I'm sitting in the lobby of Speed-E Car oil change and having a small chuckle over the magazine choices. The waiting room table boasts no fewer than ten issues of Chevy High Performance magazine, a catalog from a real estate office, one copy of Shape (which I may read later for the "genius workout" that'll make me sexy, sleek, and toned) and something called W. And then there's Game Informer. I'm trying to picture the look on my father's or grandfather's face if they'd seen a magazine about video games at the oil change place. "Bemused" comes to mind.
A few weeks ago I cleaned out some of the time capsules taking up space in our home's least-used closet. Among other things I found one of my radio station notebooks, circa 1994. Back when I started traveling beyond my hometown I found myself constantly searching for radio stations to my taste. When I found a good station I jotted it down in a notebook, so next time through I'd have a quick reference.*
Recently I drove to Las Vegas**. In 1990 a solo drive from Fort Worth to Vegas would have required a whole lotta mix tapes. Some stretches of this trip are remote enough that I feel lucky to even find oxygen, much less an FM station. Not in 2017. The Canyonero came with Sirius/XM radio, and even in the most empty stretches of Zion National Park*** or the Llano Estacado the Big 80's on 8 comes through smooth as Martin Fry's voice after a glass of warm milk.
That's right. Five states, 2200 miles, one radio station.****
While driving through Zion I sent a tweet to one of my favorite DJs, Alan Hunter, and got a reply. Not that amazing in 2017 (aside from the fact that Alan Hunter seems to personally respond to 1000 tweets per day) but again, memories: one late night in 1984 I called the late-night DJ on a soft rock station. I was pretty thrilled to find him willing to spend thirty minutes on the phone, explaining the business of radio to a twelve year old.
A few weeks later the phone bill arrived. The radio station was in a town twenty miles away, what the phone company used to refer to as "local long distance." Hence, we were charged by the minute for that call. The expression on my father's face? Not bemused. In fact, I don't think he was 'mused in any way.
*I'd not yet learned the Jerry Radio Travel method. Jerry was the only guy in my college juggling troupe with a car and he listened to one channel: Scan. Take a three hour trip with Jerry and you're listening to Scan the entire time. When a song you like comes on, you just have to hope that you'll get three or four snippets of it as the scanning action cycles around.
***I actually fired up Facetime for a while in Zion, so my 14 year old could see the landscape I was enjoying while she slaved over algebra homework. #ThatsParenting
****Okay, five. I also listen to 70's on 7, Classic Vinyl, Classic Rewind, and E Street Radio. But you get the point.