Music To My Ears

I’ve been listening to music all day.

Actually, I’ve been listening to music nearly nonstop for the past week. My iPod is getting a serious workout. This all started the Sunday before my trip to Ely, when I broke down and bought a new car stereo from Best Buy. I’d wanted one for ages – the one that came with the Hyundai had a CD player and a cassette deck, for crying out loud. I’d grown tired of lugging CDs around and craved the convenience of simply plugging my iPod (with its 4500+ songs) in whenever I went anywhere. Fumbling around with compact discs was an irritating constant on my road trip this past summer. I was pleasantly surprised to learn that car stereos have dramatically dropped in price these past few years, so with a couple of reward discounts to cash in, I picked one up for quite the steal. This made my long drive to Nevada and back much easier. At this point, I may never buy another CD again…I’m not sure where I’d even play it anymore. In fact, I just pre-ordered Coldplay’s new album off iTunes. If everything is going onto the iPod anyway, why not? My favorite feature, by the way, is Shuffle mode. I heard music during my drive that I hadn’t heard in years – songs that never would have made it onto a CD but which, despite that, I still love. They come up randomly and are often a cool surprise.

The music I’ve been listening to wasn’t just confined to the drive there and back. Tara had music playing at her house, too. And when we drove to Great Basin…or around town…either my iPod or her Sanza were constantly going. Driving to the movies yesterday, taking the kids to school – cue the music. Today, I’ve had a very productive day job-searching, and for the past six hours that has been accompanied by…guess. Oh, did you say music? That would be correct!

Courtesy of

Music has always played an important role in my life. I’ll hear a certain song and it will magically transport me back to a particular time and place where it was playing. It’s impossible for me to hear Cat Stevens or Paul Simon without remembering road trips from Ohio to New Jersey in the 70s. “Lightning Crashes” always takes me back to the day Rusty was born; “Smells Like Teen Spirit” reminds me of late nights working in Sharper Image; “Rhythm Is Gonna Get You” makes me think of my high school graduation; and the Sleigh Bells “Rill Rill” takes me back exactly one week. And on and on. Those associations are more enduring than many other more tangible memories.

I remember my very first record album (Elvis Presley). The first time I discovered rock ‘n roll (Journey’s “Any Way You Want It” playing over my tiny blue plastic transistor radio). Gorging myself on The Beatles’ back catalog after John Lennon was assassinated. Calling radio stations to request songs and then recording them on tape once they finally played (I was annoyed as hell whenever the DJ would talk over the opening). Faithfully listening to Casey Kasem’s American Top 40 every Sunday, no matter where I was or what I was doing. I used to bring along a notebook and keep track of the top hits. Seems silly now…but it’s all because of my love for music.

I’ve often said that if I were forced to choose one single entertainment option for the rest of my life, I would pick music over television, movies, and even the internet. (I’d hate to give up books, though)!Β Those other things I could easily live without. Music? Not so much. I need it in my life. What kind of music? Rock ‘n roll, primarily. I’m a sucker for alternative, grunge, and (especially these past few years) obscure indie rock. 90% of my iPod is rock ‘n roll, baby. But I do enjoy other stuff. I have weaknesses for 70s pop, Frank Sinatra, Hawaiian music, disco, and cheesy synth-driven 80s songs. I draw the line at country, although I don’t mind Miranda Lambert or Johnny Cash. Hip-hop hooray? More like hip-hop no way! (Although even here there are rare exceptions. Outkast and the Black Eyed Peas occasionally pop up on my iPod). I guess I’m sort of eclectic, but definitely play favorites.

Which is why I’m so excited for next month. When Tara comes up on October 19th, we’re heading to Seattle for a three-day music festival called City Arts Festival. We’re most excited to see Built To Spill, The Long Winters, Helio Sequence and The Hold Steady – plus check out a lot of up-and-coming acts, like Seapony. It’s going to be a blast! That’s one thing she and I have always shared in common: a love and appreciation for music that most other people have never heard of. I remember the first mix CD she ever gave me, a year or two ago. Once “A.M. 180” by Grandaddy started playing, I knewΒ this girl was special. Seattle will be awesome. It’s 35 days away!

I can’t wait to hear all the good music that’ll be playing on the three-hour drive north.

And for the record, Tara and I are giving this relationship thing a go. It’s Facebook official now and everything. I am happy and excited despite the obstacles. I think we have a lot of potential, and the fact that she’s willing to see where this all leads?

