Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Men like Big Sub-Woofers

Mother Nature has decided to give Kentucky the cold shoulder, and while she's wreaking havoc on the school schedule, she is affording me lots of time to write. I actually thought I would be done with my re-writes by now. Last night, I called my beta-reader, Amanda, to tell her young son was coming over to shovel her drive, and she got all excited, thinking I was calling to bring her the manuscript.

I'm feeling a bit like Marty McFly. When you completely change a scene in the middle of the manuscript, you change everything that comes after it. If two of my characters don't kiss at the Enchantment Under the Sea dance, then who winks out of existence later? I will definitely be asking Amanda to read for continuity. I'm sure I'll miss something the first time through.

I needed to walk away from the story for a few minutes to clear my head, and I thought I'd use the time to share a bit o' blog amusement. Today's topic: Men and their sub-woofers.

Yesterday, I had some errands to run, one of which interested my eldest son. We took his car because it has four-wheel drive, and ironically, my big honkin' SUV doesn't. Our neighborhood streets hadn't been touched, and we needed the 4WD to get to the main road. The boy was quick to note that his car sucks serious gas in 4WD mode, therefore I owed him a fill-up. I suppressed the urge to retort that with everything I'd done for him in the last 18 years, he owed me his first-born child...mainly because I don't want it. When I manage to get him successfully raised, I'm done.

But I digress. My son is a good driver. I actually have quite a lot of faith in his skill and good judgement behind the wheel, but I almost never ride with him. The experience is physically painful for reasons having nothing to do with his driving ability.

For son's seventeenth birthday, we bought him a "system" for his car. This was not my idea, by the way. Bruce seems to think a bitchin' stereo system is a rite of passage for a young man. You should have seen the two of them at the store the night we bought it. We went in with a budget of $X. We left having spent $2X. Anyone want to guess the reason we spent double our budget?

Yep...the sub-woofers, or as the kids refer to them...the subs.

The two of them were like kids in a candy store when the clerk (who wasn't a day over 25) demonstrated the difference between subs. There are subs that will give you an acceptable, albeit weak-assed, bass sound. Then there are subs that can create a bass measurable on the Richter scale. And yes, my friends, size matters. We didn't leave with the most expensive, but we did leave with the biggest. When we picked the car up after these massive subs were installed, the technician (another kid of about 20), warned our eldest about noise violations.

I've experienced my son's subs several times, but only for a few seconds because I literally can't stand them. It's not the volume...shoot, I like cranking the stereo when I'm driving and a good song is on...it's the vibration. He took his grandfather for a ride once and vibrated the hat right off his head. I've always been able to shut the subs off quickly (I paid attention when the technician gave him a tutorial) because I was in the passenger seat.

Fast forward to yesterday. I drove because the conditions were pretty crappy, and he hadn't had any experience driving over snow drifts. We weren't out of the neighborhood before he started fiddling with the stereo. He didn't turn the subs on immediately. He had enough sense to wait until we were on the main road. I didn't notice he had turned them on at first. The song started with only treble. Then the bass came in.

OH. MY. GOD. I screamed, and I mean literally. It was like we had crossed the event horizon into some horrible science fiction movie. The sustained bass note was low and ominous like the mothership was hanging over the car, preparing to blow us into next week. The vibration distorted the sound and rattled the whole car. I immediately sprang forward in an attempt to break contact with the vibrating seat. It was futile. My chest vibrated. My hands and feet vibrated. My scalp vibrated. Everything vibrated. Before you laugh like a big dumb eighth grader, let me assure you, there was nothing remotely pleasant about it. It reminded me of the time I was a kid and touched an electric fence just to see what it would feel like.

I screamed, "Turn it off!" My son just laughed uproariously. I couldn't take my eyes off the road to turn it off. We pulled up to a stop light with the stereo blaring like a fog horn from hell. The car next to us? A sheriff's deputy.

This was the icing on the cake. I imagined having my name in the local paper for a noise citation. My son turned it down considerably, but the damage had been done. I looked tentatively over at the deputy...and burst out laughing. He was bobbing his head in time to the still very audible bass. He pointed his finger at me and then drove away as the light changed.

I wonder. Did he think I was cool? Or did he think, "How sad. That woman needs to grow up and act her age." I tend to believe it was the former.

Men like big sub-woofers.

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