Tanks Never On Empty
Fuck. Fuck, oh fuck. That was the airbag. My chest hurts. Is my sternum broken? I don't think so. Ribs neither. Ohhhh shit, that hurt. Maybe it is. Too much noise, don't know how to stop it. Jesus fucking Christ, the other car is flipped. Need to grab stuff; iPod is working, glasses are on ground. Did the airbag break them? No. So much smoke. Shit, that cars fucked. My cars fucked. My arm is cut. Is there glass in me? No. Is my face fucked up? I don't know. I don't know how to even check. Shit, SHIT, there's smoke coming into the car. Is it on fire, is gasoline leaking, am I ok. Cars explode right? Fuck. Oh God. That car's on its side. Is that person dead - they might be dead. Fuck, oh fuck, people are crowding around. Too much smoke. Need to get out. What else fell - the Kombucha bottle is still fucking intact? There's Justin's going away card. Why can't I put it in park. Shift, fucking shift. Get out. My balance is fucked. So many people. Get to the other car.
"Should we flip it over?"
No. Stop, don't move it, don't. Stop.
"Sir, sir. Are you ok, can you move? Can you hear me? I'm a nurse."
"I already called 911. Has he moved?"
"Did you see it happen?"
"Yeah, this street."
"Oh, happens all the time around here. These intersections, all the time."
"Sir, can you hear me?"
He responded. Fuck, my chest hurts. He's alive. Firetruck showed up, shit, this is really happening. Sirens. Voices. Traffic. No, I don't want an ambulance. That shit costs money, I already apparently need a new car. I need to call my girlfriend, I need to call my mom; at least this guy isn't dead. Hope his legs are broken though, fucking asshole trying to cut across against traffic. My car, my car, my fucking car. Alright, you couldn't shift it into park before because the keys aren't all the way out. Take the keys out. It's parked. That's right, 30 Seconds to Mars was playing. Fuck that's loud.
Thompson had it right. Truth is, any other song likely would've led to a different outcome. Hypothetically speaking, lets say I didn't have my iPod at the time, and instead relied on the radio to get pumped for work. I run the risk of something like Adele playing, or Sam Smith - i.e. I run the risk of having my life force robbed of me via sad fucks. (Seriously, that "Stay With Me" song was infuriating. Get over it you harlot, grab your socks and tell them thank you for putting up with your boring whiny ass in the first place. It's called developing a personality - makes people want to hang around you longer than the time it takes for you to dribble out a nut.) That's good for at least 10MPH less driving to work. Which means that dickhead would have been able to cut across traffic to get to his oh-so important destination; ruining his chances of ruining my day.
But no, I was playing music I like. Just like when I play "Gimme the Loot" by Notorious, or Jay-Z's "Dirt Off Your Shoulder." I get chills when "Machine Gun" comes on by Hendrix and instantly want to go all Marlon Brando-"Apocalypse Now" and go to Vietnam to shoot up a bunch of heroin in the jungle. And when Kendrick Lamar's "Radioactive" verse starts on his remix with Imagine Dragons, I swear that it doesn't matter how tired I am at the gym - I can do more reps. It's lightning in a bottle for me no matter how many times I hear it. Jet fuel laced with crack for the soul.
Music has always been a huge influence in my life. Maybe because my mom always had it playing in the house growing up. Or maybe because music opened up windows that let me peer into other people's realities. Eminem, Notorious B.I.G. and 50 cent were my gateways into hip-hop, and like any obsession, forced me to dig deep back into the history of the genre. Mos Def, KRS-One, Grandmaster Flash, Eric B. and Rakim. Discovering a new artist in middle school was like finding a precious stone. I remember how long it took to find Ice Cube's "Hello" after I heard part of it in my brothers truck. Not quite as long as it took for me to find Busta Rhymes' "Break Ya Neck" after I heard it blaring from a car driving past my school's playground. I couldn't let it slip away from me - just keep repeating "get money cash that check for me" something, something, "nigga", something, "break your neck for me." Imagine the white guilt a kid feels knowing he has to repeat nigga over and over in his head. It's ok, I'll live. And after a few hours of persistent LimeWire use later that day, I was wildin' the fuck out.
