It was early May of 1991. I was on my way to the Canadian International Development Agency in Ottawa to start my first summer intern job five months after I set my foot onto the New World of North America. I stopped in Toronto for a few days to visit my friends there.

I was in a hustling and bustling big shopping mall in downtown Toronto. It’s springtime after almost half a year’s winter dormant. There was an unmistakenly cheerful, even ecstasy atmosphere in the air that only Canadians would understand and appreciated.

Suddenly, I heard some small musical voices chanting over the air in that busy shopping mall.

“I can read your mind! I can read your mind!”

The melody was captivating; however, the rest of the song and music were quickly swallowed by a burst of laughter of a group of teenagers walking by.

The very young me was still a big believer in “mind-reading” because I deemed myself not easy to read. I thought then believed the very sophisticated mind of mine was deeply hidden behind my seemly naive or indifferent aloof facade. Only decades later and older, I came to the realization that I was actually an easy-to-read very innocent person inside out.

So, back then, when someone whispered through the air that they could read my mind, that’s a very tempting proposition. I would want to know more.

That’s an era before the internet, before Shazam. The ways to chase down a fragment of music I overheard in the air were limited to the music CD records stores or the public FM musical radio channels.

The chance of success was almost as close as winning a lottery big.

In the music CD records stores, usually, there were sampling CDs, and you could put the earphone on to listen and scan through them. Occasionally, when you showed a strong desire to buy a particular CD that was not on the sampling pool, you could ask the staff to open it so you can check the songs on that CD. And it was almost a tortured decision time even after you scanned through the entire CD and realized you only got lucky to like one-third of the songs on that CD. I did buy quite a few CDs just for the sake of the single song I liked among the usually twelve to fifteen songs on a CD.

I also remember those very intimidating moments when I returned the opened CD to the staff when I decided it was not worth owning. I was desperately hoping that the overly exaggerated, disappointing apologetic expression on my face would ease the staff’s disappointment. The anxiety of anticipating the staff’s possible angry reactions when I returned the un-wanted opened CDs almost could cast long-term psychological damage on me, should my CD music hunting days have had lasted for another decade.

Finally, Google came along around in 2003. Suddenly, I could track down the long lost songs as long as I knew the fragment of the lyrics. Then I could go to the CD store armed with the title and followed the torture moment of whether I should buy the CD just for that song or skip.

Over the years, I overheard this song a couple of times in the air. Still, I always failed to capture enough lyrics fragments to search on the internet and find out what precisely this song was about.

It was probably not until the summer of 2018 I finally successfully used another even better song snatcher — Shazam — to nail down this song.

It was called “Eye in the Sky,” written back in 1982.

For the first time, I was able to pull up the lyrics and studied them. To my slight disappointment, it was not as bourgeois, vague, and abstract as I had been wondering and imagining over the twenty-seven years since I first time heard it. It is actually more a rant right after a domestic quarrel between two lovers.

But the song is a charming one.

I am grateful that I have an above-average ear for music. Armed with Google and Shazam, I recovered many songs I heard and liked but could not get hold of, particularly the first decade when I landed my feet on the New World. I put them in a Spotify folder called “Before Shazam.”

In regards to who can read my mind and move me deeply, I now would name “Shazam” as one of them without any hesitation,

Without its help, how can I quickly and precisely snatch the thread of beautiful words or melody floating in the air before they disappear as swiftly and suddenly as they come?

It all started with the 2020 SIP