I’m not sure if any of you have driven I-95 South from Philadelphia, a magical highway paved with dreams and magic, but in case you haven’t, here’s what it’s like at any given moment:
Because of the uncertainty of this stretch of southbound highway and the 13-14 hours I have left to drive tomorrow, I decided to save my cache of mix CDs for the exciting Wilmington-to-Miami half of the drive and defer to Satellite radio for day 1.
After trying a handful of rock stations that could most aptly be described as “crap” and a hip-hop channel that reminded me of the music in a Dentist’s office that’s owned by a young Periodontist who’s trying to “keep it fresh” for his “urban clientele” while holding on to what’s left of “College Ben”, I figured I’d give the vaguely named Loft and Coffee Shop a try. Why did I choose these two? I’ve often imagined myself as a guy who might have a musician friend with a bohemian loft that hosts lots of rocking ping-pong and Pimm’s Cup parties. As for the Coffee Shop pick, I go to lots of them and occasionally one has decent enough music.
I’ll start with the former, Loft. Apparently, whoever is in charge of the incredibly wussy satellite that’s beaming this gentle slop down to cars all over the country is a huge fan of music that includes whining, low-energy, angst and tears. I blacked out on three separate occasions, only to wake up from a trance-like state I can only imagine was induced by soft piano keys and ambling vocals. It’s not so much that Loft is bad on a long drive as it is dangerous. I guarantee at least one trucker has driven off the road because of an acoustic Indigo Girls set that, much like a black hole, has no beginning or end.
Coffee Shop wasn’t terrible, but there was a butt-load of Jason Mraz and John Mayer on it. I don’t know about you, but if I was in a coffee shop that played only those two, I’d order a large coffee and yell “fire in the hole” as I chucked it into whatever was the music’s source.
This experience, if it taught me anything, wasn’t to prepare for 2 days of driving when you have 2 days of driving and it wasn’t to skip all the satellite stations with generic names. What it taught me was if you’re driving alone and recording your thoughts on your iPhone to write down later, keep an eye on the gas or you’ll run out. Which is fun. Barrels of fun.