I've moved cross-country twice in the last six years. Honestly, it's not a bad way to spend your time: Wide open spaces, America as seen through the windshield. All those things that songs, short stories and frantic beat novels have said about travelling across the country are surprisingly true. Still, there's a reason that all of those stories leave out all of the preparations for the move. Because as romantic as the open road is, the actual planning, packing and moving is as unsexy.
On this most recent trip, my partner and I took a good look at some of our stuff and realized that it was all stupid. Or at least it could be nearly 70 percent less stupid if we really put our minds to it. So out went the five million wine glasses we were keeping in case a small country decided to stop by for a glass of rosé. Out went the stack of magazines that I swore I was going to get through some day.
And, hardest of all, out went some of our records. It was painful at the time; that curated collection which had been dutifully lugged from apartment to apartment and coast to coast was going to have been culled into a more manageable size. More accurately, it was hard until we actually started digging through the albums. There's nothing to disabuse you of the notion of your coolness, than to take a look through your record collection.
Despite the sheer dorkery of some of these records, I realized that we were holding on to some of them to hold on to who we used to be. My partner wasn't the long-haired hippie boy I'd met those many years ago, and those Allman Brothers records he was holding on to were just the memory of that boy. And I had to admit that I only really listened to "I Just Called to Say I Love You" for the fifteen minutes that song was popular. That kind of love was a foreign idea to that little girl, and is now one that demands more sophisticated declarations -- for example, any other Stevie Wonder song from the 1970s.
Here’s a sampling of some of my dearly departed friends. The criteria for staying was simple: Will we ever listen to these, in their entirety, again? Using that matrix, it was easy to get rid of at least 75 records. Some we sold at our local record store, some we gave away to friends, about 30 of them were bought by some 70s rock loving guy at our garage sale, but most, sad to say, were deposited in a fit of "we have to be out of this apartment in one week" frenzy to the Goodwill down the street. Goodbye old friends, I’ll see you in that dollar record bin in the sky:
1. Billy Joel, The Billy Joel discography from Piano Man to Glass Houses.
I like Billy Joel. I really do. But, do I like him enough to cart his entire early catalog around? No. No, I do not. Also, how did we even get all of these Billy Joel albums?
2. Pavement, Wowee Zowee.
And here is where I have to admit that I was never much of a Pavement fan. I am a fan of the bidding war that ensued when I said I was selling that record.
3. Thomas Dolby, Aliens Ate My Buick.
I thought if I just listened to this album more, it would grow on me.
4. Christopher Cross, Christopher Cross and Another Page
Oh, wait, never mind. I kept those. True story. I am unashamed.
5. The California Raisins.
I don’t remember which album it was, and Wikipedia tells me that they released four (four!). The 80s were a wild ride. A wild, claymation ride.
6. The Dirty Dancing soundtrack and the sequel More Dirty Dancing.
I honestly don’t know how we ended up with those. But, I can tell you that one of them ended up secretly placed in a friend’s collection to be discovered at some later, glorious time.
7. Eddie Murphy, How Could It Be.
It featured the hit song, Party All the Time, which was never as bad as people say it was. Put it on right now, and watch the party happen.
8. Stevie Wonder, The Woman In Red.
This album is the home of the previously mentioned “I Just Called to Say I Love You.” It also has a song about not driving drunk. Good message. Bad song.
9. Jo Jones, Vamp Until Ready.
I wished with all my heart that this album was better, because I sort of liked it. It wasn’t bad, just not worth the lugging.
10. Billy Ocean, Suddenly.
If I let myself be honest, I’m probably still in love with the title track. And that is what iTunes is for.