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2:11 am EDT 49°F (9°C) in Warrenton, MO
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"'Cause I'm a 21st-Century Digital Boy,
I don't know how to live, but I've got a lot of toys …"
— "21st Century Digital Boy," Bad Religion
Yes, loyal readers, I decided to add to my embarrassment of telecom riches (relatively speaking, compared to the average truck driver) on Thursday night. I bought a Sirius™ Satellite Radio, complete with mounting hardware, a cigarette-lighter power cable, and a small magnetic antenna, and I've spent a good bit of the last 24 hours either (a) working on a semi-professional-looking installation, or (b) screaming down the road enjoying their roughly 120 channels. I had finally gotten to the point where I'd had it with AM radio being filled with nothing but blowhard right-wing extremists, and FM radio being so heavily controlled (not to mention often censored) by the equally right-wing control-freak media giants Clear Channel and Infinity.
Out of the roughly 120 channels, I'd have to say that probably 80 of them feature programming formats you would be hard-pressed to find on AM/FM radio: "decades" formats (i.e., an exclusively 60s channel, another exclusively 70s channel, etc.); classic country (though I'm no fan of country, I do know that all you're going to hear on your local FM honky-tonker is stuff from 1990 or later); electronic music (try finding that anywhere on AM/FM, especially as a 24/7 format); and perhaps my favorite, a gay-oriented channel (OutQ, which appears on channel 149). Instead of only being able to pick up bits and pieces in between patches of long-distance AM static, I can now listen to Air America Radio in FM-stereo quality anywhere in the continental United States. Finally, the icing on the cake (or whipped cream and cherry on the ice cream sundae, if you prefer) is the full package of live NBA and NFL play-by-play (during the appropriate seasons, of course). Just this past evening, driving along Interstate 70 in western Missouri, I listened to most of the second half of the Detroit Pistons' 99-73 destruction of the Milwaukee Bucks. (cue "Mason," the Pistons' public-address announcer, and his "DEE-TROIT BAS-KET-BALL!" chant)
I have to say, I've been seeing a ton of very attractive young men in the last day or two. One wouldn't ordinarily think of Council Bluffs, IA, or St. Joseph, MO, of all places, as meccas for hotties, but what can I say, it must have been my lucky day. That, or maybe growing up on corn and beef makes Midwestern boys hot.
I've been promising a "manifesto" update for some time here, and I'm going to sort of start to get into that here. What I'm about to mention has an indirect relation to the Sirius radio purchase from the other night. I think that in my most recent visit to the therapist, I finally came to realize that I must re-double my efforts to get my parents' negative, judgmental criticisms out of my head. I mean, it seems like I can't buy anything over $20 without facing criticism, especially from my father. If he could realize that I'm 25 and gainfully employed, and that I have every right to spend my money as I please and accept all responsibility for that, things would be a lot better. I don't want to say he's a control freak — that wording carries some pretty strong connotations — but whenever I choose some course of action that he disagrees with or doesn't understand, he really needs to butt out and hold his tongue, at least to prevent further acrimony. I welcome advice, when I ask for it, but I am going to make my own decisions and accept whatever responsibilities those entail, and I don't want to hear any bitching about it.
One perfect example of this pattern can be found in the occasional chats we've had about my buying a car. What I am going to do is this: I am going to cast as wide a net as possible in searching for a car. I will see what's available on EBay (carrying out all due diligence, such as obtaining Carfax reports, etc.) for purchase. I will scan the want-ads to see what's out there. I will likely even visit a few dealers, one of which will almost certainly be some type of "guaranteed credit" lot. From there, I will make my choice based on overall impressions of the cars in consideration, as well as what kind of deal I can get (i.e., best car for least money, within reason).
My father, on the other hand, insists that I can't get anything with over 30,000 miles ("I don't want to sell you [his 1999 Ford Taurus] because it has over 70,000 miles"), and that I can't hop on a Greyhound to go elsewhere ("You're not going to Tennessee to buy a car," saying "Tennessee" with an almost-indignant air). Even better yet, he once indicated that he would only sell me his Taurus if I were to immediately quit my current trucking job; you know what, if the whole thing is contingent on anybody but me choosing the destiny of my life, either immediately or down the road, the deal's off. I'll probably end up buying something with higher mileage than that Taurus, and maybe I'll have to take a trip down to Alabama to pick it up, simply because the best deal I can get — he has faithfully kept that car well-maintained since it was new, and I know he doesn't beat the shit out of it — would seem to require me to submit to somebody else's will, and that is something I will not do, no matter how much I get screwed if my choice backfires on me.
(I also have the "past experience" factor to keep in mind here too; I really couldn't buy any non-junker without a co-signer on a loan in 2001. Being in that position of needing his help, I let him railroad me into buying a brand-new car instead of a middle-aged used one; well, we saw how that one turned out come summer 2002. I am still without a car, three years later, and the finance company, knowing I didn't have shit, went after him for the $6,500 difference between loan balance and auction amount before offering him a $3,200 settlement. The way I look at it, being so insistent on getting his way set him back three grand. Sure, I screwed a few things up too, not the least of which was taking shitty jobs out of sheer desperation, but the end would likely have been less disastrous if my preferred option of a five-to-seven-year-old car had been pursued.)
Well, it's getting late tonight, so I'm going to bring this one to an end. This "manifesto" will probably stretch on throughout the next several updates, or so it's beginning to appear.