'The true Soldier fights not because he hates what is in front of him, but because He loves what is behind him.' -G. K. Chesterton

21 June 2010


A police officer who pushes a solo patrol car, that is alone, with no partner, becomes a master multi-tasker. He must pay attention to traffic while watching for violations, listen to the radio for the next detail and to know where every other officer is and what they're doing, listen to the scanner to know what's going on in neighboring cities, watch pedestrian traffic for criminal activity and peek into businesses/parking lots/etc. for on view crimes. Throw in the occasional civilian ride along who is asking a steady stream of questions and he's mentally processing a lot of information, some of it with life and death implications. With time and experience it becomes second nature. It also apparently becomes a lifetime habit.

I found that away from the job I needed audio input when I drove. I needed someone talking in the background. Same at home. I couldn't simply sit in front of the TV. I also read, worked a puzzle or wrote/read on the Internet. Work with background voices.

I thought when I retired that would end. Turns out that isn't the case. I've been driving a bit alone lately, traveling to and from Utah and my buddy's house in New Mexico. Without Lu to keep me company and fill the silent miles with comfortable sound I had to turn to the radio. I tried XM but hate the expense. I have my collection of music CD's but that's different.

To me music is workout material. I like the most obnoxious rock imaginable when I'm in the gym. When I lift it's a short, directed outburst of effort and energy and bands such as Slayer and the like give me the adrenaline shot I need. I'm an angry lifter and I like angry music about death and war and eating ones enemies. On the bike I prefer classic 60's and 70's rock. BTO, Boston, Clapton, help me put away the miles and meter my energy expenditure so I don't bonk too soon. (Music is also reserved for the Vette. Gotta have the tunes cranked.)

So I turn to AM and talk radio. The problem is trying to find something to listen to across the desert between Bakersfield and Vegas. Frankly it's a mess and during the day so difficult to hold an interesting station. The solution?

Turns out books on tape are the cats ass. I tried it this last trip. The only book I had was the New Testament so I went with it and got most of the way through in about 36 hours of driving. I'm hooked and shopping for titles now. I'm going to be adding a pretty extensive collection but I'm not sure the content matters all that much, I just need the vocal input.

It's said that old habits die hard. I can attest to the truth in that. Still, as habits go I guess this one isn't too bad. It may cost me a few shekels to buy books on CD I already have on dead trees but at least I'm not hooked on what passes for music these days. Kids these days.



Ed Rasimus said...

If you hadn't just read Fighter Pilot, that would be a natural. Christina had a big hand in choosing the reader for the sub-contractor who did the audio books. I've not heard it yet, but she was looking for someone who had the tone and attitude of Robin naturally.

LauraB said...

I have been tempted to do the whole thumbdrive hookup in the truck thing and download from Audible...particularly since I am stuck with Trooper's truck and he cares not for my CDs that slither and slide all around the cab.

But I never have understood how he could run the lights, sirens, radar, watch for tags, spot his hated "felony mudflaps", and host a trainee all at the same time. And yet not remember to take out the trash without a gentle reminder. Hmmm.

Six said...

Actually Ed, I think Fighter Pilot is at the top of my list. I liked it so much I'll re-read it many times and having it on Tape would make the miles fly by.

It's a guy thing combined with a warrior thing Laura. It helps if you think of testosterone as involuntary selective chemical surgery. It enhances manliness while excising out all memory of the things we really don't want to do. It's kinda like alcohol that way.

LauraB said...

Involuntary? I peg that as a "cop" out. *snicker*

JohnMXL said...

If you are traveling via Interstate, or at least have a large truckstop / travel center in your vicinity, you will find that most offer a 'lending library' type service where you purchase a book-on-CD, then when you finish it or tire of it, you can take it back to that travel center or another of its chain and exchange it for another title. Usually you have to produce the receipt as proof of purchase.

Good way to enjoy many titles without having to make a huge commitment of money and/or shelf space.

And, of course, if you find a title you want to keep, it's already yours...you just go to the travel center and purchase a new title and start the process again.

Six said...

That is a great tip John. I had no idea. I'm gonna give that a try.

KurtP said...

...And I was going to suggest that if you want background chatter, get a cheap Cobra CB.
That way you can get road information, too.

Six said...

Good suggestion Kurt. And hey, I've even got a built in handle!