Dueling Radios on the Road

We all do goofy things with our car radios while we drive.  You’re lying if you tell me you’ve never inched up at a traffic light to get better reception during your favorite song.  I might have to call you out again if you claim you don’t turn the radio down while you look for an address.  And I know I’m not the only one who hears a song I love, then immediately searches all the other channels to find it again.

Don’t tell me that if your window is open and you are listening to an embarrassing song, say A-Ha’s Take on Me, while playing the air keyboard on your dashboard, that you don’t punch the button to change the station as soon as you hit a red light.  We all know the stations we can tune to for music while other stations are on commercial breaks, and we have at least one station programmed that we never even listen to, wonder why it’s saved, and still refuse to reprogram it.

We get embarrassed when we sing the wrong words to songs, even when we are alone, and play the “Who sings this, it’s right on the tip of my tongue, dang it” game to the point we may even Google it at the next stop light.

But there is a certain type of person who takes car music to a whole different level.

You are at the stoplight, waiting for it to turn green.  You feel it before you hear it.  Your teeth rattle and your car shakes as he pulls up beside you.  It’s Mr. Bass Man.  That’s bass, like the music, not bass like the fish; he is another post altogether, now, isn’t he?

He is wearing something darker, you think, you can’t really tell because his windows are tinted.  You peer through the tint and see a reflection of sunglasses, which makes no sense because it’s eleven at night. His music is so loud that birds are falling from their nests, dogs are howling in protest, house windows are shattering, and the lady in front of you just ran the stoplight to escape.

Not to be outdone – more importantly, to keep the lyrical insult to music Mr. Bass Man is playing at bay, you crank up your John Denver, but Country Roads is no competition for Mr. Bass Man.  Your head is swimming as you are trying to hear about those roads that will take John home, but John Denver has given up.  You crank your windows up; the bass still winds around you like a boa constrictor and won’t let go.

Mr. Bass Man appears to somehow be talking on a cell phone, his voice raised over his musical offerings.  Far be it from Mr. Bass Man to turn down his radio to have his conversation, he is kind enough that he doesn’t want to deprive you of this real music experience.

Thank you, Mr. Bass Man, for showing me that my tastes in music sucks. Thank you for sharing your obviously superior music with the world.  I appreciate the valuable life lesson I have learned here today.  If I had a clue what the hell you were actually listening to, I might even look it up online and continue this valuable education.

Off he goes, his bass fading into the velvety night.  You sit at the light for a moment more, letting your hearing correct itself, and watch him blow the next stoplight.  Mr. Bass Man has important places to go, and won’t let a pesky thing like traffic laws slow him down.

Thank you, again, Mr. Bass Man, for allowing your musical choices to wash over me, and the six city blocks surrounding us.  I feel all the better for having, if only for a brief moment, a glimpse into your life.

And I feel even better knowing that you are somewhere teaching others the error of their musical choices, and spreading the love.  Because at least you’re not next to me anymore.

2 thoughts on “Dueling Radios on the Road

  1. You correctly address many vital and important issues. Yes, there’s a totally inexplicable dead spot in the SiriusXM footprint at Sherman Way and Fallbrook and I will totally inch into the crosswalk there to keep my signal – ESPECIALLY if they’re playing “Take On Me!” THAT SONG ROCKS and had the most amazing video!!

    However, not all Mr. Bass Men are evil. I was headed home from a job interview at the City of Beverly Hills a couple years ago (didn’t get it, another story) and stopped at a light with no one near. The bass started to rumble off in the distance, enough so that in that area I thought it might be a minor aftershock of the Northridge earthquake. Then I saw the monstrously huge Escalade pull onto Sunset a block behind me, obviously the culprit.

    I was expecting some version of your Mr. Bass Man and was waiting to see if I could at least be bombarded and deafened by Led Zeppelin instead of the latest rap sensation. Instead, as the Urban Assault Vehicle approached, I recognized the tune to my delight as the finale “1812 Overture,” complete with canon. The driver was older than I was and looked like a stereotypical orchestra conductor. (For all I know, in that neighborhood, he was.)

    I was still mostly deaf when it was over, but I was smiling.

  2. Bassman’s brain overwhelms him with dark and depressing thought. He must play his music so loudly with the additional vibrational physical force to aid in the distraction away from his mental vacuity as to not tempt him in succumbing to his desperate self. Boom boom goes Bassman all the way up so the sound drowns his pervasive monkey mind! Bassman is ubiquitous like carbon.

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