Tuesday, August 04, 2009

Blushing in the Driveway

You remember the song by Barbara Mandrell, I Was Country When Country Wasn't Cool? There's a line in there about parking at the drive-in movie and turning down the radio because you didn't want folks to know you were listening to George Jones. Mother used to tell me that back when Hank Williams was popular and no one had air-conditioning in their cars, you would indeed turn down the radio when you came to a stop where others might hear you listening to hillbilly music. It was considered somewhat uncouth to listen to that tacky stuff.

I found myself thinking about that this week when I pulled up to the mailbox in front of my house and lowered the window to get the mail. I was listening to an audiobook, the most recent offering of David Sedaris. I am really enjoying the book, but I do not recommend it without a note of warning. His humor and writing gets a little rough every so often and it is liberally sprinkled with language you would not want your mother to know you are familiar with. Funny, yes, but if you have tender ears, don't go there.

I wasn't thinking when I pulled up to the mailbox and lowered the window. After all, it's not like the book is a constant stream of profanity. It's just that a sentence will pop out every now and then that turns the air inside the car blue. And rather than finding it offensive, it usually makes me laugh out loud. The guy is good at catching you off guard and presenting a hilarious comment within a network of words not used in polite company.

Just as I reached out to get the mail, he began to describe a conversation with a New York cab driver and out came a string of words, most of them beginning with the letter "f". OMG, I thought, looking in the rear view mirror and out the side windows to see if any of my neighbors were outdoors and within earshot. I did not see anyone, thank goodness.

So now, for the duration of the audiobook, I am being a little more cautious. I'm switching to NPR as I approach the mailbox. My enjoyment of David Sedaris' writing will be my own guilty pleasure.

That and satellite radio's Bluegrass Junction. It wouldn't bother me all that much for the neighbors to know I'm a bluegrass junkie, but there's still a portion of the universe that doesn't understand that hillbilly and bluegrass music is not tacky.


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