I've always wanted to date someone who plays the bagpipes.
See, every time I hear that distant drone start, there's an inherited and instinctual welling in my chest, my back straightens a little, and there is a definite misting of my almost-too-heartbreakingly-blue eyes (#modesty).
That's exactly what we should feel when we see the person who will be our person, isn't it?
Oh my God. And the drums.
Maybe the next best thing to a bagpiper, would be a pipe band drummer. Sweet baby Jesus help me if I found someone who could do both. Both, and that they like DeFazio's, obvi.
Bagpipes are difficult, I know.
I know they're not for everyone. For some people, they're hard to listen to. Not for me, man. I can handle the harshness. I'm no fragile flower. I actually prefer things with more complex...instruments that take some understanding.
There's just something about that one long continuous note of the drone behind a bagpipe melody that punches me right in the gut and makes all the hair on my body I haven't waxed off stand on end.
I heard someone call bagpipes an emotional battering ram once, which is weird because "Emotional Battering Ram" is my stage name.
The drone is so steady. It's so flat against something so sharp. It makes no sense.
It's the actual definition of my life.
It's the uniqueness that tugs at the place where I would have heartstrings if I wasn't dead inside. I get the plight of the bagpipe. They don't necessarily play well with others, and the only one who can really keep up with their demands is the drum.
They just simply go together.
Now, don't get me wrong, bagpipes aren't the only thing to get my waters working, music just has a way of doing that to us, doesn't it?
Music transports us back to an exact moment in time. It can help us get out of our own mundane day and put us in a fantastic world of our own. It makes us want to move our bodies. It makes us sit still and remember.
Music is the way we tell stories. It's the way we are first soothed by our caregivers. Music defines who we are, and who we aspire to be. It's the way we identify in our culture. It's the way we get pumped up for #sports. It's the way warriors knew how to proceed on the battlefield. It's the way we celebrate birthdays and it's the way we learned the alphabet.
It doesn't argue back, but it does speak its truth. It literally moves your brain waves. It can calm your amygdala or stimulate your nervous system.
The Irish have known this as long as anybody. There used to be a tradition called "Keening" in The Motherland where a buncha women would go to funerals and wail and moan at the top of their little potato-filled lungs. Très sixteenth century. Someone would keep watch over a body the night before the funeral (hence: wake), and the next day there would be a lament for those left behind in the form of keening.
Believe it or not, it was usually a hired service. Sort of like cantors at a funeral now. They would scream-sing all of the things the love ones just couldn't. Like a middle-ages Adele.
Keeners knew way back then that to let that feeling escape you also let the emotions free. We know now that singing, wailing, moaning, deep breathing...all that crap...stimulates the vagus nerve, releases endorphins, and decreases inflammation in the brain.
It's an antidepressant.
Music...and for me, the bagpipes in particular, can sucker-punch you with nostalgia, and also spark excitement and creativity with its novelty.
Like a well timed kiss, I suppose, music is one of those rare things that can be given, stolen, loved, loathed, pined for, bought, sold, and kept hidden.
Also like a well timed kiss, music is freaking magical.
Music is one of the few things that will pump me up enough to look at the person next to me and ask, "Are you feeling this in your bones too??"
Music, especially the indescribable power of the bagpipes with their drum heartbeat, is meant to be shared. Shared and felt all the way until every emotion is recycled through in time to the beat.
As I lay here listening to every note of the Victoria Pipe Band in the 1992 world pipe band championship, I think I'm seeing how that's exactly what I want. I want to feel it and I want to share the grief.