This is part of my experiment to write regularly and publish every day with the help of 365 Days of Writing Prompts. Today’s prompt: “You make a new friend. Make them a mix tape (or playlist, for the younger folks) that tells them who you are through song.”
Telling someone who I am through songs? That seems impossibly hard. Even I do not know what songs represent me or can show who I am. Speaking of mixing tapes though, I did some of that back then.
There was a time before mobile devices and online streaming. CD players were not popular yet, and both the players and the disks were expensive. Even albums on cassette tapes were quite expensive for just a few songs. Instead, many youngsters like me listened to songs through the radio.
There were quite a few radio programs, especially at night, that played a lot of songs. The Internet was expensive and not a popular thing, TVs were occupied by parents who watched whatever pleased them. So, for many nights, I spent hours at a time listening to the radio, hoping to get songs that I like. When they were played, I taped them. Sometimes, I picked songs that I really liked and made some sort of compilation tapes.
There were a couple of radio programs with fun and entertaining DJs. There were other programs where the DJs just talked pretty aimlessly, and I wished they had just shut up and played the songs. DJs would say something at the beginning or the end of the songs. It annoyed me. I was not sure if they did it intentionally just to mess with anyone who might be recording the songs.
I never shared what I made with my friends though, mainly because I did not have many friends and none of them seemed to share the same interest. But I held onto the tapes that I made. Once, we went out of town to visit an uncle. During a conversation, my tapes were mentioned. Somehow, U had one of those tapes with me. The uncle played the tape in his car while he drove us around. I felt a little proud. I did not get a lot of chances to show off what I did to adults. However, that was one of those few proud opportunities of mine. Good times.
Eventually, I stopped listening to those radio programs and making tapes, possibly because those DJs who talked over my favorite songs had gotten too annoying. I had more pocket money and started buying CDs. Listening to music on computers became a thing. Cassettes and even CDs felt out of popularity. I do not even know where my collection is. Even if they could be found, and I had a cassette player, I might just be bothered by the poor quality of the songs or the (retrospectively) poor taste of mine, or both. Yes, they had their time, but I think I am okay with what I have now. After all, I like the convenience, I like the higher quality, and I have bigger accomplishments (e.g. programming and writing) to show off.