If you’re like me, you associate music or sounds with moments in your life. I grew up in Stillwater, Oklahoma, and I spent my childhood summers at a pool called Crystal Plunge. I have a clear memory (yes, crystal clear!) of coming up out of the water and hearing “One is the Loneliest Number” playing on the speakers. Thank you Three Dog Night for that bit of my life’s soundtrack.
I also can be back on a bus singing along with the Doobie Brothers on “Black Water” with my high school friend Jimbo whenever I hear that song on the radio. Or I recall listening endlessly to U2’s “Stuck In a Moment You Can’t Get Out Of” when I was dealing with some particularly difficult personal struggles. When I hear that song I know that actually I can get out of difficult moments. (Thank you YouTube for the musical sound track flashbacks!)
But it’s not just music, it’s also sounds. Growing up, the screen door in our house had a very distinctive rhythm when it closed. Unfortunately, I can’t replicate it here, but it was “BANG . . . bang, bang” (long. . . short, short). That is such a clear sound in my head, and when my dad replaced that screen door I gave him a hard time for a year or more for taking away part of my life’s sound track.
My 2020 pandemic soundtrack includes “You’re on mute”, “You’re frozen”, and “We can’t hear you”. But it also includes the sounds of dogs barking in my neighborhood, and a little boy on his tricycle who LOVES to bike up and down my side alley and splash in the puddles, and a persistent cough that a neighbor has that I hear every time she walks her dog past my house, and the trash/recycling/composting trucks every other Friday. And it includes this little tidbit. My condo is undergoing some remediation work, and I spent a week recently listening to that sound all day every day – the sound of sawing into the stucco around all my windows. In one or two of my meetings that week, I’m pretty sure I was shouting so that I could hear myself over the din.
2020 has been topsy turvy. Instead of my 2020 soundtrack reflecting the chatting of colleagues in the hallway, or the voice of my colleague on speakerphone in the next office, it reflects the sounds of my neighborhood, and the virtual world of Google Meet/WebEx/Zoom/GoToMeetings/BlueJeans. And that’s okay. It’s part of how I will remember this year when I look back on all that we did, individually and collectively, to keep ACC not only afloat but sailing forward.