Radio Static

Radio Static

“Can I change the radio?” I asked.

“You don’t like static?” he asked.

“No,” I said. “Do you?”

“Yes,” he said.

“You always drive around with the radio on static?”

Yes,” he said.

“Can I change it to music?” I asked.

“I don’t like music,” he said. “Or listening to people on the radio talk.”

“Can I turn it off then?”

“Then you’ll have to talk,” he said. “I can’t stand the silence.”

I knew anything I said would be no better or different to him or to me than the radio’s static.

“How about you talk,” I said.

“Okay,” he said. “But I don’t like it. It’s just the same stuff.”

I turned off the static.

“Go head,” I said.

“Okay,” he said. “I get up every day and have two cups of coffee.”

“Okay,” I said.

“I love my coffee.”

“Okay,” I said.

A quarter mile of silence followed.

“This is why I keep the radio on,” he said.

“Go ahead. Tell me more,” I said.

“I already told you,” he said.

“There’s no more? Surely, there’s got to be more.”

He took a deep breath. He clutched the wheel. He thought hard.

“I’ve been drinking coffee for years,” he said.

“Okay,” I said.

Much more silence followed, except for the road noise.

“What?” he finally asked.

“That’s not much,” I said.

He breathed deep again. He thought really, really hard.

“I take it with cream and sugar,” he said. “Always.”

“Okay,” I said.

He drove a while longer, in more and more silence.

“Can’t we turn the radio back on?” he asked. “Please.”

“Sure. I get it,” I said, pressing the button for more static and waiting anxiously for the end of our ride to come.

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