Register Wednesday | September 26 | 2018

This Classical Music is Really Helping Me Concentrate on Blogs

I’m such a procrastinator. It’s really unbelievable. I’ll tell you more about that later, when I get around to it.

Yesterday I was sitting in front of my computer, staring at the screen. I clicked on something and a Word document opened. I stared at that, too, boring a hole in the middle with my eyes. Speaking of boring, I had work to do. I hardly remembered that at the time, though, because I was listening to this really loud and abrasive music.

“Should I be working right now?” I said out loud, then regretted it—I was sitting in a very quiet café, wearing headphones. The girl next to me, who looked busy, glanced at me, startled. Like I said, I couldn’t concentrate on my work, and it was probably because my music was so loud and abrasive.

It was then, as I was staring at my screen and turning red because I’d just spoken to myself in public, that I remembered a tip. I remembered who gave me the tip, and how she’d looked into my eyes as she bequeathed it; her intensity made me remember, even at a time when I was listening to this wretchedly loud music, with blood pouring out of my ears (metaphorically). This person had looked into my eyes and said, “If you’re having trouble concentrating, try listening to classical music. It will really help.”

Thank you, tip-giver! I said (not out loud). I clicked on something, and the horrid music stopped. I clicked on something else and a recording of a string quartet performing Mozart began. Instantly, I was soothed. I heaved a sigh of relief and let my eyes close for a moment.

When I opened them, I knew just what to do. I closed that Word document, saying, out loud, “You fucker.” I didn’t care who heard, because I knew that it was time to check my RSS.

Violins—or maybe they were violas—have got to be the best-sounding instruments on earth. I stand behind that even though I don’t know that many instruments. My digital movements were graceful, even liquid, as I entered my favourite food blog, my cursor carried on a current of violins or violas. I flirted with a post on banana cupcakes, parried with a thorny epithet on quinoa salad. My internal aperture narrowed, my focus intense, my screen on its brightest setting.

As a new musical movement began, so did my browser transition—moving on to another blog, this one about fonts. Sans-serif extended a silken hand to serif, and together they danced in my brain. I could feel the information pour into my mind as a fine wine might enter a decanter.

Rendered delirious by this momentum, I half knew what I was doing as I clicked excitedly on a magazine article about sign design. Subscribers only, you say? Mozart took me gently in hand and led me to where I could read that very article, sans subscription—as easily as if he had been there, hand over mine, guiding my cursor. The violins or violas soared. My eyes fluttered. My cheeks were flushed. My powers of concentration were almost nauseatingly intense.

And then, suddenly, it ended. My headphones were empty. I stared at the computer screen for a moment, faintly shocked. I looked outside, and saw that the snow had stopped. I packed up my laptop, drained the rest of my tea, and stepped out into the ether. I hardly remember that walk home.

Related on maisonneuve.org:

—We'll Never Be That Drunk Again
—This Is My Brain on Facebook
—Interview With a Guy Who Tests Tape

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