Tuesday, January 16, 2007
2 A.M. and Thinking About Music and Radio
He used to drive me nuts with his NPR and his classical music. When I'd get a ride to school from a friend, I was guaranteed to hear some Dio or some Aerosmith. But when my step-dad drove me, there was no way around it. It would be an All Things Considered kind of morning on the radio of the family car.
Once, I negotiated what I thought was a pretty fair deal with him. We'd take turns with the radio while we drove around Franklin running various errands. This seemed like a good idea at the time. What I didn't count on was my three minute and change rocker was always dwarfed in length by whatever 20-minute classical piece that followed down there at the left end of the dial.
There's no mystery where I'm going with this. Here I am in my thirties with a teenage son and the poor country music loving guy puts up with the same crap that I did way back when. It's not just classical and talk radio for me, but even the rock I love ain't much like the rock he knows. He tolerates and I suspect he knows that he'll be telling the same story in a decade or two.
For more months than I care to remember, I've been without a car stereo. It wasn't all that great a stereo to begin with - the volume would drop down to the most shy and polite of whispers from time to time (Black Flag at the quietest of levels just kind of misses the point) - and the CD player would play some CD-Rs but not all CD-Rs. But a car stereo it was. And then one night, it just gave out. I recruited a coworker to take a look at it (car stereos were his specialty, reliability was not). He pulled it out and played with some of the wires and said he'd get some tools and finish fixing it later. That never happened and I was stuck with a radio that kept sliding out of its pocket and hitting my stick shift whenever I'd accelerate or climb a hill.
One night in frustration, I just yanked the thing out and tossed it into the abyss otherwise known as my back seat. With no replacement in the immediate plans, I continue to make my drives in silence. My iPod accompanies me but I don't listen to it while I drive. That's for the break room and the workplace gym. On the rare occasion that I am early for work, I just lean my seat back and listen to it in the parking lot - sometimes music, but mostly NPR podcasts. Now if I could get Vanderbilt's WRVU shows into my iTunes, things would be about as close to perfect as possible...for a music lover without a car stereo.