I have a fear of flying. When I was in college, I was travelling home from Kentucky to see my family in the Pacific Northwest, and when we tried to land in Seattle during one of the epic windstorms they seem to get every three years or so, the result was turbulence the likes of which I hadn’t encountered before and haven’t since. We hit air pockets that dropped us a lot in a hurry, I noticed at least two people in my general vicinity praying, and there were emergency vehicles on the ground with their lights on (I have no idea if they were waiting for us or what, but it certainly made my mind race). Ultimately, the pilot couldn’t get the plane down in the crosswind (we couldn’t have been more than 100 feet off the ground at our lowest point), and ended up flying down to Portland to land there. They said they were going to refuel and go back to land in Seattle. That was them; I got off the plane in Portland, called my family (my sister and stepdad were kind enough to drive in the middle of the night to get me), tried to sleep in the Portland airport, got thrown out by security, and waited outside (I got my bags a couple days later, including my instrument). Prior to that, I had no real issues with flying, but since then I get really nervous (not so nervous I have to take medication, but nervous enough to sweat profusely and get clammy hands).
In response to that incident, I often take cues from those around me when I fly. It can be comforting to look around the cabin of the plane and see people sleeping or laughing or having a conversation seemingly at peace, even if I’m frantically worrying about the fact that the captain just turned the “Fasten Seat Belt” sign back on. The truth is, though, that it really isn’t THAT much help; I still get incredibly nervous during the flight no matter what people’s reactions to the same turbulence I’m feeling are. Compounding the frustration, the turbulence is almost always nothing but the tiniest bumps, but it draws an overreaction from me, logic be damned.
I bring this up not because no one gives a shit, but because it is actually indicative of a trend in me, including one that relates to this blog. For example, when dealing with people socially, my personality is generally contingent on theirs. If the person is generally a reserved, quiet type who keeps their distance, I am not the kind of person to try and relate to them, but instead just shut down and keep quiet myself. Conversely, if a person is generally outgoing and willing to engage in a conversation, I won’t shut up, and I become pretty gregarious and outgoing myself. It doesn’t take much for me to make a call on this either way; I will usually try and make one of my many off-color or weird comments, and if the response is the normal “what the fuck is wrong with you?” stare that I’ve grown accustomed to, I just bottle myself up and wait for the next opportunity. Perhaps that’s an overreaction on my part, but that’s how I am.
Now that I’ve wasted 549 words (and counting!) of your life setting this all up, allow me to get to the point. I’ve uploaded a few performances that were captured from broadcasts here over the years, largely because they resonated with me and I wanted to share them. I always thought it would really cool to work in a local book store or record store where you can recommend things to people and develop a relationship with them to broaden all of our horizons. I saw some pretty great movies based on the recommendations of dudes in local video stores, and I always enjoyed the very basic cycle of learning and sharing with others. These uploaded performances were, in essence, my digital equivalent of that. I don’t even know how many people ever downloaded them, but in my head I would like to pretend that readers respected my thoughts on the various performances I uploaded and valued my opinion like they would an 80-year-old woman with blue glasses at a small bookstore in rural Kansas who always encourages people to read the Travelling Pants book.
I’m not entirely sure about the legality of these uploads. I always just took my cues from the rest of the online music community, and it generally seemed to be fine to upload broadcasts. But after being contacted by a member of the San Francisco Symphony’s administration requesting that I remove the links to the Mahler 1 upload from the other day, I got spooked enough to question the entire endeavor. I still don’t know about the legality of these uploads, but in many ways that’s the point. The copyright laws of the United States confuse the shit out of people much smarter than I am, and I don’t really have the time or inclination to read “The Complete Idiot’s Guide to United States Copyright Law.” All I know is, if the government ever contacted me telling me that I had to pay them $1.9 million for 24 songs, the chances of my last post being a suicide note with anti-American epithets would increase ten-fold. I know the chances of that happening are incredibly remote, but the chances of a plane crash in a developed nation are 1-in-14,000,000 and I still think I might die every time I fly.
I’ve ended up wasting 900 words of your life now, but it was all to say that I think I give up on the wonderful world of uploading and downloading broadcasts. Many people, my girlfriend included, would say that I’m not assertive and cave too easily to external pressures. But my girlfriend is also smarter than me, especially when it comes to copyright issues, and she always wondered whether it was a good idea or not. I’m fairly certain that I’d rather not find out for sure. I’ll probably still post short clips and excerpts, because I’m almost positive that it is legal, but if I find out it isn’t (any lawyers care to help me out?), I’ll end up giving that up, too. It’s disappointing, but a slap on the wrist has always been enough to get my fat ass away from the cookie jar. It may be a blessing in disguise, anyway. I’ve kicked around for the better part of 6 months whether it’s worth it to try and keep up with the preponderance of uploaded performances in trying to weed out the ones I enjoy and the ones I don’t. Perhaps this is the impetus I need to make that decision once and for all.
Thanks to anyone (if there actually is anyone) who enjoyed any of these performances. Sorry they’re gone now.