My headphones, the ugly green ones I bought in Europe, are broken.
Initially, it bothered me, because the music was so twisted, so mutilated, it was barely recognizable. I strained to make out the chorus, while the bass line loudly echoed in my ears. I cursed the disappearance of my music.
Then, yesterday, I decided to listen anyway, because silence was becoming insufferable. I wrote poems while the strange noise played in the background. Then, it struck me that the warped noise was still music. It wasn't the music I was expecting, but the expected is boring anyway. But this music, this was mine. Music where the back-up singers' refrains loudly take center stage and, for the first time, I hear the chime of a triangle in a song I've listened to 27 times. I can finally stop listening to the screaming message of the lyrics, and listen to the accompanying violins.
I could get a new pair of perfect plastic headphones. But those are cheap; a dime a dozen. These headphones, my headphones, with their frayed cord, are irreplaceable; they let me listen to music that no one else gets to. A whole new perspective.
When I stop trying to see the world as it's supposed to be -- or at least as I expect it to be -- I get to experience a new private universe, where there is no right answer, because the scarlet letter can symbolize whatever I want it to, and the bass line is more important than the lyrics. The immediate, obvious layer is pulled back and I am permitted to see things anew. This universe belongs to me.
But if you ask nicely, I'll let you borrow my headphones, just for a little while.