Saturday, August 02, 2003

Paper or Plastic ... And Stuff in My Car That Doesn't Work

(singing) Saturday, in the park, I think it was the fourth of July. Or maybe the second of August. Whatever. Okay, so it's really Saturday, in the house. So sue me. I have no idea if this blog site is really popular (my guess is yes, if judging by sheer numbers) or if anyone reads these things except the family members you beg to go to your blog site and read your daily whinings. I guess I'll see soon enough. Or not.

It's been another of those muggy weeks here in western Pennsylvania where I become a hermit in my house, enjoying the constant 74 degrees and low humidity of our central air. I turn into a wuss unable to leave the house to do anything unnecessary. Doesn't help that the A/C in my car doesn't really do much more than cool off my knees and my right elbow because the only cold air you feel seeps out of the vents and only the body parts in a three-inch radius from a vent get cooled off. And frankly, driving with my face hunched down in front of a side vent really wouldn't do much for my driving record.

Not really.

Where was I? Oh yeah.

We're moving a big bookcase into the house from our storage facility, so finally I may get the rest of my books in here (some of which are also still in the storage facility), and also the rest of my vinyl record albums. Yes, kids, you don't remember such things, but some of us old fogeys used to play vinyl record albums instead of CDs. It's a weird thought that none of my children (the oldest of which is going to be 19 in a few days) knows how to operate a turntable. I'm not saying I miss vinyl, despite the many things I've read about how compromised CD sound is compared to vinyl (?). I certainly don't miss having to put songs on in a different order by lifting up the needle at the end of one song and physically placing it on the beginning of the song you wanted to hear next (which may have entailed flipping over the album first and holding in that little metal thingy at the top of the spindle so the album would fall all the way down and sit flat on the turntable). And I certainly don't miss hearing that scraping sound of a needle scrrratching its way across the album, leaving a nice scratch in its wake that usually meant hearing a skip at that point in the song every time you played it from then on.

And none of us would have been able to take vinyl albums into our cars with us like we can with CDs. (Can you picture trying to shove a big ol' 12" album into a huge slot in your dashboard...which would have taken up the entire width of the dashboard?) We'd all still be stuck playing cassettes in the car, hitting FF or REW in a vain attempt to skip songs on albums that we hate.

Then again, in my case, even that would be a step up. Over a year ago my husband got me a CD player for my car. (I drive a '92 Corsica, made before technology was invented.) I was thrilled, and except for the fact that it apparently had no skip protection whatsoever, especially for burned CDs ("Don't breathe, Jeremy, or it'll skip over every three seconds of your favorite Good Charlotte song"), I was thrilled to have this technology available in my car.

For six months or so.

Then the thing woke up one morning and decided to forget what a CD looked like. And it hasn't recognized a CD since. We've tried every type of CD in the book. We tried every type of cleaner known to mankind (except peanut butter, which every preschooler seems to think belongs in CD and DVD players). Nothing worked. Certainly not the CDs. So then I was down to using it as a very bad radio. Which was worse than the radio that had been in my tape deck.

Then the thing started to slip out of the slot it was in in the dashboard and when I'd go up a hill, the whole CD player (or should I say "very expensive yet CHEAP radio") would come sliding out the rectangular hole and whack the gear shift. I had to drive with one hand holding the thing in place, which got dangerous after a while. (I'm the one who hates when people can't afford a cheapie hands-free device for their cell phones while in the car.)

So I had my husband disconnect the CD player entirely and all I had left staring at me from the hole in the dash were about two dozen wires of different colors. Someday I hope to get him to put the tape deck back in. I'm actually looking forward to the day when I'll be able to play a TAPE in my CAR again. My standards have gotten really low in the past six months.

Till then I have no CD player, no tape deck, no radio, and no clock in my car. Nada. Zip. Zilch. Total silence when I drive. Well, except for when my kids are in the car. It's never total silence then, of course.

But, it'll be months till I see another radio or tape deck in my car. Why? Because it would mean my husband would have to sit in my cramped, hot car jiggling wires around for hours on end. And, it's hot and muggy outside, of course.

Oh well. Maybe for Christmas....Oh wait, it'll be snowing then. Never mind.



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