Music and Cars

I listen to a lot of music on Youtube. My favorite bands, stuff I’ve heard on the radio or in movies, stuff I liked in the 90s, whatever.

I heard a few songs on our local college radio station that I loved, and I was able to find those on Youtube. After I found them, I listened to other songs by those bands. Then I listened to some of the suggested videos that came up from those, and found a few more bands I like that way. Then I found a few channels of various indie bands doing live performances of their songs, and I listen to those.

I like to root around Youtube to find new music, because the kind of music I really like is rarely played on the main radio stations. That I found a few great bands on the college radio station is still surprising to me. I listen to that station all the time in the hopes of finding more amazing bands. Two in two years still seems good to me. I don’t expect much.

I have a list of songs I like that I found on Youtube. Mostly I like individual songs by bands that I don’t really care for in general. If I don’t write them down, it’s impossible to remember all of them. I have found a few bands that have a lot of songs I like, so I just write down the names of those bands.

Sometimes I get stuck. Either in a part of Youtube that I don’t really care for, or that gets depressing after a while, or else I hit a wall and can’t find any new songs that I like. Youtube mostly seems to know what I like by now, but sometimes the suggested videos are way off the mark and I can’t get away from music that just doesn’t quite do the trick.

Then I go to Pandora. Pandora doesn’t seem to understand what I like quite as well as Youtube does. I guess I can’t blame it, though. I go on Pandora rarely, so I don’t really give it much of a chance. But sometimes, when I hit that Youtube wall, I just need a place where music will play without me having to think of anything to type, or even push any buttons. I have found stuff I like on Pandora, but it happens less often. Usually I just go there when my brain is tired. As soon as I hear something I really like, I usually go back to Youtube to type it in and see what else I can find.

When I find something that I can’t live without in my car or on my walks, I download it. I’ve only done that maybe three times in the last couple years, but I have a list now of stuff I need to download. Stuff I want in the car.

It’s a good system. It gives me a lot of music variety, to have things that I only listen to at home vs things I listen to when I’m out. Variety in music is important for me. As a classical violinist, I have a bit of a snotty attitude about music. If the texture (ie layers of sounds, use of instruments, etc), rhythm, or melody don’t do anything original or at least interesting, I get bored fast.

My mom and sister always talk about songs with a good beat, and I hear those songs and think…. boring. Yes there’s a good beat, but there isn’t much else going on. A kid with a pan can create a good beat. I like subtlety, lines, development. Like I said, snotty. The majority of the music I love would probably bore the pants off most people. My sister can’t stand my music.

We have managed to find some common ground, though. One or two of the songs I love mixed with the less objectionable popular songs that my sister likes. We listen to those whenever we go on road trips together. Which used to be very often, but not so much now that I’m married.

Marriage changes everything. Not in a good or bad way. It just makes things different than they were before. I travel with my family less, but I travel with my husband all the time.

Speaking of travel, my husband and I love road trips. This last summer we drove to Seattle, making pit stops in Las Vegas and Boise to visit family and friends. Last Christmas we stayed with my husband’s aunt in Wichita. The fall before that, we drove all over our state and to Vegas again. Before that, Kansas. We go to Vegas and Kansas a lot. Gotta go where the family is.

Our car, which my husband had before we got married, is a 2002 Hyundai Accent. It’s a good little car. Not fancy. Loud on the highway, low to the ground, 85 horsepower…. But sturdy, cheap to repair, and I can’t complain about getting 42mpg on those road trips I love so much.

I may or may not have mentioned in a previous post that our sturdy, reliable little car has recently started making a lot of strange noises. It has its own little symphony of sounds. At first it was a rattle when the A/C was on. Then squeaky brakes, even though they’re new. And, just within the last two months, a rattle all the time, a fwap fwap fwap, and some strange grinding noises when we turn the wheel more than it wants to turn.

The latest sound was the last straw. It started about two weeks ago. Every time we push in our clutch, our poor car sounds like Chewbacca. Really does. We don’t know what’s wrong with it. It’s hard to take a car to a mechanic around Christmas. But the Chewy sounds made us realize that our poor car probably doesn’t have a lot of road trips left in it.

We don’t have money saved for a new car. But as much as we love Chewbacca, as we’ve named our Hyundai, we don’t want to give up road trips. So we decided to go into car debt for the first time in our lives.

The conversation went like this:

Me: I want to watch a movie.

Husband: Okay.

(15 minutes later….)

Me: You know what would be more fun than watching a movie? Going to some car dealerships to find out what kind of down payment we would need to finance a car.

Husband: Okay, let’s go. What do you think, a 2008 or newer?

Me: Yes, that’s six years newer than our car. Mainly low miles. And it has to be a manual.

I don’t like automatics…. thankfully, neither does my husband.

We set out in search of the Hyundai dealership. Before we knew it, we had driven past all 15 or so dealerships in town and found ourselves at the last one, Toyota/Scion. I’m convinced Hyundai is gone, but I suppose it’s possible we just missed it. I haven’t bothered checking.

We talked to car man and told him what we wanted. The news was…. three manuals on the lot. Two were used Volkswagens. I have an attitude about German cars, since I drove my mom’s Audi during graduate school, and that damn thing broke down all the time. Not only did it break, but it cost an arm, a leg, and my torso to fix. And it was three years old…. THREE YEARS OLD! Chewbacca is eleven years old and kicks that Audi’s butt in all areas except… comfort and performance. Whatever. Reliability is more important!

We said a big No Thank You to those Volkswagens.

The last manual on the lot was a 2013 Scion xD. I’ve always liked the xD. I liked the old body style xBs, and the xDs are actually more similar to those than the new xBs are. Weird. Anyway…. we thought, we can’t possibly get a new car, but we’re here and we’re young and we love cars, so we will test drive it.

It felt so nice compared to Chewy. Quiet, more power, smooth. We didn’t have to slow down to crawling to go over a speed bump. It was amazing. And the xD can, possibly, get as good mileage as Chewy. We have yet to see.

Car man told us about leasing cars. It was something I didn’t know anything about. I didn’t know you could give a car guy a couple hundred dollars and leave with a car. That seems crazy. But to make a long story less long, that’s what happened. We leased a car. I know we have to make payments, and be responsible, and not default on the loan, and blah blah, but…. we still gave car man a couple hundred dollars and walked out with a car. I still can’t quite get my head around it.

I love Chewy. I don’t want to sell him, even though cars aren’t supposed to sound like Chewbacca. It would be nice to have two cars for once. More convenient. Easier in some ways. But the insurance costs more, and we have to buy gas for two cars, and we’ve been living with one car for a long time and we’ve been just fine.

So even though it makes me sad, we are planning to take Chewy to the mechanic, get him diagnosed, and then try to sell him. We won’t get much. Depending on what’s wrong, it could be as little as $1,000. But that’s a few car payments on new car. And we don’t need two cars.


I never understand how I can get so attached to things like music and cars. The thought of selling our old car hurts as much as if we were discussing selling our dog. Well… not quite as much, because that would never even come up. But close. I didn’t think it would be so hard. Even in the last two days, since we got the new car, I just feel bad. I see our Hyundai sitting in the parking lot like a little white beached whale, and I feel like we’ve abandoned it. Like we were taking care of it, and we’ve given up on it. It’s a horrible feeling. Even now, as I’m writing this, I’m sad. I’m trying to think of a way to avoid selling the car.

I’m going to stop now. I could go on and on about being sad about selling the car. I could go on about music. I’m listening to music and thinking about my car and… I just need to stop. I have things to do.


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