The ultimate mix tape, NPR-style

I miss my car.

After 6 months of a low-car diet, hundreds saved on gas, extra exercise through walking, and Metro reading time, I am finally mourning the loss of Enid, my faithful 1990 Ford Taurus, my first car, the little old lady who saw me through college and my first real commute.

Every grieving period has its trigger. Mine was finding that NPR Music is running a series on "songs to drive by." Segments include Night Driving, Jazz for a Summer Rental Car, Songs for Getting Lost (and Found), and the current listen, Crushingly Sad Songs.

Ok, so maybe tuning into that last one was masochistic. It is an O. Henry twist, after all: move to DC, no longer need car, donate car to favorite independent radio station ever (XPN in Philly! Woot!), then no longer have car radio to listen to while driving.

And it was sooo one of my favorite activities too. I don't rent a Zipcar often enough to have learned DC radio stations yet, I don't own an iPod, and besides, there's no XPN anyway. This is tantamount to tragedy on balmy summer nights when all I want to do is get in and get lost somewhere, windows down, music flowing, thoughts unfurling along the highway.

Melodic lemon juice. That's what this is. Seeping into the paper cut left by my beloved vehicle. Thanks a LOT, NPR, for bringing back beautiful memories and digging new wounds. Nice way to treat somebody who's listened faithfully for years, had defended your hipness to my peers, and even wants to work for you someday.

What makes it worse is that you picked really good songs. Couldn't you at least have picked terrible, boring, repetitive music that would make me embrace my SmarTrip card and send Enid to the recesses of my mind?

Oh, I'll keep listening. I'll keep dreaming. But I won't forgive you for at LEAST a week, NPR. And you'll just have to live with what you've done.