We left the Grand Canyon for Vegas—300 miles at temps up to 114 at the Hoover Dam and no AC in my dam (sic) car. The prospect of enlivening music was a salve, for distraction if nothing else, the icey bandana on my neck long dessicated. I cued my iPod roadtrip playlist, and finally, finally, on the third rendition of the Eagles, “Already Gone,” it dawned on me that I had somehow mashed a button that played the same friggin’ song over and over, and I did not know which button. I was booking it down the macadam trying to beat the heat (ha!), and my Pioneer instruction manual was in the trunk. So I reverted once again to my aforementioned and simple-minded “Caliente/F.M.” vintage 1989 compilation cassette, since there was no radio I could find out in the tumbleweeds and dust devils. By the time I got off I-40 at Seligman, Ariz., for an 85-mile detour on old Route 66, I was tired of even that personal favorite playlist.
Happily, Seligman is a comfy, kitschy little 66 town with vintage 50s and 60s melodies—even some 30s and 40s Depression-era folk music—wafting from the kind-hearted ticky-tack “cafés” and auto garages-cum-souvenir stores.
Then onward, from Seligman to Kingman near the Nevada state line, where I picked up a country station, some feller sangin’ about how it turned him “awn” to be some “wawman’s” “mayan.” Bully for them. (Truth be told, I felt right at “hawm” for a tad bit.) But happily the Vegas NPR station kicked in soon and I was all sucked up in the U.S. Supreme Court and firefighter affirmative action issues in New Haven, Conn. Lord, that seemed far away from where I was. But I had not read a newspaper for a week, so news of the world was welcome.
So I made do with NPR to Vegas. Even though it wasn’t music, it sustained me in an irascible sort of way. News generally hacks me off, even if I haven’t heard any for a week. Miles on, I stopped at a lonesome Texaco for a bag of ice, and Dodger reflected my 110-dgree mood in the only shade avalable, by the pump.
Now, I like NPR. Listen all the time. But it is not music, unless you count those snippets of esoteric, world-music, bangy, screechy, dissonant things they splice in between news segments in the morning when I am only but trying to assimilate my caffeine. Please.
Later, at my brother’s house one afternoon, an archival BeeGees greatest hits I unearthed provided beat for my exercise routine, but found its limits mighty quick.
Junior high all over again
So here’s what I propose: WDAV announcer, producer and work buddy Jennifer Foster, will you please compile me a personal mp3, iTunes compatible, to download for the road? Just a few of you and your inimitable WDAV colleagues’ classical favorites—the only stipulation that they be loud, so I can hear them in a 70-mph wind. No hurry, but the change of pace would be ab fab.