Friday

I went to Best Buy yesterday evening. Have you ever been to one? Of course you have. You’re probably living in a civilized area where Starbucks litter the city blocks and there are (legal) things to do after eight o’clock at night. When certain chains have lowered their standards enough to set up shop in town, you know it’s all people are going to care about around here. When Wal-Mart came, offering the lowest possible prices and ensuring the financial demise of local shops, people flocked to the Grand Opening and bought all kinds of shit they didn’t need. When Border’s opened and advertised hours extending until (gasp!) ten o’clock pm on weeknights and eleven o’clock pm on weekends, literate people spent all their free time there (as opposed to the two independent booksellers down the road who subsequently went out of business). Now: Best Buy.

It’s like an electronic carnival. I went in for the first time just to see what it’s like. It’s been open here for about a month, so the number of gawkers as opposed to actual shoppers has shifted more toward the latter. There really aren’t that many places around here that have a decent selection of electronics, so I thought I might find cool things here. The one word I can use to fully describe my experience at Best Buy is “Loud”. It was almost “Obscenely Loud”. I went looking for a mic attachment for my digital voice recorder. They didn’t have anything that specific, just eye candy and pipe dreams for us regular folk. An $8000 plasma screen TV? Yeah, right. I browsed through the digital cameras, trying to get into the memory and see what shoppers had been taking pictures of. Alas, no memory cards in any of them.

At a loss for what to spend my imaginary money on, I headed to the back of the store to check out car audio systems. My factory issued one is starting to get fuzzy and I want a kick-ass system. The young dude working in this area, Pat, showed me around the three large displays. I asked him which is better: Pioneer or Kenwood. I’m a little wary of Sony. I know they’re really popular but I’ve gotten some really crap products from them in the past (e,g. An $80 digital voice recorder, which plays back audio sounding as though I was strapped to the roof a car speeding down the interstate.) He told me that Rockford Fosgate is really good.

The method for figuring out what audio suits your car is really cool. You select your car’s make, model and year on a touch screen monitor and it tells you what speaker’s will fit. Then you decide what brand you want. I ask Pat if I really need a new deck. He said yes because it will produce a better quality of sound. Okay, I need a new deck and speakers. What about a sub-woofer? He says that since my car is open, I’ll probably only need one, as opposed to two that the usual ghetto-slammers around here get. And I’ll need an amp. What? What the fuck, Pat? They cost, like, 500 bucks. Yeah, but if I get a sub-woofer, I need an amp as well. That’s just the way it is.

Pat starts touching buttons on the monitor, setting up a sound trial for all the options I’ve just chosen. When it comes to the style of music to select (Country, Hip/Hop, etc) his finger hovers for a moment above Jazz. You motherfucker. I stab “Electronic” before he makes the biggest mistake of his life. I was expecting a banal house beat to come on but, surprisingly, Crystal Method starts up. By the time the beat really starts thumping, customers at the front of the store are craning their necks toward the back to see what all the hullabaloo is about. I’m bouncing to the beat, transfixed by the totally awesome sound, while Pat swings to and fro on his crutches.

Okay, it’s looking like all this is gonna cost a lot of money. Is this something people are going to want to steal from me? Oh yeah. Pat tells me his brother’s system was stolen a few months ago. Are you serious? Around here? Oh yeah, over in Lebanon. All you need to do is cruise by the Lot Lizards behind Burger King once and if they hear a kickin’ sound system, they’ll remember your car and your license plate. Oh my God. I mean, it’s not like I’m ever going to cruise by any Lot Lizards in the middle of the night because I’m not that kind of girl, but still. Oh my God. It was a $4000 system, too. Can you get insurance for a car audio system? Yeah. Pat’s got insurance for his, after what happened to his brother.

Pat asks me if this is something I’m going to want tonight. I shake my head and try to play it cool. Oh, no no, I’m just, you know, getting an idea of what I want. Besides, I’m sure I can get everything here cheaper from a catalog… The music was so good, yo. … So good.

UPDATE

I've just been informed the the term lot lizard means different things in different places. In my case, it means the burn-outs (male and female) who park behind fast food joints and stand around planning what they want to do for the night but only ever end up parked behind fast food joints for the night.

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