Saturday, July 10, 2010

does everyone do this?

I almost never listen to the radio. When I do, it's almost always NPR. I used to be a good NPR listener, back when I was a commuter; I drove at least an hour a day, just enough to keep up on what my local station thought I should know. Now I walk or bike almost everywhere I go, and as a result, the radio has almost completely left my life. When I do drive, I usually listen to cds.

Except when I go visit my parents.

The minute I get behind the wheel of my dad's truck, I'm all over the radio, and in a way that diverges completely from my usual habits. Everything I'd usually avoid becomes immediately desirable: the country station, the classic rock station, the "hot hits of the '80s, '90s, and today." I've attributed this before to the ridiculousness of my dad's truck, but yesterday I got a text message from a friend that's making me rethink the question. She's home visiting her parents, and she was driving around in her mom's car, listening to christian rock.

It's not a form of regression, because these aren't the stations we loved as teenagers, they're the ones we rejected. So what is it? And why is it so pleasurable?


Christy Lai said...

this is hilarious! you've just brought up a habit of mine that i've never really noticed until now. this sort of thing seems to happen most frequently when i'm alone in my parents' car, or left to my own devices with friends. mostly when i'm alone though, because i'd feel a little embarrassed (and obnoxious) otherwise scanning the radio and stopping on "classy 99.9 FM with delilah" to listen to celine dion or even all the cheesy brian mcknight love ballads.

though i generally never listen to country, i find myself enjoying it when i'm back in idaho (rascal flatts, john michael montgomery, and kenny chesney anyone?), and even christian rock. half the time, i'm listening and thinking, "how could anyone in their right mind listen to this horseshit?" and the other half, i'm singing along like a happy idiot. maybe we do this because it's so ridiculous that it's fun. because we're alone in our parents' car, we have no reservations, and no one to judge us. i think there're two kinds of nostalgia, that sentimental yearning for things we're fond of, and yearning for things-that-we-don't-usually-like-but-remind-us-of-home.

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