My visit to the dentist yesterday wasn’t as fraught with horror, pain and agony as some haters speculated it would be. He was skillful with his drills and injections and, truth is, the only pain I felt the whole time was from the desktop computer which was playing mid-90s easy-listening music. You know, the kind of music that is often described as “soothing” and “relaxing” and “calming”. There are those of us who describe the same thing as “sickening”.
The thing I hate about dentist visits isn’t the anticipation of pain that mostly never arrives. The thing I hate about dentist visits is the boredom: having to sit still for a whole hour. I have learned to fill in the time by playing a concert in my head, featuring the music I like, of course. So I had Common and Mary J Blige in my mind contradicting Bryan Adams and Barbara Streisand. I had the Goo Goo Dolls versus his Shania Twain.
I also had an epiphany. This is why we will never get along.
People who listen to easy-listening and people who like rock, hardcore hip hop the classical forms of jazz will never see eye to eye; each side will always accuse the other side of just completely, exasperatingly, incorrigibly lacking taste.
You will find Kenny G fans think Miles Davis fans have something wrong with their ears.
I think it’s because we each use music for different things and we each think this is the natural and obvious use for music. They use music to relax them, we don’t. We want music to excite us. We want to be roused, charged, moved if not positively, then negatively, it doesn’t matter, as long as it takes us somewhere. So a song that can just tootle away inconspicuously in the background is just a faulty and inadequate thing to us. So the same way you will never get Scarface is the same way I will never get Abba.
But it was, however, with a great sense of pride that I brushed my newly-reconstituted tooth this morning.