I hate mix tapes

I often tell people that I hate music. In fact, hating music is usually part of my introductory statement: "Hi, I'm Zoe. I can fit my whole hand in my mouth, and I hate music."

This is what is commonly known as an "icebreaker," though my friends and co-workers usually call it a symptom of having no internal filter. Having no filter usually just means I say the first thing on my mind. It means that at the grocery store, when an acquaintance asks, "How are you?" I'm more likely to respond with something along the lines of, "Well, I accidently drank some curdled milk this morning, and I've been feeling kind of yucky ever since" than the more customary, and expected, "fine."

Telling people that I hated music was a habit I developed back in the days of "mix tapes."

Back in middle school it seemed the customary way to express one's feelings was through giving the object of one's affection a "mix tape" of various terrible songs. I'm a pretty smart girl, and I quickly realized that there are few things more awkward than listening to one of these tapes. Now, older and wiser, I've realized that there are a couple more awkward things that can happen to a person such as myself, like once (through a series of terrible mistakes) throwing up in your friend's boot, or running into your married ex at the grocery store while wearing pajamas and sporting a cyst-sized pimple on your chin. But still, even after becoming such a mature, dignified young woman, mix tapes still rank in the top-ten-most-horrible-things-in-the-world list, like maybe one step down from malaria.

My amazing way to try to get out of receiving any mix tapes (I was not an incredibly popular girl; I was maybe at risk of receiving two mix tapes throughout my adolescence) was to put out a blanket statement, as loudly and frequently as I possibly could, that I hate music. All music.

The truth is, I don't necessarily hate all music, but I have such terrible taste in music that I'd rather claim to hate it than risk exposing the truth. For everyone lucky enough to read this column, the truth is that I know every word to every song by Pitbull. He sings a particularly lovely one entitled "Shut it Down." I'm also a fan of Eminem and 50 Cent. Yup, I crank it up pretty loud, thinking I'm totally awesome in my Honda picking my child up from school.

What I really hate is live music. I really appreciate musicians, and I'm incredibly impressed that there are people willing to expose themselves in such a personal way, but I can't be in the room with it. Something about watching music being performed live, whether it's singing or instrumental, makes me so uncomfortable I feel like my entire body is turning inside out. Eventually, I'm left just a jiggling pile of bones and intestines waiting for the set to end. Live music makes me really anxious. I feel anxious on behalf of the musicians, worried constantly that they'll make a mistake and be embarrassed, or worse, that they won't be embarrassed and I'll have to be embarrassed on their behalf. Being embarrassed on behalf of people I don't know is one of the many services I provide, you can ask about it when I run my next infomercial.

So, the next time you see me rocking out in the Bellview parking lot, just pretend not to notice. Don't invite me to watch your band perform, and spare me the experience known as a "mix tape."

Zoe Abel is listening to music while she types this. She will never admit just what song it is. You can contact her at dailyzoe@gmail.com.

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