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Posted on Monday, July 2nd, 2007

Dave!In the many long hours driving back and forth to Seattle, I've come to love audiobooks. It all started when I was given I Talk Pretty One Day by David Sedaris on CD for my birthday. After that I was pretty much addicted, and signed up for an Audible account so I could get new books for my iPod whenever I have to travel or drive long distances. They make the time just fly by.

The problem is that chapter breaks never seem to come when you need them.

More than once I'll arrive at my destination, but I'll be in the middle of a good chapter or something, so I'll just sit there continuing to listen until I get to a good stopping point. It's no big deal.

At least I thought it wasn't.

Today I pulled into the city and decided to stop at a corner market for a carton of chocolate milk. But, since the book I was listening to (The Areas of My Expertise by John Hodgman), was in the middle of something good, I just turned off the engine and waited for the chapter to end. It was at this time I nearly jumped out of my skin because there was a pounding on my window.

"HEY! IF YOU'RE NOT GOING TO BE USING THIS SPACE, WOULD YOU MIND LEAVING SO WE CAN USE IT?" said a large man screaming at me through the glass while gesturing wildly back to some woman double-parked across the street. Not wanting to sound stupid by saying that he'd have to wait until my audiobook chapter was finished, I instead rolled down the window* and replied "Sorry, but I'm waiting for the police."

Don't ask me where that came from.

I guess I figured that if this guy thought police arrival was imminent, he wouldn't want to mess with me. And I was right. He just wandered off with a dazed look on his face.

Which may have been the way his face always looks... I only met him for that one minute, so I wouldn't know.


*Well, techincally I didn't "roll" down the window, I just pushed that button thingy. Do they even make vehicles with manually-operated windows anymore?

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  1. Jacki says:

    “Sorry, but I’m waiting for the police” must work in a lot of situations.

  2. Brandon says:

    I love that book and love the audiobook almost more. Have you ever come across any other audiobook that off-the-cuff and unique?

  3. adena says:

    I think I’ve owned all those vehicles.

  4. Melanie says:

    Damn, that’s some good quick thinking!
    (And also, that guy was a moron dickhead.)

  5. serap says:

    David Sedaris is so hilarious… weren’t you driving along laughing when you were listening to it? I can’t read his books on the train cos I always get a fit of the giggles! I’m betting that they don’t make manually-operated windows anymore, but I dunno. Just about everything is now automatic on my car (windscreen wipers, lights, windows, ignition)… I’m always a bit weary of it, it’s far too intelligent for my liking.

  6. Suzy says:

    “I’m waiting for the police.”



  7. kapgar says:

    Hey! I’ve got manual windows! What’re you trying to imply?

    Nice timing on the police comment. As usual.

  8. Bre says:

    I made the mistake of just pausing my iPod without waiting for a chapter breaks – it wasn’t good news when my sister just grabbed it and started flipping around (she’s a brat, what can I say) to find a song she wanted to listen to. I wish the police had come for her…. hehe

  9. Avitable says:

    Another good line would have been, “Dear God man! Get away – I’m waiting on the Hazmat team here!”

  10. tori says:

    I love when strange things pop out of my mouth. I sometimes make myself laugh when I hear what I say, which I think is a pretty good skill to have.

  11. Karl says:

    Ha, that’s gonna be my new catch phrase. “I’m waiting for the police.”

  12. kilax says:

    Good comeback! I always think of them after the person leaves 😉

  13. Hilly says:

    1. I am amused as all hell that you just spewed out that little fib on cue! Talent, my friend ;).

    2. Does your being in the city mean that the next post will be all about the iPhone you finally bought???

  14. bluepaintred says:

    I have only listened to one audio book, and I really enjoyed it, but I love the heft and the smell of books, so I don;t think i could give up books entirely..

  15. Jeff says:

    A work with a guy who commutes 45 minutes every day and he said that he actually enjoys the travel time because he listens to audio books. He said he would never have the time to read them otherwise and feels his life has been enriched by the opportunity.

    Go figure.

  16. Lora says:

    I’ll have to remember that line…and yes, some cars are still made with roll-down windows. I had one as my rental a couple weeks ago. It also didn’t have cruise control which was more troublesome to me than the window situation.

  17. SoylentJames says:

    “Sorry, I’m waiting for the police.” HA! Can I use that sometime? [practices saying it in mirror]

  18. Danielle says:

    Audiobooks ROCK. My workouts fly by now and I’m almost looking forward to a long 8 hour drive today just so I can listen to another book.

