Where's the Frequency, Kenneth?

How long is it since my car radio actually worked? I can’t really say. Mostly because I don’t know but, I must admit, even if I did know, I’d be embarrassed to say. It’s about eighteen months, something like that. There; I’ve said it and, yes, I’m embarrassed now.

It’s sort of wrong to say it doesn’t work. It works… after a fashion. But, again in fairness, it is a pretty goddamn useless fashion, the one my car radio works after.

If I sit in the car on my driveway, I can get one station on the radio. Lyric FM. Which is pretty okay because I enjoy a bit of Lyric FM. But, as soon as I start driving somewhere, this one signal starts to waver and fade until, quite quickly, there is nothing there at all.

Eighteen months without a car radio.

There are some entertainment options. The CD player works just fine so I run through my sizeable back catalogue of disks, endlessly replacing the wrong CD in the wrong case, and causing all kinds of confusion. The cable that connects my phone to the faulty radio also works and so I can have a podcast if I want. I generally save those for longer journeys because it’s hard to get into an intricate true-life murder when you’re only motoring down to Tesco. The podcast thing might sound like a saviour but it’s by no means perfect. The cable that links my phone to the radio is a dodgy enough yolk, or at least the connection to the phone is. It cuts in and out whenever you go over a bump in the road and has to be jiggled and generally encouraged with a combination of gentle exhortations and gratuitous swearing to get it back in action again.

This all begs a fairly obvious question.

Why don’t you get your car radio fixed, Ken or, indeed, why don’t you just get a new one?

There are three reasons for this. Two of them are reasonably straightforward and the third is not.



The first is that it is hard to find someone in my town to fix a car radio. Dave can do anything with a car and he does but he draws the line somewhere before in-car entertainment turns up. I’ve tried (a little… see Reason Three) to find someone who will take on the challenge but I haven’t succeeded and then, quite soon, I’ve given up.

Reason Two is that I secretly reckon that I will arrive at the solution to my car radio problem all by myself if I think about it for long enough. I have worked on it. I’ve taken out the unit and checked all the connections. Bear in mind it seems to work fine, it just won’t hold a radio signal. I’ve also replaced the aerial on the roof and I can tell you that I had high hopes that the solution lay there. But it didn’t. I’ve also tried to track the cabling from radio to aerial and that was a bloody waste of time as you can well imagine.

Reason Three is the doozy. I may have to lie on a couch to get into it. Notepad ready? Here goes.

I've figured this out over the years. I’m just not good at doing things for my own benefit. I put myself on the ‘long finger’ with practically everything. If I need a haircut, if there’s a film I would like to go and see, if there’s a pain in my head. I’ll get to it, all in good time, it’s just not a priority. There are other things to be seen-to, more important things to get done. The hair will just grow a bit longer, the movie will be on telly someday, the headache will wear off eventually. I prioritise others over myself and if that makes me sound like Saint Francis of Assisi or something, don’t worry, I’m not. I’m a regular git, just like you are, I’m just not my number one priority. There are reasons for this but, trust me, this couch ain’t big enough for all of that. Not right now anyway.

Besides, this is not such a bad thing in many ways. I’m a handy guy to know. I’ll help you out, if I can, or at least I’ll try to. Plus it’s a good feeling, prioritising other people. It’s not all bad.

But I do think I need to redress the balance a little. Towards myself. And this is not a new thought, not by any means. I’ve been grappling with this particular teddy-bear for years now. I think I’ve got better at it too. These days, I have some ability to say no to things that are asked of me, if I don’t feel I can manage them. That wasn’t always the case. But I’m not quite where I should be, I think. How do I know? Well, for starters, my car radio hasn’t worked right in a year-and-a-half. That says something, right?

And if it were just me, I wouldn’t mind so much. But sometimes my lovely family are in the front line of this too. I’m not saying I neglect them. Quite the opposite, I would do anything for them at any time and that’s a given.

But think about it, Ken, they don’t get to enjoy any radio in the car either.

You should do something about that.

Bump it up the list a bit, at least.

1 comment:

Jim Murdoch said...

When did radio stop being a part of my life? That is a hard question to answer but it has been a while. I’ve never listened to a radio as long as I’ve been married to Carrie. I think the last time must’ve been 1994/95, during the long six months I lived in Aberdeen. As a kid in the early seventies every Sunday I’d sit there and listen to the Top Twenty as it still was then (and keep a record in a notebook which I had pretty much memorised) and later on Radio Luxembourg was my staple but once cassettes appeared that pretty much put the kibosh on that. I’ve never owned a car with a CD player but I’ve had a couple with only a radio. With those I dragged along my trust ghetto blaster. (Remember ghetto blasters?) Oh, fond memories scudding along the M8 listening to AC/DC or Meatloaf. Great driving music.

As far as fixing things goes I think you and I are probably cut from the same cloth. I’m a make-doer without a doubt. If a thing stops working the way it should I’ll muddle along as long as it works some way. And, yes, I’m more likely to get the finger out for someone else than myself.