Monday, December 30, 2013

Christmas Cassettes

My mom recently purchased a lightly used vehicle previously owned by an elderly couple. Looking to bridge the gap between analog and digital, they had both a tape deck and CD player installed. Although our modern family has wholeheartedly adopted the use of CD's, why not take advantage of a tape deck? It's fun! It's nostalgic!

So I bought my mom six cassettes for Christmas.

The selection of music at the tiny local record store was pretty sweet, and I walked out of the shop with some Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, Rush, Eric Clapton, Motley Crue, Cheap Trick and James Taylor. After mom unwrapped her gift with a laugh, I had to make it clear the gift was meant to be functional. I made sure to go the extra mile to personally fill her center console with the tapes so they would be located a forearm's reach away. A storage area that probably could have housed ten CD's is now crowded with the six cassettes I purchased for a buck each. Was I having too much fun with this?


I had a feeling the cassettes would only get played if I initiated the their use with my mom in the car. So this morning when I drove her to work, I excitedly asked if she wanted to listen to a cassette. She smiled and selected the Cheap Trick "One on One" album. After a few moments of no sound, we both realized with a giggle: the tape needed to be rewound. So mom hit the "Rev" button, and we wistfully listened to that familiar whirring sound before the tape finally played from the beginning. We sampled each of the songs before skipping to the next track, laughing in between songs as the tape wound around and the musical silence stagnated. Skipping songs on a tape takes what feels like a millenium compared to how swift this function is on a CD. Playing music on a cassette is an enthralling experience, building suspense as we wait, feeling like our hair has grown an inch before the next song finally plays. But it's all part of the charm.

The tricked out control center

Forget CD's, play the tapes!

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