I finally got the stereo in our Mazda 3 taken care of last week. First, I replaced all of the speakers in the car. It should have been easy because I bought about $3000 worth of furniture last summer when we bought our new house and the furniture store (my current employer) recently sent me a gift card of close to $100 as recompense for the price gouging.
When I bought the speakers the salesman went to ring me up and a dark cloud came over his face when the computer told him that I was a company employee. He looked at me with a scowl and said, "You should have told me you were an employee. Why didn't you tell me?"
I wanted to say, "Sorry, I didn't mean to make you waste your good manners on me." But instead I said, "We only talked for about two minutes and I'm paying full price anyway. I didn't think it mattered." And then they told me that employees weren't allowed to use gift cards. So I asked, "Then why did you send it to me?" And finally I got the guy to go talk to his boss about it and after 15 minutes they told me I COULD use the card.
I thought new speakers would be all that was necessary for a basic but respectable listening experience and it was all that I planned to do to enhance the sound system. But after the speakers were installed, the stereo sounded just as crappy. I asked the guys if they were sure they were finished with the install and they said yes. I asked, "Why is it so crackly?" They just said, "Because your stereo sucks." And that was all they felt like talking to me.
The music came out very crackly and nothing near what I would call "loud" and I thought I could fix the problem by using a four channel amplifier to power all of the speakers. I went to a different store to have this done, because I can pay full price anywhere without the extra heaping of crap for being a company employee.
It ended up costing a lot more than I thought it would and though it did sound better I would still hesitate to call it "good." And the guy said there was a problem with the front speakers and he couldn't get them to sound good no matter what he did. Then I realized I would actually get money back if I just returned the amp and had a whole new deck installed, so that is what I did.
The guy said the factory wires in the front door were frayed which caused a short in front speakers. He fixed that. The new stereo sounds as good as I could possibly imagine it (without subwoofers) but now there is an issue I didn't expect: I miss the LOOK of the factory stereo.
Now I have no steering wheel controls, no six disc changer, the cool displays are gone, and the factory dash was filled with evil-looking red lights that really grew on me. Now the dash looks very, very plain. But the stereo sounds awesome so I don't know what I could have done differently. It still feels like a shame though.
So Ford/Mazda did a good job on the looks of the dash, just next time they should give the stereo more than 5 watts of power and keep their wires neat and clean, dough-heads. Honda stereos totally kick butt.
When I was driving home from the stereo store, I pulled up to make a right turn at the corner of a middle school. There was a middle school girl standing on the corner. She wasn't pretty or ugly. Just an innocent girl, taking a new interest in boys, waiting to cross the street with her thumbs in her pockets.
When I stopped at the red light, made sure the coast was clear, and then pulled away again, she stared and did something that I really loved. She looked at me (through tinted windows) and waved at me. She didn't lift her hand high and try to wave me over or anything. She just lifted four fingers at me without taking her thumb our of her pocket.
I didn't love it because I thought my life would be better if I ditched my family and ran off with some little 13 year old (I think I've discussed my feeling on such a prospect in a previous post), but those few seconds did remind me that there is a world out there where everything you do doesn't come chained to heavy-as-lead, universe-unravelling consequences.
For half a second I thought I could stop and ask that girl to the prom and when I went home the next day my room would be filled with balloons containing scraps of paper that said things like, "Keep looking!" until I finally found that scrap of paper that said something like, "Yes! I'm bursting to go to prom with you!"
I'm happy with my wife but you can ask any married couple and they probably couldn't deny that, for all of their efforts, sometimes you can't get your spouse to be as excited to be with you as they are excited to watch the season premier of some crappy television show. It's just one of those mysteries of life, I guess.
And instead of asking that girl to prom I just went to work. And if my wife doesn't notice that the stereo sounds crappy then she probably doesn't notice the words being sung:
Won't you let me walk you home from school
Won't you let me meet you at the pool
Maybe Friday I can
Get tickets for the Dance
And I will take you
Won't you tell your dad
Get off my back
And tell him what we said 'bout
Paint It Black
Rock n' Roll is here to stay
So come inside where it's okay
And I will shake you
Won't you tell me what your thinking of
And could you be an outlaw for my love
if it's so then let me know
and if it's no, well I can go
I won't make you