Monday, April 11, 2005

Driving, driving, driving

I did the last three of the Kansas library system workshops last week, in Russell, Wichita and Iola, KS. Big fun, as I'd expected. Lots of driving, as I also expected.

As I drove to Russell, I could see a thunderstorm coming in from the Southwest. It's not like Vermont, where I grew up and where the mountains create a more immediate horizon. In Kansas sometimes you can see a storm coming for miles and then THWACK! it hits the windshield. Good thing, too, because my car was filthy with road dust and needed a good wash. No hail, whew. I got to Russell just after the storm began, and was able to get into the hotel without getting too wet.

Usually I listen to NPR (especially the talk shows) or books on tape when I drive. This helps me concentrate on the road. A librarian at the workshop on Friday mentioned that ADD kids need to divide their attention so they can concentrate--she must have meant me. Anyway, in the past few months I've had a problem: my car tape deck has been reluctant to spit tapes out. It can take days before it decides it will relinquish a cassette, and then it does slowly. It doesn't even play the one in the deck while it's considering letting go. I've tried begging, pleading, poking, even prying with needle nosed pliers, but the machine has its own timetable.

For a while, I used a walkman-ish cassette deck in the car, but somehow, it's not the same. I find myself listening to oldies music stations, appalled that I know the words to a lot of really crappy songs from my youth.

I'm wondering if I should invest in a new car stereo. My Toyota has 181,000 miles on it, a new timing belt, new water pump, new brake rotors and fresh oil. I've got close to 60 performances booked for June and July. Is it worth it? Can I survive without recorded books?

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