Car has turned into a mobile disc jockey unit

Over the years, many people have asked me if I’ve carpooled to save gas and wear and tear on my car. Seeing as how I’m always looking for ways to save a buck, they naturally assume carpooling would appeal to my sensibilities. But it doesn’t.

Of course, I always politically correctly reply I’ve considered it, but never found someone with compatible enough work hours or work proximity. That’s kind of true, and most of my jobs have required driving during work hours.

When I attended community college, I shared rides with several people over those two years, including a couple of friends, another friend’s mother, a boyfriend and a boyfriend wannabe (I only figured that out years later, but was oblivious at the time). Nothing much got in the way of ride-sharing back then, for in my late teen years, I still had enough free time that commuter “alone time” wasn’t yet a precious commodity.

That’s the real reason I’ve avoided later life carpooling, not because the hours wouldn’t jive. After I started having greater responsibilities and a family, as well as driving greater distances for work, I recognized my commuting time was the closest thing I’d get to alone time on any given day. That’s a pretty pathetic commentary on my life, I know. But it’s honest and I strive to protect my pockets of patheticism.

I’ve always enjoyed and made constructive use of my car time. I’ve listened to educational and motivational books, practiced speeches and songs, mentally outlined writing ideas, rehearsed difficult conversations, held private phone conversations, given myself pep-talks when I was feeling down and prayed: all things that might push a passenger over the edge and perhaps straight out the door onto the highway while the car was still moving.

Call it crazy, but car time is my sanity-producing therapy. Even when it involves heavy traffic in more urban areas, it remains far more peaceful and calming than the rest of life. Only occasionally do I listen to music – mostly instrumental CDs. Lyrics only clutter my head and ruin the mindless state I am trying to achieve.

Given this perspective, you can guess how I feel on the occasions when my teens, whom I’ll refer to here as “Wolfman Jack, Jr.” and “Katie Kasem”, ride shotgun and think they have license to take over the sound controls of my vehicle. It’s a wonder I’m still of sound mind! The radio station immediately gets changed to something “cool” with sassy lyrics when my offspring board my vehicle.

Sometimes they plug in ipods or other electronic devices and tap into mp3 song playlists, which means a different kind of bad. Worse, they torture me with my own phone, piping Youtube songs through it with the volume cranked. When I tell them I hate a particular singer or suggest they turn down that $#@&! and surrender my phone, they use my deafness to justify the unacceptably high volume levels.

Because I have “such a crappy car stereo system” (per my son), clearly in need of having boosters added so I can more readily pump up the volume, my son has begun bringing along his own wireless speaker. I shouldn’t be surprised because he has a fatal attraction to the thing.

Wolfman took a very long while picking it out and actually parted with some of his hard-earned tomato picking money (from which he cannot easily be separated) to acquire it. He takes it out, gazes fondly at and polishes it. The device actually changes colors as the music pulses, reminding me that (unfortunately) disco isn’t dead. But I would be quite happy if that Bee Gees’ era speaker perished in an inferno, disco or otherwise. Holy ear and eye assault!

Bereft of peace of mind and holding my ears while steering down a dark and rainy stretch of roadway with deer popping out at various intervals, I nevertheless manage to clasp my hands in prayer. “Lord, should our vehicle careen off the road, please allow that wireless speaker to be first among the casualties.”

Rest in peace in the Hereafter, all mobile music devices, next to the youthful deejays who mistakenly thought you were a good idea.


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