If you listen even occasionally to National Public Radio, you probably have heard of a “driveway moment.” That’s the terminology NPR devotees use to describe the way compelling stories (usually during the morning drive show, Morning Edition, or the afternoon drive show, All Things Considered) keep listeners glued to their car seat even after they’ve arrived home. They sit in their driveways, listening to the radio, until the story is finished and they can turn off the car and go inside.
I am much more than an occasional listener to NPR. I listen to NPR almost exclusively at home or in the car, which adds up to maybe 5-6 hours a day during the week and more on the weekend. I’m also a member of Iowa Public Radio, which means once a year I put my money where my ears are, make a pledge, and make room in the kitchen cupboard for another coffee mug.
It occurred to me this evening that the concept of driveway moments has become Pavlovian for me. I got home from work and was sitting in my car listening to a piece on the fine art of movie sound mixing (apparently, NPR is dredging the bottom of the “Oscar story” barrel on this Friday before the awards show). Suddenly, I had an epiphany: I don’t give two figs about sound mixing. I’m especially not interested in listening to (apparently) well-mixed sound clips from Oscar-nominated movies I haven’t seen. And thus, I don’t actually have to sit in the car listening, while my pizza from Herb & Lou’s gets cold on the seat next to me. I can actually turn off the radio in the middle of the story, get out of the car, and go inside.
It was a very liberating feeling, and a great way to start the weekend. Now if you’ll excuse me, I have a pizza to eat.