Random Thoughts During a 12-Hour Drive

And 600 miles later I’m home. Whew. What a trip. Too many sights, too many thoughts, and too many miles.

A 12 hour drive is pretty boring, and you have to find someway to entertain yourself. I think I managed nicely. The 6-disc CD changer helps too.

Way-too bright, fluorescent, spandex pants on a guy in the bathroom of a rest area in Michigan and free donut holes at a gas station in Wisconsin.

In Chicago, express lanes mean just that. You always thought a meat wagon was an off color name for an ambulance? Nope, in Wisconsin that’s the truck that drives along the shoulder of the freeway picking up the road-kill deer.

Eerie fog tinted red with brake lights and lightning so heavy in the distance it looked like a strobe light.

Kevin, the navigation wonder, makes a blunder and tours parts of downtown Chicago. I should get lost more often, downtown Chicago looks like a fun place.

People fighting in Target over a shopping cart, you consider doing something, but what can you? They were acting worse than 5-year-olds.

And if you really want a thrill, try driving through Chicago-rush-hour traffic while playing the soundtrack to the new Star Wars movie. That’s freaky.

Speaking of Star Wars, I was standing in a drug store in Elgin, IL, filling out an application, when suddenly I looked up and Yoda was speaking to me, “Buy Star Wars merchandise, you will, mmm?” I thought the solid aisle of Star Wars at Target was bad. Everywhere I went today I saw Star Wars stuff. Darth Maul (the freaky red and black guy with horns) greeted me as I went to use the bathroom at a Shell station. The best part is the fast food wars. Pizza Hut, Taco Bell, and Kentucky Fried Chicken are all in on this Star Wars promotion (Did that combination ever seem odd to you? Well it shouldn’t, Pepsi owns all three, and guess what? Star Wars is on Pepsi too.), so what does McDonalds do? Low blow. Teenie Beenie Babies are back. My only question is how is Burger King going to survive this summer. I don’t know what they have planned, but the chicken tenders I had tonight came in really funky shapes, and I’m guessing it’s to promote some movie–too bad they didn’t get the message across to me.

And finally, I think my most hated color is now construction orange. You know it’s spring time when the construction cones start popping up.

On a slightly less cynical note, I did a lot of thinking today (like I said, it was a 12 hour drive). As I passed through Kalamazoo, MI, I was listening to the radio (yep, I gave the 6-disc changer a rest) and I stumbled across several Christian stations. One was Way FM. They’re a really small (10,000 watt), listener supported radio station. They didn’t have any commercials. It was really nice. Although something turned me off when the little station jingle came on saying, “Christian Hit Radio, Way FM,” (my typing just doesn’t do it justice, it’s so bad, it deserves the ‘musical noogie’ award).

I also turned to another station, 96.7 FM WUFN out of Albion, MI. They were a Family Life Radio syndicate, and vastly different from WAY FM. WAY FM appeals to the younger crowd, playing all the modern hits (in Christian music). Family Life Radio goes for a much older audience. When I tuned in 96.7 they were in the middle of a promo about how you should encourage people. It was speaking directly to Christians, so much so that if you weren’t a Christian it wouldn’t have made a lot of sense. I couldn’t help but wonder what the good is in that. If a non-Christian were scanning the radio dial, and he stopped at 96.7 and heard this promo, would he stop and keep listening? I doubt it. Even if he did listen, would it make much sense to him? Not at all. What if the same guy listened to WAY FM? He might stick around. But then they blast him with the little “Christian Hit Radio” jingle. Why tell him he’s listening to a Christian station. Let him figure it out. These were two obviously different Christian stations, and I found it interesting how they both appealed to the Christian, but neither seemed to be trying to reach the mainstream audience. It’s kind of sad.

In other radio related news, while scanning the stations I stopped on one station that was playing a promo about how some study proved that their station actually played 40 minutes more music per day than their rival. I didn’t stick around to actually hear the music, they were too busy telling me they play music to actually play the music.

I also saw one of those billboards again. “What part of ‘Thou Shalt Not’ didn’t you understand? -God.” This time I think it was rather effective. About a quarter mile past the billboard was the “Velvet Touch: Live Girls” club. You can guess what goes on there. I don’t know if I necessarily agree with the confrontational approach, but in this case it has a nice sharpness to it.

And with that I leave you with a quote.

“I don’t want to let my life fly by / Did you ever stop to wonder why–ever stop to wonder, wonder why?” (Tomorrow’s Another Day by MxPx)

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