Music in the Car

If you’ve ridden in a car with me before, then we’ve probably listened to music together.

Despite my better judgment, I’m going to give you a behind the scenes look at what happens before and after we listen to music in the car together.

1. I am headed to pick you up.

I’m thinking about what we can listen to. Is it a favorite band that we share? Then maybe we’ll listen to Coldplay, Caedmon’s Call, or United. Am I trying to impress you with how eclectic my musical tastes are? Then maybe I’ll turn on some Cold War Kids, Allman Brothers, or Nada Surf. Do I want to look current and on top of my game? Then I’ll put on an album that released yesterday. Am I trying to get you into a band that you have never heard before? Then you better listen up, because the choice of music is all about you.

2. I am pulling in your driveway.

There is probably one song that I really want you to hear. But I don’t want you to know that I really want you to hear it. So I’ll go to the song before and cue it up to a point in the middle of the song and then I’ll pause it. Now I’ll wait for you to come out to the car. I won’t unpause the song until I see you (in case it takes you a while), but as soon as I see you I have to be quick. I don’t want you to hear me unpause the song. I want you to think I’ve been listening to the music the whole time and none of this is planned. So now you get into the car in the middle of what you think is a randomly selected song. You have no idea this next song is for you, do you?

3. We drive away.

I have carefully selected a music volume level that is loud enough for us to enjoy, but soft enough that if you decide to tell me a story I don’t want to hear, I don’t have to turn down the music. We will say “hi” and exchange pleasantries, of course, but let’s not delve into a deep conversation just yet. After all, this song is about to end, and who knows, the next song just might be a good one?

Now, if you start telling me a complicated story that is going to interfere with your song, you leave me with 3 options:

A – pause the music. This action screams, “You are interrupting this song I want you to hear!”, so I rarely break this out. But if you know what you’re doing, you can make it look like you are stopping the music because you are interested in what THEY have to say. Just be sure they are completely done with the story before you unpause. Nothing worse than having to go back and pause it again. Once you double-pause you are setting a tough precedent to keep up with.

B – lower the music. I hate lowering the music. It’s a sign of defeat. Yes, you are more important to me than music, of course you are. But unless this is a really great story, I think I would rather hear this song that I’ve cued up just for you. (Once you’ve lowered the music you might as well keep it low until there’s been a 20-second break in the convo. Then you may raise it again.)

C – keep the voume level high. My personal favorite. Even if they seem annoyed by the music, just ignore them. Pretend that you are capable of enjoying the music AND their story at the same time. And then when the story is done, the music level is already where you want it to be.

4. We arrive at our destination.

Did you like my music selection? Do you think more of me as a person? Do you like driving in my car? Did I miss my calling as a DJ?

These are the unspoken questions that rattle around in my brain. I’m sorry, I just really like music and I was assuming you did too. You did like it, right? Yes, of course you did. Let’s do this again sometime.

What about you? Do you have any rules, pet peeves, or guidelines for listening to music in the car?

Will you ever get in the car with me again without thinking I’m an idiot?