Monday, April 17, 2006

Street Muzak

The unseasonal rainfall over the past 2 months has a bit of a silver lining. Washing away that house of yours so you finally get gumption to move? Or perhaps getting a little much-needed exercise in as you push your slog through the shoe-sucking mud to the mailbox? No, something much more mundane.

You see, nice weather means we start rolling down the windows as we drive. In free-moving traffic, there's a sense of release to feel the inrush of the hot, dry California air. However, there is no such thing as free-moving traffic in San Jose. We have fast-moving parking lots in lieu of freeways. Ok, not so bad if you have your own set of tunes to keep you company. If you forgot, fret not! There are always those who'd like to share with their fellow commuters. For some reason, these generous sharers seem to favor either pickup trucks, SUVs, Mustangs, or beat-up Civics. They don't want anyone to miss out, so they considerately boost the base so that one not only hears the music, but feels it as well. It resonates with one's body and gives one's teeth and skull a pleasant hum, and has even been known to loosen the bowels.

And the musical selection offered by these acoustic dignitaries will please any discerning palate. At a long traffic light yesterday, I pulled next to a blue 1995 Civic with big, fat exhaust pipes. The gentleman clad in mirrored sunglasses and a hairnet was blasting Muzak at a Spinal Tap Ours-Goes-to-Eleven volume. I wanted to glance over, but this bland re-mixed instrumental of Madonna's "Papa Don't Preach" throbbing through the windshield bespoke one thing -- don't make eye contact; look straight ahead and keep driving. This guy was obviously a playa; no need to be poseuer and blast rap. I'm so bad, I make elevator music sound ominous! Who da man? You are!!! The light turned green, and we drove into our separate evenings.

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