On aesthetics

A rare experience on the drive to work

This morning I had an aesthetic moment. It doesn’t happen often. Driving to work, “What’s Up” — that girl band song from the ’90s that starts out “25 years and my life is still trying to get up that great big hill” — came up on my playlist.

Cheesy, but I love that song. I play it on guitar and sing it. I used to play it with my girl band Neko. This time, there was no guitar. It was my 7 a.m. drive to work, an unusually clear freeway ahead, my foot heavy on the gas, and me, singing at the top of my lungs.

It happens rarely. You hit the notes (or think you do). You remember all the words. Your timing is down pat.

It was transformative. It was exhilarating.

It was a perfect storm. For a change, I’d had enough sleep. I got to my boring day job charged up and happy

I’m not a morning person, so this was rare.

I learned about aesthetics in the first philosophy class I ever took in college, called by the same name. My professor, Dr. Dyal at Kent State University, fit the image of a philosopher. Bearded, stocky, a slight Texas drawl, sort of like Hemingway.

I remember he used to say the word “paradigm” a lot, and that’s when I learned what it meant. This served me well in the ’90s when everyone in corporate was dropping the buzzphrase, “paradigm shift.”