My fingers glided across the radio station buttons, one after another. Six stations, and five commercials. It is something like a conspiracy that radio stations almost all go to commercial at the same moment.
Let’s just band together, one radio station manager may have whispered to another from within his dark colored hoodie. All the other station managers would have made their best efforts to look casual as they strolled into the bar, one by one, and settled down onto the stools in a long line.
One hoodie-clad manager may have passed a crumpled piece of torn paper to another. It read: At forty-five minutes past the hour, every hour—make it happen. Alone we can do so little, together we can do so much. As the note was passed down the line from one shrouded radio manager to the next, slowly the heads began to nod. That old quote about banding together always moves people. And so the conspiracy began.
I have no idea why I put this picture here. Laziness, perhaps?
But you see, there was one station manager that was always late to secret meetings. Frankly, he was always late to everything. He showed up in his hoodie just five minutes too late, and instead of joining the conspiracy, he just drank a bunch of beer and watched the football game. Now you would think that the one late station manager would be our salvation. But no. Sometimes life is cruel.
The only station that isn’t playing a commercial decides to play The Backstreet Boys!
I tossed the words scornfully in the direction of the radio, but no amount of scorn was going to resolve this conspiracy. To listen to a car salesman in one of those really stupid dramatic voices trying to sell me a new car, or to listen to The Backstreet Boys in those really stupid dramatic voices singing about how much they love me? Decisions, decisions.
I just wanted a little help staying awake. I spent a week recovering from the flu, and then had the flurry of activities that needed catching up on, but no time to enjoy the freakishly warm weather occurring in January. No matter—it may have been rush hour traffic and it may have been only one hour until sunset, but damn it, I was making the short drive to the beach…very sleepily. Because despite my determination, my body had not quite returned to its normal break-neck speed since the flu.
I just want a nap…on the beach, I thought as I shifted my attention back to one of those silly boys telling me I am his fire. I hit the power button on the radio and was greeted by peaceful silence for at least two minutes. Then something interesting happened.
Completely and utterly irrelevant picture. Still lazy.
There was a strange, echoing booming sound coming from somewhere up ahead. I rolled down my window. Yep, it was shit music being blasted at an absurd level somewhere in the string of cars ahead of me. But it wasn’t The Backstreet Boys, so I rolled the windows all the way down. Now a mystery began to unfold itself. I felt my eyelids perking up as the sleepiness faded away.
Just who was the fool that thought that everyone in my town (depending on how far this individual was traveling down the main thoroughfare) ought to have to suffer through his or her music? Who was the fool that was trashing his or her hearing, so that by age fifty he or she would not have to worry whether or not there is a radio station commercial conspiracy—he or she will be practically deaf.
I craned my neck around to see if I could make a determination, but the sound seemed to be bouncing off the trees next to us, making identifying its origin tricky. I scanned the cars I could see ahead of me.
First, there was a large white van. The sort of van I call a “Homeschooler Van,” because more often than not they are owned by religious fanatics that think having twelve kids is a good idea, and then proceed to homeschool them. Those sort of folks seemed unlikely to be the culprit, but then a big puff of smoke came billowing out of the driver’s window like something from a rap video. Maybe it wasn’t a Homeschooler Van after all.
But, maybe it was the smoke coming from a hand-carved wooden pipe lit by a man with a thick black beard, authoritarian parenting flashing in his eyes along with a bit of fire and brimstone? I couldn’t be sure. But really, who blasts music like that from a van? Nobody. Moving on.
Next up was your standard young person car. I think it was a Kia or something. It seemed a likely culprit. I examined it closer. It was very Plain Jane. Too Plain Jane. People that blast music like that are generally stupid, and it shows because they generally take a Plain Jane vehicle, and spend crap tons of money to make it look fancy with really dumb trimmings and trappings…instead of spending that money on intelligent things, like a more reliable car, or rent in a decent side of town, or electricity.
Anyway, the car was not dressed up. It looked like something that belonged to a nursing student just trying to get home after a long day getting clinical hours at a nursing home. Bed sores. Yikes. They certainly weren’t interested in blasting music. Moving on.
A workman truck? Not likely. A grandma car? Even less likely. And then I caught a flash of pink from a rim, and I knew we had a winner.
Several vehicles up ahead sat a white pick-up truck. On the back window someone had embellished the words “White Brick” in cursive handwriting. Pink and blue and green lights, ever changing color, emblazoned the rims. And from the rolled down, rattling windows came the deafening, teeth grinding, offensive noise.
Yep, this isn't even a picture from Florida. What can I say? I guess it's time for bed.
I leaned back in my seat and smiled. Damn it, these humans are predictable. I held up my water cup to the windshield in a toast.
There may be radio commercial conspiracies, and The Backstreet Boys might still play 20 years after their vile debut, but as long as there are idiots there will always be entertainment. To you, White Brick.
And I took a long drink as the traffic crawled forward.