scrunched her nose, obviously flummoxed by what she was scanning through, I tried to come up with an explanation for my taste in music. (“It’s my mom’s playlist!, I swear!”) Until – deus ex machina – a knock at the door. Sweet heavenly day: someone else. Someone who I immediately knew would have a playlist FULL of cool, room-filling indie bands.
My iPhone was abandoned; my nausea slowly dissipated, and never ever have Haylie and I ever revisited what was on my playlist that day.
Image via eHow