Friday, December 4, 2009

Things I'm thankful for: Robert Siegel, Morning Edition, and Diane Rehm

Well, I was right in my roundtable response- driving to Ohio was a pretty ridiculous plan. I ended up 'working' on Tuesday (more about that later) and didn't set out from DC until almost 3:30 in the afternoon. Somehow I thought that I could survive DC rush hour, but by 6PM I was still only about 20 miles beyond the Beltway, and my gas light was on. I pulled off to find gas in the middle of nowhere (read: Clarksburg) and managed to find a single gas station. It was so low tech that there were still dials for the numbers instead of a digital display. Kind of cool under normal circumstances, but I wasn't in the mood to appreciate rustic charm. Now I at least had gas, but I was still only running on about 3 hours of sleep, so I decided to turn around and try again tomorrow. I journeyed back down 270 (somehow hitting traffic in that direction too) and crawled gratefully into bed.

Setting out at 5:40AM on Wednesday worked much better (aside from the continued sleep-deprivation). I had leftover Chipotle for breakfast (mmm, cold steak taco) and was headed west on I-70 in under an hour. Little did I know that the worst part of the trip was yet to come.

The worst part of the trip had nothing to do with spending $108.28 on gas, dealing with holiday traffic, or driving through snow in the mountains. The worst part was somewhere between West Virginia and eastern Ohio. This was where NPR disappeared. Across Maryland and the corner of Pennsylvania I managed to skip around the lower 90s on the dial and find a station pretty consistently. In Ohio, however, it became much more challenging. Not only could I not find a reliable NPR station, but mixed in amongst them were all kinds of Christian evangelical stations. These became the bane of my existence during my afternoon of driving.

You see, NPR tends to be fairly quiet, and requires that the volume on the radio be a little high. So while searching for my favorite newscasters, I repeatedly had my eardrums blasted by ranting preacher-types. One was particularly zealous in speaking to his audience, whom he described as 'all those who hate only evil, and love only...' Well, I didn't stick around to find out what his audience loves.

The stations that didn't feature boisterous revival preachers were even worse. They would sneak up on me with reasonable-sounding hosts. I would get my hopes up, thinking that at last I had found NPR. After all, these people were discussing politics, they seemed to be referring to facts, they were talking about Congress debating healthcare and... oh, no, wait, God is against a public option.

Something else I'm thankful for: my dad gave me two Bill Bryson books-on-tape for the drive back. Hallelujah.