On this cooler-than-expected Monday, I took a road trip to the Northern Neck to see the river and have lunch with the parental units.
And as any sane person knows, a road trip requires the proper music to enhance the experience, so I always spend a little time choosing a variety of CDs for the occasion, despite my car being fully stocked.
What does fully stocked mean?
It means that my newest music is already in the car; at the moment, that would be Yeasayer, BeachHouse, the new Shout Out Louds and the XX.
It means that the CDs that can sustain me through any eventuality and listen to endlessly are already there too: Turn on the Bright Lights. Antics, Alligator, Boxer, Summer Sun, I Can Hear the Heart Beating as One, and Our Ill Wills.
So when I look for road music, I generally choose with variety in mind. I want at least one, if not two, old and reminiscent CDS, something not-so-old but not often listened to and a guilty pleasure, that is, something I once listened to way more than I needed to.
Here's how it broke down today: Graham Parker's 1988 The Mona Lisa's Sister, Al Green's 2003 gem I Can't Stop, Autolux's Future Perfect, the Killer's Hot Fuss and for good measure I also brought Helio Sequences' Keep Your Eyes Ahead.
And would you believe I almost dipped into the regular car stash after listening to all the ones I'd brought?
Please don't judge me.
The trip takes me out Route 360 beyond Mechanicsville and after a while, there's not much on the road besides gas stations, storage places and farmland.
It can lull you into complacency, especially with great music at full blast.
Way out near Aylett with nary a house in sight, I saw an Exxon gas station's sign that read, "Best chicken and rice pudding in town!"
Town? I think what they meant was, "Best chicken and rice pudding in this desolate stretch of highway," but maybe they didn't have enough letters to spell that out.
I'd have stopped and suggested it to them, but I was in the middle of a really great CD and couldn't bear the thought of pausing my road music for even a minute.
Such is the musical beauty of choosing right for road trips.