03 June 2017


When I first started commuting to State City every day, people kept saying, "Oh, are you going to listen to audiobooks?" And of course I was not going to listen to audiobooks, because I am a visual person, people, a visual person, and I read books, not listen to them. 

I listened to music, and then when I found that gave me too much time to think about how other people on the road were driving, I switched to NPR, and then there was a terrible, horrible, no-good, very bad election, and I couldn't listen to NPR anymore because the news made me furious (so many awful things being done to so many people), and I went back to music.

One day, on a drive back from Central Ski Town that devolved into a blizzard up on the mountain, J. put on an audiobook. I was driving, wearing my glasses, and the starbursts I saw through the glasses whenever a car passed driving the other way nearly blinded me through the driving snow. 

But in the background was this story playing through the speakers. I got caught up in the story as I drove, and it let my kinesthetic brain focus on the road while my auditory brain listened to the words.*

The book was so good.

I promptly listened to all the books J. owned on aud!ble, and when I ran out of those, I had him buy some more, and when I ran out of those, I downloaded the library app and started borrowing audiobooks from them. I tried podcasts somewhere in between, but they didn't draw me into a story in the same way.

Turns out stories are exactly what I needed to take my mind off the hour of commuting in the morning and evening. Don't get me wrong, I still have a little bit of brain left over to notice how inefficient it is when everyone drives in the two left lanes and the right lane sits empty, but I don't have the brain space to get so frustrated by it. My stress level has decreased dramatically. I almost don't mind the commute.

I guess it helps that I finally got a car with bluet00th that will start right up with the audiobook when I get in the car. Without bluet00th, this would be impossible. I'd be in my old ways of propping the phone up on the speedometer and trying to turn it up loud enough to be heard over the road noise when I needed to listen to something on my phone. Or headphones, I guess. That's awkward while driving.

(Side note: now that I have a car with a push button start, I am flummoxed by other people's cars. What is this key of which you speak? I reach automatically to push the button and turn the car off, and there is no button. How does this even work? 20 years of muscle memory, gone in just a few months.)

* I took an adult learning class once, and they taught us that if you are, like me, primarily a visual learner, second a kinesthetic learner, and least an auditory learner, you probably need to do something kinesthetic while listening, in order to process the information.