Yesterday, for the first time in God knows how long, the weather in Kansas City was palatable. It was so palatable, in fact, that I decided to wander the streets with no real purpose or intention. I took my headphones, my wallet, and an appalling sense of fashion and set off from my apartment in Midtown. Here are five things I learned on my journey:
1) Midtown Kansas City is actually quite clean and relatively interesting
On the course of my walk I walked through Crown Center, the occasionally-nauseating mall/family gathering spot, Union Station, and the Crossroads Arts District, home to a strange mix of auto detailing shops, random restaurants, and various galleries. Much to my surprise, large parts of the walk were on well-kept streets with nice brick buildings. I know what you’re thinking: Erik, you’ve lived in this place for over 4 years and you’re just now figuring this out? Uh…yeah. It’s still not a particularly great setup for a city, and there aren’t nearly enough big stretches of local shops and restaurants like you’ll find in other roughly similar-sized cities (think Hawthorne in Portland, Lake Street in Minneapolis, Delmar Loop in St. Louis), but it was downright pleasant and makes me want to go walking again with an actual purpose next time.
2) Good weather is much more important to me than I ever considered
The temperature as I am typing this a day later has jumped 10-12 degrees back into the mid-eighties, and my desire to be outside has waned significantly. Yesterday the sun was out and there was a gentle breeze, crisp but unbelievably pleasant. I could think of nothing more enjoyable than just taking a nice stroll. Does this mean that I should move to California? Ecuador? I never really thought about it, but maybe so.
3) Robert Schumann wrote four awesome symphonies
When I first got outside I wanted to try and listen to some music related to Autumn, but aside from individual movements from The Four Seasons and The Seasons, I couldn’t think of anything. Spring doesn’t have that problem, so I just went that route, because sometimes it’s 70 degrees in April, I guess. It was only one step from listening to the “Spring” Symphony that I just decided to listen to all four of Schumann’s symphonies. I really only discovered these pieces in depth earlier this year, and I’m still pretty enthralled with them. Their role in making the day so pleasant can’t be overstated.
4) Spotify is sketchy as all hell when it comes to classical metadata, but it’s still pretty awesome
The four recordings that I listened to on my traversal of Midtown were:
Symphony no. 1 – Unknown conductor/Berlin Philharmonic
Symphony no. 2 – Eliahu Inbal/RSO Frankfurt
Symphony no. 3 – Kenneth Woods/Orchestra of the Swan
Symphony no. 4 – Pierre Monteux/BBC Symphony
The fact that I had access to all of those in one convenient spot on my phone: fucking cool. BUT, finding them is tricky; you’re much better served looking for recordings by conductor or performer and rolling the dice, because trying to search for classical works by track or album will generally not lead you to all the available recordings. I don’t have any idea why these services (Spotify, Pandora, Rdio, whatever) can’t be bothered to spend the time on appropriate metadata for classical music – presumably they’ve determined that it isn’t in their best interest financially to devote the resources to better usability for a relatively small portion of their listener base. It’s too bad, though. If the browsing and/or searching worked as smoothly as it does for non-classical music, I’d pay God knows how much for the service. I can still talk myself into paying for it, which of course proves Spotify’s point in spades, but God dammit if it didn’t have so much more potential.
5) Do I want children?
I stopped at the Panera that’s in the family gathering spot I referenced above and sat listening to the Rhenish while drinking coffee and eating an oatmeal-raisin cookie, just watching the fountains and the people. In this area there is a SeaLife Aquarium and a LegoLand, so it’s always overrun with children, including from field trips. There were a few large groups of kids there yesterday, and I watched them for a bit in what I hope wasn’t a restraining-order way. God forgive me for saying this, but Jesus of Nazareth are some kids pointless and stupid. One kid yesterday was pretending to be Robin Hood – I know this because he screamed it at the top of his lungs – but he didn’t have a bow and arrow, of course. Doesn’t sound so bad on its face, but he didn’t have a bow and arrow and didn’t pretend to have a bow and arrow. Instead he just threw his pen at people. Well played, dipshit. I know not all kids are like that, but I think enough of them are that I start to wonder if I want kids of my own. Not because I dislike all kids, but because I think I dislike many of them.
I hope I get a chance for a walk again soon. Make it so, weather gods.