— Zac Chase (@MrChase) January 4, 2016
I used to mow the lawn every week from spring to fall. Only the front or back half, though. The other half was a brother’s responsibility. To pass the time as I turned my shoes green, I would listen to music and sing-along. Or, more accurately, scream along.
I sang those Weezer or The Vandals songs as loud as I possibly could. I thought the mower blades covered up the noise, but they only helped our neighbors to know when my serenade was going to commence. In that time and space, it was just me and the music and the mower. I was able to get out all of the stress of the week while walking back and forth across the large southeast Ohio lawn.
Later, this scream-singing moved to my car. When I got my driver’s license, I would often just drive so that I could listen to “Say it Ain’t So” or the Rent soundtrack at full volume. At some point, I thought that I would grow out of this. Nearly two decades later, I am still listening to Paper Bag by Fiona Apple and pounding on the steering wheel.
I do not care what the people in the other cars are thinking. I don’t care if they see me crying at the crescendo of Neighborhood #1 (Tunnels). This is my fortress. This is the place where I go to be alone.
Unfortunately, it is also the place I now go to listen to podcasts and have phone calls and get really stressed out about traffic. So much of the time, my solitude isn’t so alone. I’m connected to so many different things going on out in the world of work or my home life. I get pinged about tweets or meeting reminders or text messages from my wife.
That is when the “airplane mode” is for more than just when I am flying at 30,000 feet. It is also for when I need to scream.
It is for when I need to put on a song that I know by heart, and make dangerous decisions with my vocal cords. It is when Matt and Kim make the Daylight feel okay because I can’t look directly at the sun. It is for when I need to just let Table for Glasses spill all over me and not look at the mess it might make.
My fortress is mobile and has four wheels. It the thing that lets me forget all about the outside world… except for the driving part. I try not to forget about that.