For as long as I can remember, few things on the planet have made me happier than getting mail. When I was little I used to stalk the mailbox outside our house waiting for the day's stack of magazines, catalogs, letters and what-not. We lived in a rural area, miles from civilization and whatever items that landed in the mailbox provided a much appreciated connection to the outside world. Growing up, I subscribed to whatever magazines and catalogs I could get my hands on, maintained correspondence with multiple pen pals--all in the name of receiving my much adored mail.
I discovered the internet in the mid-90's. My father was always something of a tech geek, and our family was one of the first in our small town to discover the interwebs and the magic of email.
Fast forward to the future.
These days, we live our lives online. We blog, Twitter, Facebook, read the paper and pay our bills on the internet. It's as accepted a communicational medium as the radio and television.
So much so that snail mail has fallen by the way-side. Despite the handful of magazines I subscribe to, these days, opening my mailbox mainly fills me with irritation and dread. Credit card statements, bank balances that mock my inability to save, menus from crap Chinese joints are generally what greet me.
But not yesterday.
Yesterday, I opened my mailbox to find a slim manila envelope with my name and address scrawled in neat, boyish handwriting and a return address from far-away. The much anticipated mix cd. Of course, I opened it immediately.
The mix is a much ballyhooed relic of pop culture. Many a writer has already waxed poetic about the capacity of a mix to recontextualize artistic intent, communicate feeling and thought, woo, reflect the idenitity of its creator.
Being that I've grown a bit tired of the what-does-this-mean of my communication with the person who sent me this cd, I vowed simply to listen to it and enjoy. And that I am. He had asked me what I liked listening to and I named a bunch of bands that rock, yet still manage to sound pretty and melodic. And man, did he deliver. Much like the CD's creator, this mix is badass, sexy and a wee-bit addictive. I don't have the track list so I can't be quite certain what it is I am listening to, but that adds to the mystery. And you all know how much I love mystery (the quality of intruige, not the dude with the silly guyliner and rediculous boas-him, him I can do without). This mix is good old-fashioned, rollicking party music. It makes me want to dance around my apartment, something I am *never* inclined to do. I love it so much I don't even care if the selected tracks are meant to communicate a deep, hidden meaning.
What counts more is that somebody made if for me and did such a great job in selecting songs that perfectly fit my tastes and speak to my inner rebel. I don't even care if it was intentional or not.
Sometimes it's not about process. It's about product.
All hail the mix.