Listening to Adam Curry’s Source Code this morning, and hearing him describe the role of the “drive time” slot in the radio world: it’s valuable because it’s the time of the day when people who are commuting have nothing better to do than sit in their cars listen to the radio.
Hearing this, I realized why I’m not consuming as much audio as I’d like: I have no drivetime.
Most days I either walk to work (where wearing an iPod seems both antisocial, and counter-productive because the audio of the street is interesting too) or I ride my bike (where wearing an iPod would simply be dangerous). My long car trips are limited to the three or four times a summer that I drive out to Park Corner for Land Trust meetings, and the once or twice a year we drive to Halifax or Moncton.
I could listen at home, instead of watching television (do I really need to watch more episodes of Seinfeld?), but I find it odd to just sit there and listen. Perhaps I need a hobby. Or perhaps I should wash the dishes or clean up the kitchen. Or exercise. As it is, my attention is fully occupied almost all of the time. Maybe that’s not such a good thing.
My step-father has the theory that the audio experience of driving alone is why carpools and public transportation haven’t made much headway and people drive themselves no matter how bad the traffic. He says it’s the secret precious private time of millions.
I agree with your father. I think most people vastly underestimate the need for an inner life. So they have to make up activities to go along with spending time alone.
I’d be happy to trade in my 90 minutes of drive time each day for a short walk… ;)
As it is, I do enjoy the “alone time” and listening to audio programs on the drive each day.