    Yes, cars with manually-operated windows still exist. I drive one. And not having automated windows and locks sucks sweaty balls.

  19. sizzle says:

    i love hearing david sedaris read his stuff. it’s even better than reading it yourself.

    the police- you’ve always got a good comeback!

  20. ~jtm says:

    Ha! That’s fantastic… I usually can’t think of good lines until it’s way too late.

    ~oh, and I own a car that I have to manually crank the windows… man, talk about the dark ages, but I if I get stuck in a flood and my car stalls out, I’ll still be able to open the window and call for help.

  21. hannita says:

    I’ve done that so many times – sat in the car while finishing a chapter on an audio book or listening to this american life. You’re in excellent company.

    Also, you are a genius with the police excuse.

  22. Baak says:

    lol! 😀

    GREAT reply. Gonna have to remember that one.

    Audio books are fantastic for road trips, when the reader is good. Only had one or two where they weren’t and those we eject within 10 minutes.

  23. Kyra says:

    I think that’s just fantastic how you handled him. I might have been a bit nastier than that. 😉

  24. ajooja says:

    I love audio books too, but I’m a podcast junkie. I actually wear out a set of headphones in about four months. It’s sad.

  25. Dan says:

    So when are you going to start narrating your blog?

  26. Ashly says:

    I fell in love with audiobooks when my dad lent me his Harry Potter series (read by Stephen Fry). The only problem is that they are some of the best out there, in terms of dramatics so it’s hard to find others that reach my ridiculously high standards.

    Luckily dad has left me with thousands of the things, so I’ll have a good time sifting through them.

  27. ChillyWilly says:

    This is why I read Blogography… for pure entertainment and to gather useful phrases that help avoid human confrontations.

  28. Shannon says:

    Count me as another in the manual windows club!

    And damn you for linking to Audible! I always liked the idea of audio books but never got around to buying and/or downloading any, and I’m probably going to be starting on my M.A at a school with an hour commute in August. Now to acquire extra money to spend on audio books . . .

  29. Brandi says:

    I love audible too. What books do you recommend?

  30. bogup says:

    When someone is being rude like that, I usually just say, “so why don’t you just sue me, assh*le.” That usually sets things in their appropriate context.
    Then when they depart, I quickly add, “And have yourself a great day!” That gives them off a cheery send-off which is what they need to make their day really special.

  31. karla says:

    That was a very diplomatic response to a very shitty request. Good for you, that you did not shoot him point blank in the face for being an asshat….

  32. Tina says:

    Yes! I will use this one from now on.

  33. bogup says:

    Hand cranking windows? Heck, I still crank the engine to start my 30 Ford. Doesn’t everyone?

  34. Lewis says:

    I absolutely love that police thing. I’m definitely going to use it….but I’ll list your name in the credits. The roll-down window this is going away completely….or will be within the year. I just read an article on it recently.

  35. Wayne says:

    And what’s funny, is you didn’t even imply the capitalization that should have been there, nor finished the ACTUAL sentence you meant.

    “I’m waiting for The Police… to come on my ipod”

    I’m guessing _Message In A Bottle_ was next on your queued list, no?

    Either that, or you were speaking future tense, in such a way that it would be “I’m _gonna_ be waiting for the police, for there will surely be a homicide if you do not vacate my immediate area and stop pounding on my window.”

  36. jodi says:

    many a time I sat in my driveway waiting for a chapter to end. I used to listen to audiobooks a lot when I commuted. I used to rent my books from

  37. Catherine says:

    I actually was waiting for the Police the other night. I thought they would never arrive.

    Then they did (finally! I had been waiting for MONTHS), and took the stage. I was deliriously happy for over two hours, as were the other 54,999 peeps hanging out with me.

    There were no arrests.


  38. yellojkt says:

    I love audiobooks, but I just check out the CDs from the library and rip them to my iPod. Shhh! Don’t tell anyone.

    The only annoying part is trying to keep up with where you are if you have stopped listening for a while.

  39. Belinda says:

    You either live in a high concentration of rudeness, or you have something about you that attracts these people, because you and I are the same age, and I have not had one-fourth of the face-to-face rudeness encounters that you have! I can’t believe someone would actually bang on your window!

    My mom rents audiobooks and downloads them to her computer temporarily, so she can put them on her iPod and listen at the gym. I never have figured out quite how she does it, acuz I am sloooooow like that.

  40. Secretly, I sit in my car for longer when I know someone is waiting on my spot. A few times, I’ve even gotten out and gone back in the store just to be a bitch.

    I’m sooooo going to hell for that.

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