CDecisions, CDecisions
by Anabella Wewer

When it comes to making decisions, I am very random. Some things I think about for days, some for a few minutes, and to my friends and family, the proportion of time spent thinking in relation to what I am actually deciding upon isn't necessarily logical. For example, the decision to move to another state took about half an hour -- well, okay, maybe one hour -- while the color palette for a design I'm working on can take days. In general, however, music selections are more or less instantaneous for me, and directly related to my mood. At least they used to be. A new car changed all that.

It used to be that somewhere in my back seat or glove compartment there would be a bunch of tapes, some labeled, some not. Sometimes deciding what to listen to was limited to what I could safely reach from the driver's seat. Not too many complications, just moods. Well, there's no tape player anymore; there is now a cd player somewhere in the trunk. It sounds great, of course. But it's taken all the fun out of unlabeled tapes, and it's proved a threat to my moods. Pulling over on an interstate because I'd decided I would rather listen to U2 is not an excuse cops like to hear.

So now I have to plan for what I may be in the mood to listen to some time in the future. Not an easy task, especially when two people share the same car regularly. And we're not just planning a few days at a time here. We're talking about a long term commitment. Because once the CDs are in there, they stick around for a while, I'd say for an average of six weeks.

There's no rule about how often anyone changes the CDs (or doesn't). They just get changed when someone has a particularly strong mood -- one that justifies getting out of the car after you've already settled in -- or we're both just sick of everything we've been listening to for weeks. "That's it, I'm changing them," someone proclaims every once in a while. Then we run upstairs (since the ones in the trunk are the other six we listened to for a month and a half before), and ... start thinking.

Gotta have a bouncy music CD, and a "cool" music one (whatever that is), and there seems to be a trend that says something "live" must be added, and something relatively new, and there always has to be some Boingo. No one has expressed these rules out loud; they just are. There haven't been any arguments or anything, just a weird look when Danny Elfman's voice comes out of the third track instead of the fifth. It usually happens on weekends, when I actually have an extra ten minutes before I have to be somewhere, or when I'm so sick of listening to the same stuff that I actually leave ten minutes early. Talk about planning.

It's not just a matter of standing in front of my closet or the fridge for five minutes any more. I now get to stand in front of a 100-plus CD collection and ponder the future. What will I be doing in the coming weeks? Any lengthy road trips on the horizon? I also have to try to guess at what that other person may want to listen to...

But the other day he brought in a tape and turned off the CD player. So we're good for at least a couple of extra weeks.

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