Thursday, March 13, 2014

Time is a Compact Disc (Kid N)

On my way to work this morning, I decided that I would listen to Radiohead's Kid A when I got home. I had no particular reason for wanting to do this; the idea just popped into my head capriciously. But it was a plan that I latched onto. Get home, dust off the stereo and open my hefty, dust-gathered Case Logic CD holder.

I have a one- to two-hour window every weekday night in which to consume some form of leisure while chilling with my dachshund before my wife gets home. In the past half-year, that entertainment has included reading e-books, re-watching The Wire on DVD and The Twilight Zone on my laptop, watching NBA League Pass Miami Heat basketball games, watching some other shows (True Detective, Agents of SHIELD, The Real Housewives of Mogadishu), and playing RPG games on my iPhone (Final Fantasy IV and VI). This week, though, I decided to do something different each night instead of following a consistent plan*, and Kid A's straw got pulled from my mind grapes.

Aside from being one of the greatest albums ever created**, the album holds a profound significance for me. It was released in the fall of 2000, six months into my first year in Korea. Listening to it tonight, I was again reminded of its greatness while also reflecting on the intervening years since its release.

I got married. Had a beautiful daughter. Got divorced. Remarried. Got a dog. Met so many good people, and, unfortunately, lost some of them. Taught English, did recruiting, freelanced, Dragonlanced. Worked at tech companies big and small, and got to shoot at my co-workers (for game testing!). Protected my household from cobras***, and beat Contra 4.

That all seems so long ago yet still so close and dear. I remember the kids I used to teach, some who must have families by now, and others who might have succumbed to illness*****. Every day, I sit at my desk, and, while poring over walls of text, I get snatches of long-forgotten memories, some as insignificant as purchasing a candy bar when I was a kid, others as poignant as the one time I tongue-kissed Queen Elizabeth.

Just Kid(A)ding.

* On Wednesday I kept my eyes closed to simulate blindness. Yesterday I tried to waterboard myself (it's like trying to tickle yourself; it doesn't work).

** Rolling Stone named it the best album of the 2000s (even though they gave it a 4/5 review), and I'm inclined to agree. NME, on the other hand (or maybe it was Q; I get those two publications confused like people confuse Bill Pullman and Bill Paxton), declared it the second-best Radiohead album after In Rainbows, which, as good as In Rainbows is, is just crazy talk.

*** No, wait, that was Rikki-Tikki-Tavi.

**** I had a student, Young, who had cerebral palsy and whom would write the most insightful essays. Not a day goes by that I don't think about her and wonder what happened to her.

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