Well, that is sweet music to my ears.


Published by Mark Petruska

I'm a professional writer and editor living my best life in south central Wisconsin.

25 thoughts on “Music To My Ears

  1. YAY! I am excited for you and Tara! ❀ So glad to see that you're giving this a go. πŸ™‚

    And I was SO excited when I bought my car a few years ago that it had an auxiliary jack for my ipod. Shuffle mode is my favorite. πŸ™‚ Its perfect for long road trips. I've had jury duty this week and am driving an hour or so every morning and then 45 minutes to work (its only half days) so the ipod has come in QUITE handy. πŸ™‚ I still do love my CDs in the car though. πŸ˜‰


    1. Shuffle mode rocks. Except when you forget to group your extensive collection of holiday tunes into a playlist and change the settings so they don’t come up randomly. Driving down the interstate at 75 mph on a sunny September afternoon when it’s 90 degrees outside isn’t the best time for “We Wish You A Merry Christmas.”



  2. You know, I was thinking the same thing you were. If I were to only have one thing as entertainment, it would definitely be music. Mostly everything you say, do, remember and love can always go back to music.

    Ever wonder how long you would have to drive to listen to every song on your ipod? Just curious…lol


    1. My iPod actually tells me exactly how long it would take, Tracy. 13.4 days. That’s nonstop, too – and coincidentally, almost exactly how long my road trip this summer took. Which means if I had hit PLAY when pulling out of my garage and never turned the iPod off, the last song would have been coming to an end at the precise moment I returned home.



  3. OMG, don’t laugh, but not only do I STILL have VHS tapes (and play them), but also don’t own an ipod. I’m stil playing my music on CD’s, can you believe it? Hell, it took me several years to give my tape player and move into a CD player.

    I’m like Fred Flintstone of 2011!

    I agree, Mark, music is a MUST in my life. They say that music and the sense of smell are our strongest senses of memory. And I believe it. I can listen to an older piece of music and instantly be transported to another time.

    You’ve got an excellent eclectic collection of music. I too enjoy Frank Sinatra!

    So glad you and Tara are going with the flow and allowing your relationship to blossom. I can’t wait to hear all about her visit in October!

    Hope you great day, bud!

    P.S. and the best to you with your job search!


    1. “They say that music and the sense of smell are our strongest senses of memory.”

      Interesting, Ron. I had never heard that before, but it makes sense to me too. I am also always associating certain smells with places and times in my life. Kinda weird that visual stimuli don’t make a bigger sensory impact.


  4. Listening to Built to Spill as I type this. Coincidence?? I think not!! LOL

    How great is it to be with someone that likes the same music? I love that I can mention a band and I don’t get a blank stare. How refreshing! Remember…we’re too cool for the room! πŸ˜‰

    Three hours to Seattle isn’t nearly long enough to listen to new tunes. Good thing we have the three hour drive back to your place.


    1. FYI – My very first cassette was Neil Diamond’s You Don’t Bring Me Flowers and my first CD was Color Me Badd. Don’t judge me.


    2. No kidding! I’ll bet if we pulled aside 100 people and mentioned Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr., 99 of them would think we were talking about a race car driver while stuttering. We OWN the room, baby.

      And you’re right…that gives us SIX hours worth of music to listen to. Even better!

      And I would never judge you, because I too owned the Color Me Badd CD…a fact that deeply shames me. (I had Milli Vanilli, too).


      1. Ha ha…I have a special place in my heart for Milli Vanilli. Don’t be surprised if they end up on my sansa between now and October 19th.


  5. 35 hours in a car…I’d go nuts without my music! I’ll also have to admit, I’m a little jealous about your new car stereo. I’m interested now. I need to look into something like that. Good luck with the relationship thing!!! Very exciting!


  6. Have fun at the music festival! Sounds like you will though. πŸ˜‰ And road trips are the best places to listen to favorite and new tunes!


  7. To clarify, this means I have no chance with you right? Was it the whole being engaged to another person thing? The toddler issue? My immature poop jokes? I kid, I kid. Happy that you’re getting back in the groove!


  8. It’s funny, I’d give up music for TV or Internet. Never really got into music. Actually have only been to two concerts in my whole life! Every time I try to get into it, it just doesn’t happen. I mean, there are some songs I like, but if given a choice between music and TV…. TV wins every time πŸ™‚


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