And my range constantly expands. My girlfriend laughs sometimes at how my playlists can go from A$AP Rocky, to Led Zeppelin, to some funky EDM shit, and then right back to one of the greatest lyricists of all time, Big Pun. I never listened to 30 Seconds to Mars before she introduced them to me, and even though I never really explore that genre, their talent was undeniable and their frequency resonated with me. Just like how she now listens to Kendrick Lamar and can rap the chorus to "Backseat Freestyle" better than me at times. We shared music like how two people can share a lunch. One brought chicken salad, the other a burger. They're both sandwiches. Different flavors, but fuel nonetheless.
But that's the beauty in it. Music is universal, and I believe any genre can influence any individual. We get caught up in pretenses and broad labels. We'll limit what we listen to because we create an idea in our head that we don't like that genre because of one song we may have heard, or some random event that is associated with it. Many hate rap because the trendy industry singles on the radio talk about cliché shit. Yet for every stereotypical rap song, you can find a country song that talks about the same shit. Rims vs. Trucks. Ho's vs. women with tight shorts on in a bar. Smoking blunts vs. sipping on whiskey. It's all relative and indicative of culture and branding. There are no real rules; only simply degrees of expression. Like how Everlast left "House of Pain" and was told that "What Its Like" would never work. One iconic song later, and he's doing solo country-rap hybrid albums. Artistic confines get blurred when creativity triumphs over critics. Marilyn Manson creeped me the fuck out. What was up with his funky contacts. Why does he have tits in some of his videos? But when his rendition of "Sweet Dreams" comes on, you know some shit could go down. It changes the molecules in the air. No less than when everyone is singing along to "Bohemian Rhapsody." If you have a pulse, you'll be asking "Scaramouche Scaramouche, will you do the Fandango?" with the rest of them.
So it's no wonder as to why my iPod was the first thing I looked for. Well, I mean, after determining if I was dying or not. It's a serious close second though, and the reality of losing my fuel source was realized less than two days afterward when my computer decided to take a shit, dragging iTunes down the toilet with it. Most people keep their music on their phones. I rock a 160GB brick. I'm talking the old school; the no touch screen, use the shitty wheel to scroll through nearly 4,000 songs model. It's dependable in its simplicity, and I appreciate that. (What is this, a fucking retro Apple commercial?) There is also something to be said about a device that is its own entity. It furthers our human nature desires to categorize everything in neat little boxes. Politics, race, culture, sexuality, bathrooms - alright, I'm getting way too philosophical. Here's a song I really like. Ooo, squirrel!
This song has fueled me since 2012. I've gotten fucking crazy to this song with close friends, and cried to it by myself. I've gone to sleep listening to it, and woken up with it in my head. I love the Steve Aoki version of it. In fact, the first time I heard this song was seeing Project X with a girl I was trying to bone. Never did. Glad I didn't. Total headcase; tried to get me to go walk her dog with her that she had to pick up from her ex-marine boyfriend just to piss him off. Talk about a red flag, but I digress. But that was the first time I got to take my car out to Westgate and put some mileage on that beast. The same car that I just lost. And I'll never forget the feeling racing back home on the freeway to this song. It was the epitome of freedom. It represented my entire being. I was on a pursuit for happiness, as cliché as it sounds, and could have done anything I wanted at that moment. I guess I still am. This song was on repeat for weeks. This is my heart, this is my everything, this my joy and this is my sorrow. It helped write this. You could play this for my highest achievement just as fucking loud as you could play it at my funeral. This song may have even saved me from the latter. Who the fuck knows, but god damn a series of frequencies, rhythms, and lyrics can be so compelling.
There is so much more that I could get into with this. I wanted to talk about N.W.A. and what they contributed as far as fueling the populace. I wanted to get deeper into the idea of energy and the quote from Hunter S. Thompson that started this all. I wanted to add more dope ass songs. But, I think I'll just listen to this song really fucking loud and be happy.