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L.A. Beat

If silence is golden, I want no part of it

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This week something happened to me that has impacted my life in ways I never imagined. It has changed my perceptions regarding people, habits, justice and driving. This incident occurred on Wednesday, in the wee small hours of the morning.

At some time between midnight and eight a.m., some knucklehead took advantage of my leaving a car door unlocked – opened the door and removed my stereo.   

Now, to a music lover like myself — this was a serious blow.  Opening the door to my car to head off to work on Wednesday, I think I went into shock. Nothing else was missing — spare change was left behind, my registration and insurance was there.

The only thing missing was the faceplate for my stereo. That’s right, get that, they didn’t actually take the whole deck itself, they merely took the faceplate. A faceplate made specifically to fit that one JVC model car stereo. This means that this bloody thief; this scandalous vulture of entertainment; this diabolical mischief maker - has merely managed to piss me off, and has gained nothing. He can’t listen to my stereo, and neither can I.  It’s almost like he or she broke into my house and stole the sofa cushions, leaving the sofa behind.

I’ve contacted the police, and have notified my neighbours that there is trouble afoot. The police recommended that I wait a few days before replacing the sound system, as there’s a chance they may find it and return it to me. In the meantime, driving around has never been so dry. I find myself shaking, going into withdrawals and nibbling on my bottom lip when I’m behind the wheel.

This is because my stereo makes me happy. I always have a CD in the player, with another one or two loose somewhere as backup discs. I always have the radio tuner set and pre-programmed for my favourite AM and FM stations. I even had the equalizer set up the way I wanted it, with the best sonic acoustics while, pleasant for both myself and any passengers in the vehicle, even while driving a high-speed with the sunroof open.

I used to get in the car, settle in my seat, start the engine and get the music going. I would get it all cued up at the right volume, the right song, hell, with the right energy for my mood – before I ever shifted into gear. I’d blast out of the neighbourhood bopping to jazz music, tappin’ to the rock and roll, or groovin’ to some electro-beats. No matter where I drove, there was some appropriate music or spoken word radio program to accompany me. Now there is silence. Silence and wind and the noise of a  four-litre Honda engine. Now there is an empty spot staring at me from the front of the dashboard, with the shiny lip of a CD glaring at me from the CD player’s mouth itself – the newest album from Newfoundland indie rockers Hey Rosetta – stuck in the player, and I have no means of removing it. Because I have no eject button, thanks to some moron and his sticky fingers.

I believe in karma, so I know this chump (or chumpette, no assumptions here) will get his or her just desserts. Someone will break into their room and steal their pillow, leaving them with just an empty pillowcase.  Someone will invade their privacy, break into their refrigerator and steal all the oranges – leaving only orange peels. Someone will break into their car and steal their ashtray, leaving all the butts on their seat. Someone will… do something… won’t they? Won’t they?  They must … For I’ve gotta head out now. I’ve gotta hop in the car and cruise. But I don’t like driving anymore. Not like I did last week. Now, driving feels more like a chore; like the tedium of waiting in an airport or standing in line at a government agency – except at least then I’d have Muzak. Damn you thieves. Whoever you are.


— By Chris Hibbard, Muisc Lover, Special To L.A. Beat
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