So I’ve been sick of my music and sick of the radio. Tired of everything I listen to during my commute, and even more worn out by the idea of going through my back catalog of CDs looking for something that won’t make me want to crash into a tree.
I have some depressing stuff in there.
A few weeks ago, I wrote about the long drive my boyfriend and I made to New York and lamented the fact that, with nothing but time spread out before me, I couldn’t read in the car. I get terribly queasy and headache-y. And everyone was so supportive, chiming in that they have the same issue, but the same comment kept surfacing: Listen to an audio book.
Well, I actually have audio books . . . several of them. And after a brief attempt to listen to Emily Giffin’s Heart Of The Matter years ago, I’d preemptively decided they weren’t for me. The trouble was that I’d put several chapters on my iPod and was trying to listen at work, and . . . well, I was at work. I was doing stuff. Typing emails. Answering phones. Writing things. So of course I didn’t absorb anything. And of course the experience was lukewarm at best. I couldn’t concentrate on the words.
But I’ve been thinking about your comments. And though I didn’t think I spent anywhere near enough time in the car to make listening to an audio book worthwhile, I was wrong.
Heart Of The Matter has taken up residence in my Toyota’s CD player for the past week and let me tell you, friends: it is awesome. When calculating how much time I spend driving weekly, I somehow failed to add in the amount of time I drive to and from seeing my boyfriend (about 40 minutes a day, every other day or so); my time running errands at lunch (at least 20 minutes daily) and my drive to and from work (about 20-25 minutes daily). And that’s just, you know, on a normal day.
I find it soothing, having someone read to me — like I’ve gone back 20 years and am gathered around my second-grade teacher as she recites some of our favorite stories. Listening to a story opens me up for further visualizing what’s happening, too, and paints a surprisingly vivid picture of each scene in my mind.
I no longer cringe and smack my steering wheel when I miss a light or have to take a detour. These unexpected shifts in my driving schedule are an opportunity to squeeze in a few more “pages” of Giffin’s novel, a delightful listen narrated by Cynthia Nixon. As I know each route by heart, having taken these particular roads approximately 11,800 times, I can get lost in the story while still safely reaching my destination. And it is awesome.
I’m more than halfway done with the book and am already looking for how I can get my next fix. At our local library, I paged through the shelves of books on audio and marveled at the new world that’s suddenly opened for me. Even though I have four discs of Heart Of The Matter left, I couldn’t resist walking out with Kira-Kira by Cynthia Kadohata.
I’m officially converted.