Monday, June 9, 2014

Do Truck Stops Still Have Cassettes? [Personal Essay by Joshua Macala]

                Even though I grew up with cassettes, as a child of the ‘80’s, I also had primarily compact discs in my teenage years, which is when I was quite possibly getting into my most serious of music stages (grunge and punk), so I’ve often wondered what has lead me back to cassettes now some odd decades later.

                There are various reasons for this, most of which I will not get into at this particular time but perhaps at another time, but the one that stands out most prominently to me is because of these sermons on cassette I have.

                In order to truly understand this, I must set the stage for you with a little back story.   I had lived in Connecticut my entire life.   My wife and I got married in Texas and spent eight years there.   When our son was born, we decided to move back to Connecticut because it is where pretty much all of my family is and some of hers as well.

                Moving back to Connecticut after nearly a decade in Houston, Texas was very emotional.  It was refreshing in ways to begin again in somewhere familiar, yet also the thoughts kept running through my head of “Why am I going back here again?”   Once you manage to trick the devil and escape from Hell, you don’t taunt him and try to go back there, now do you?

                Everything else aside, my wife and son flew out to Connecticut while my dad and I drove out a van with some of the larger items we couldn’t ship and our small army of cats.    At one random truck stop in Virginia, right outside of the rest rooms on a table, in a basket were these cassettes.

                I picked up all of the different ones I could find, appearing to those who watched me dig through the basket to be on quite a spiritual and lengthy road trip.   I didn’t know it at the time, but I was rekindling my love of cassettes right then and there.

                What is the one place you can still buy new cassettes that isn’t online?  Truck stops.  Because people driving are still assumed to have tape players in their cars, so why not fill those speakers with th greatest hits of Journey (which is really the same three songs seven times)    

                I’m actually not sure truck stops even do stock cassettes anymore, but finding these cassettes, randomly in Virginia, it just will always remind me of a transitional time in my life that was both happy and tragic.  It was everything that went along with having cassettes in my youth to once again having them now.  

                If I knew then they’d become so symbolic, I probably would have taken a picture of the basket they were in or at least remembered what rest stop they came from along the highway, but alas, that is a story to either be told another time or never again. 

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