My little black turntable
Upon returning to school after winter break, I rummaged through all my unpacked boxes for the one thing that was sure to bring life back into my empty apartment - a little black record player. It's nothing special, high quality or vintage, but it gets the job done regardless. I left my laptop to collect dust in the corner, dropped the needle on an old folk record from my mother and began to unpack.
Records retain a unique richness, unlike the too-clean metallic sound generated by laptops. As the black disk spins slowly round and round, music fills the room like smoke - sweet to the senses. When Side One comes to an end and the record stops, a silence grips the room begging for the record to be turned. Just close your eyes and be transported to a 1950s nightclub, with your foot tappin' away to Artie Shaw and his Orchestra. Travel even further back to the twenties and listen to Bessie Smith sing (and sometimes growl) longingly "I can't do without my kitchen man."
Over the holidays I offered to watch my young niece. She was the most agreeable, sweet and brave little thing, but alas grew tired and longed for her mama as the night went on. Being a novice babysitter, I tried everything I could think of to stop her tears. Finally, running out of ideas, I put on an old Bessie Smith record. The tears stopped. My niece watched the record spin intently and swayed to the music. A lovely peaceful scene.
There's something about records that captures a moment or a feeling like a photograph. As the record spins, the dust clears as if no time had passed. Homesick, lovesick, whatever it is that ails you, my little black turntable spins a certain magic with its melody that just may do the trick.