The Decemberists’ Picaresque – Toddler_o_Geek Doesn’t Hate My Music Yet

We bought a 2000 Lexus RX 300 SUV on Saturday. The Lexus has a factory upgraded sound system with a six CD changer in the glove compartment. On Sunday we remembered to take a CD, Decemberists’ Picaresque, with us on the short drive to the local horse farm.

In our old car (a 2004 Honda Pilot, so really newer than the Lexus) we never had too many CDs in the car because I had this great idea that we would remember my iPod (we never do because it’s always connected to me, my Mac Mini or on the night stand with drained batteries).


Even when we had the iPod in the car (by accident when I rarely get picked up from the commuter train station after work), we would dig out the car charger and cassette adapter to discover we had no Firewire cable to charge the always drained iPod (I have an old iPod: a 20 GB, trackpad, cost me $500, not sure what generation (2G?), like a vintage 1988 cellphone). I never liked the cassette adapter because it picked up EMI/RFI interference on the cable and just like a cassette: hiss or deadened sound with Dolby Noise Reduction.

So, we listened to FM radio: classic rock, robot-train-wreck mix pop (somehow this station with no real DJ plays all the same songs I had to suffer through during the local Top 40 countdown on my paper route when I was 12 (I must have enjoyed some of the songs because I remember promising myself that I would always keep my musical tastes relevant to whatever the kids were listening to, luckily I’ve broken that promise)) or NPR (Toddler_o_Geek gets impatient with NPR and its low talking, though about a year ago she enjoyed applause, so we could listen to “Wait, Wait, Don’t Tell Me” without too much complaining).

As the passenger, I was in charge of figuring out the Lexus’s CD changer. After pulling on the CD tray’s finger grips without any success, I noticed instructions on the side, I had a release button to press. I didn’t look, but I’m sure my wife and daughter rolled their eyes.

I placed the Decemberists’ Picaresque CD upside down in the top tray, 6. The first song, “The Infanta” fades in so I couldn’t set the proper volume level.

My wife spied our toddler doing her little car seat safety dance: smile, bobbing head, kicking legs, clapping and twisting torso under the restraints.

I’ve always worried that my children will rebel against the music my wife and I enjoy. Are my Iron & Wine, Decemberists, Bright Eyes and Shellac just my parent’s Elvis Presley, Willie Nelson, Neil Diamond and Barry Manilow? I despised that music as a kid. I begged to play my Purple Rain cassette during those long summer van rides from Seattle to Denver. I remember beating my head against the carpeted wall of the van when Willie Nelson sang “On the Road Again” for the three thousand seven hundred thirty second time.

So a glimmer of hope. Maybe my insistence that we listen to daddy’s music won’t be considered torture by my kin. More likely, we’ll be unconsciously tapping the steering wheel of our hover-car to my daughter’s favorite Sean Preston Spears album.

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