Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Classical Music Soothes Road Rage

I've discovered something simply amazing: classical music soothes my road rage.

I discovered this by chance. Usually in the mornings, I bring my kids to school and so we listen to Veggie Tales or the Princess and the Frog soundtrack. I've convinced them to listen to my Neon Trees album, and occasionally I can get them to listen to the radio in short bursts.

And as most of you parents know, if you listen to Veggie Tales too many times in a row, you'll go into a violet fit of Road Rage yourself. It's all fun and games until someone gets hurt.

On my way home from work I listen to SiriusXM. This is my Quiet and Reflection time. During football season I listen to NFL Radio. It's the only thing that usually keeps me sane during my commute from Baton Rouge into Prairieville. My commute isn't that long, but keep in mind that people drive for shit in Baton Rouge, and so there's always someone in the ditch, someone rear-ending another person, or someone hanging out their window dumping a bag of garbage on the median.

It's a Baton Rouge thing. Don't try to understand it.

But now that the NFL season is winding down, I don't get as much satisfaction by listening to NFL Radio. Especially at night. There's only so many reruns of Total Access that I can stand.

Enter: Channel 76, the Classical station.

I was in a tremendous traffic jam on Airline Highway one night (due to someone running into the ditch while trying to avoid rear-ending someone because they had to stop short due to some jackass throwing garbage out of his truck) when all of a sudden I went into Road Rage mode. Road Rage mode is like Marshawn Lynch's Beast Mode but without the skittles.

If you listened to SiriusXM NFL Radio as much as I do then you'd get that reference.

I started screaming and flicking people off left and right, although it was dark and raining so nobody could see or hear me. I started pounding on my horn (that's not a euphemism by the way) and throwing stuff around my car, and I must have accidentally slapped my radio because I would never willingly change the station from NFL Radio (Channel 88!).

The most beautiful music came out of my speakers. I immediately calmed down. The rain even subsided a little.

It was Mozart.

222 years after Mozart's death, he's still entrancing people with his amazing talent. I was stunned. A tear rolled down my cheek.

I drove home in a daze. It was like nothing could bother me anymore! So be it if I were to be stuck in traffic for hours on end... I had my Classical Music station! Life was grand!

This went on for several weeks. Even when I brought the kids to school, we'd listen to one round of Veggie Tales before I'd slip the Classical station on. The kids would complain at first, but after a few minutes they were silent in the back seat, sitting calmly and listening attentively.

I thought I would never have to change the station again. I had my Classical music. What else would I need?

Until one day, when the rain came back. All of a sudden, something came on the Classical station that I had never heard before: dark Classical music! Dissonance everywhere! There were major seconds and minor sixths... major sixths and minor sevenths... the Lydian Chromatic Concept of Tonal Organization tossed out the window! It was pure chaos!

It was at that point that I realize that maybe I had been addicted to Classical music for a month or so. That Classical music, ever so pure and beautiful, was maybe evil in its own way.

Sure, it helped me get through Baton Rouge traffic for a month. But we're moving out of Prairieville and back into Baton Rouge. I won't need it anymore. I'm done with it.

But it did stop my Road Rage for a brief window of time. So I'm sharing my secret with you: Channel 76. Just watch out for the dark classical.

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