Working a full day. One of the owners is here from Europe. We have a meeting with a Quickbooks specialist at three. At lunch, I walk the shopping plaza to Wyman Park, the place with the exercise stations along the springy walking trail. It’s hot and muggy. I’m Irish, I don’t like to be out in the midday sun. I take a left, walk through the shaded picnic area and find myself at the south end of the parking lot, headed for Rutherford Park on the intracoastal. I discover the two parks connect.
I finish the walk along the back of the plaza, behind the CVS, past the Publix loading docks. Waste Management is emptying a dumpster. The smell of garbage hits me full in the face on this hot, muggy day. A song from the next day’s morning commute comes to mind. “Oh that smell, the smell of garbage surrounds me.”
They’ve asked me to come back this morning for an hour long meeting. This really has to stop, it messes up my whole day. Last night’s commute was a horror show. A tractor trailer tipped over on Woolbright Avenue. We were detoured onto Route 95. I do not drive 95 in South Florida. There was recently an article in Slate about the worst cities to drive in. Miami got the top spot but I’d have to say it’s the entire state of Florida. People have a suicide mission here. No blinkers, passing on the right, obsessive compulsive lane changing. Over 72,000 tickets are issued annually in Florida for Improper or Excessive Lane Change and there are lawyers in Florida who specialize in helping you beat the wrap.
I sit in bumper to bumper traffic, listening to Mark Knopfler’s Telegraph Road. Six lanes of traffic, three lanes moving slow. Which brings me to the common thread of the last two days. Florida radio and how downright awful it is.
When I lived in New Hampshire, I was a big fan of 92.5 The River. It got me through four years of commuting forty five minutes each way to my job in a cubicle. It was the soundtrack of my novel, The Reverse Commute. New music mixed with classic old tunes. Good tunes. The Allman Brothers, Dylan, The Clash, Leonard Cohen, the Lumineers, Mumford and Sons, Jack Johnson. An eclectic mix.
Rich listens to the radio all day long. When he has other guys working with him, he plays a game, “Who can guess this song first?” He almost always win, he can recognize a song two beats into it. He called yesterday just to voice a complaint. “Radio sucks in Florida. If I hear another song by Boston or Sammy Hagar or Queen, I’m throwing this radio through a window.” Somebody’s cranky today.
He’s right though, radio does suck in Florida. He set the radio in my car to three stations he found tolerable. On Day 80, on my way to work, I try all three, give up, hit CD, and listen to Mark Knopfler Live. On Day 81 I decide to stick with the radio. If nothing else, it will give me something to write about. I settle on The Gator 98.7. I start rocking to Lou Reed’s Walk on the Wild Side, an oldie but goodie, followed by Tom Petty’s American Girl. I can always listen to Tom Petty. Maybe today I can make it all the way to Boca listening to the radio. After Take it easy baby, Make it last all night, things quickly go downhill.
This is how it went:
Oooh that smell, the smell of death surrounds you. Sorry to the Lynyrd Skynyrd fans out there, but I never liked the band. Something about Sweet Home Alabama rubbed me the wrong way. In the seventies I did not love the governor and yes, Watergate did bother me. If it didn’t bother you, try thinking about how we went from Nixon’s lies to WMD and tell me history doesn’t repeat itself. Our tolerance for bad behavior and lies becomes muted because of apologists like these guys. I would rather hear Mister Young sing about her. Besides the fact, I blame Free Bird for ruining an entire generation of men. But if I stayed here with you girl, Things just couldn’t be the same, Cause I’m free as a bird now, And this bird you can not change…
Ooh that smell leads right into, And another one bites the dust, and another one bites and another one bites… Aaaagh, Queen. I hope my husband isn’t listening to The Gator right now. There’s a theme of lyrical repetition going on here because next up is Everbody Wants You. I had to Google this one to find out it’s Billy Squier repeating over and over again, Everybody knows you, Everybody snows you, Everybody bleeds you, needs you, bleeds you…Everybody wants you.
We get a break in the music. Natalie With the Dish comes on. Justin Bieber’s documentary is airing this weekend. Natalie refers to him as “the Biebs”, then we head into ten minutes of commercials. I turn the volume down low. If I am ever diagnosed with cancer, am I really going to remember the name of that caring clinic with the state of the art equipment and caring staff? Do people base their treatment decisions on commercials they hear on the way to work?
I am almost there as the high pitched voice of Axl Rose croons Sweet Child of Mine. Again, sorry, I was never a fan. Where do we go, Where do we go now, Where do we go… We go to the parking lot, shut the radio off. We survived the ride to work. An hour later I get in my car, drive to Delray, walk the beach, then drive home, listening to my Mark Knopfler tape. The first song that comes up is oddly enough, Gator Blood. Gator Blood is better than Gator Radio.
Thanks to Kathy King for sending me this life saving CD.