Quiet Desperation

Some people are way off bass


The car next to you at the red light is throbbing with bass. What do you do? Do you throb with bass too? Not me. I don’t want to wind up like Pete Townsend and have to say “Huh?” for the rest of my life.
There’s really not much you can do. You risk a lot if your give him the finger or even glare.
Chances are it’s someone under 21 whose insurance rates have been climbing after a series of motoring incidents. The five and a half years he spent in high school were far out. And mom and dad never said a word to him about civility.
Our highways are very democratic. You have as much right to them if you are a dolt as you do if you are on your way to give a lecture to a graduate seminar at DU.
You may be the pick of the pack at home or at work, but in between, on the streets, you are just another motorist.
We already have a lane for high occupancy vehicles. (Which, by the way, means two. Does that sound like high occupancy to you?) I think it would be wonderful if we could further distinguish motoring lanes.
For example: a high-IQ occupancy lane.
How about a lane for anyone who doesn’t wear his pants lower than his underwear?
A lane just for UCLA alumni would be fine with me.
A lane for anyone who doesn’t talk with their hands.
A lane for anyone who doesn’t pull their soup.
A lane for anyone who knows that a medium-sized cumulus cloud weighs about the same as 80 elephants.
The dog and I are sitting there at the light today, next to AC/DC. I wondered if he knows that Angus Young is a big Louis Armstrong fan. Probably not.
It’s rarely a girl. It’s never someone my age. Unless they throbbed the bass when they were much younger, and maybe now they do have to crank it too.
A Zen Buddhist friend of mine would say, “Sometimes the best thing to do is nothing.”
I try to keep that in mind, especially when AC/DC turns into Aerosmith. I wonder if he knows that Joe Perry manufactures condiments. Probably not.
It might make a difference if the music were any good, but it never is. It’s never Django Reinhart. It’s never Miles Davis. It’s never Chopin. It’s always Motorhead.
Every time this happens I feel a little older. I look in the rear view mirror and see my life back there, back when I might have had the Yardbirds turned up.
What if a kid in the car next to me were listening to “Heart Full of Soul”? Maybe I would give him a pass.
I don’t like bass to begin with. I zero it out in my car and in my home. If I want a pounding sensation in my head, I’ll just use a rubber mallet.
Driving around in an automobile, ball cap on backwards, music loud, has to make you feel alive and maybe even someone when you are not. Look at me. You can’t ignore me. You’re stuck with me now.
One day coincidentally, Throbbing Bass and I pulled into the same parking lot and walked to the same store.
I said, “You like that Black Sabbath, don’t you?”
He just said, “Huh?”

Craig Marshall Smith is an artist, educator and Highlands Ranch resident. He can be reached at craigmarshallsmith@comcast.net.


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