Finally sick of the sound of silence

To paraphrase the Doobie Brothers, I’m back on the freeway.

And I guarantee it will be the only story you’ll read all day that begins “to paraphrase the Doobie Brothers.”

About a year ago, my truck’s spare radio/CD player died after a long illness, which I first wrote about in 2019.

As before, I won’t say what brand it was for legal reasons, but if you can conjure up in your mind the image of brave men and women crossing mountains and prairies in covered wagons to colonize a new territory, this might give you a clue.

It wasn’t a bad stereo, which lasted just over 10 years. A big box consumer electronics retailer put it on because I knew the job was over my head. When I installed an eight track player in one of the first vehicles I ever owned, a battered and bruised 1973 Jeep Commando, there were two wires, one hot and one ground, and a few extra connections for the highs. speakers of the commercial batch that I put in the back.

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Within 15 minutes, I was listening to “You Can Tune a Piano But You Can’t Tuna Fish” by REO Speedwagon.

The next time I tried to put a new stereo in a Toyota Corolla, the wires had multiplied dramatically. I gave the job to someone I thought was a gifted electronics hobbyist.

After the car fire, I swore to stay with professionals.

The big box professional who installed the first aftermarket stereo in my truck did a great job. There were no fires and sounds were coming from every speaker. A few years later, however, the bridge became a bit awkward.

Various fixes, including inserting a plastic breath-freshening tube into the CD door, kept it going.

Until finally nothing helped, not even banging on it with my fist and cursing it, which usually works with the toaster.

All I had now was the sound of silence and the hum of worn tires on the highway.

During the pandemic, I wasn’t into the truck so much, so I let it slide, like so many of us did with so many things during the pandemic.

When I couldn’t stand the silence or the sound of my own chanting to drown out the hum of the freeway any longer, I hopped onto the interwebs for a date with the big-box pro, only to find that the store n had no more stereos installed. The closest was in another state.

I googled “car stereo installation near me” and found mom-and-pop stores few and far between. Service had declined over the years, possibly due to the continued proliferation of wires and an overabundance of car fires.

My first attempt to make a deal with someone about 30 miles away didn’t go well. He wanted me to come by – 30 miles is a bit of a swing – to check inventory before making an appointment.

I wanted him to pick something – anything – with a radio and Bluetooth that would get me in and out of the door for $200 or less and tell me when to be there.

We couldn’t hear each other.

My next try was a venture nearly 40 miles, up the mountain in the other direction.

The email exchange arranging the deal went much smoother. The manager obviously had previous experience with out-of-town hicks who wanted as little fuss as possible.

I climbed the mountain with nothing but the sound of silence and the buzz of used tires on the highway, but I came down the mountain clearing traffic jams, as the kids say.

To paraphrase the Doobie Brothers once again, wo-oh-ah, we have to let the music play.

Scott Hollifield is editor of The McDowell News at Marion and a humor columnist. Email him at [email protected]

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