"On a long and lonesome highway, east of Omaha..."
Well it was US 20 west of Valentine, NE on a dark day in the middle of Winter. Anyone who has traveled that road knows it is one of the most boring drives in Nebraska - not that driving in Nebraska is all that exciting to begin with.
It had been a late night / early morning kind of day and I was trying just to get to the hotel for the night. I was exhausted and probably should not have been driving in the condition I was in. Being winter, I couldn't just pull over and take a nap on that narrow highway lined by snowbanks.
I am not unfamiliar with road fatigue and had a fair number of tricks to stay alert. Things like listening to heavy metal music, singing the same - very loud and attempting to be in key, getting angry about something and pretending to have an argument with someone about it, and my hat trick: recordings of musical comedy like Stephen Lynch and Williams and Ree.
That night I had exhausted those tricks and was in a bad way. I needed a new trick.
Scanning the rather scattered band of stations, I was able pick up South Dakota Public Radio out of Martin airing "All Things Considered". Robert Siegel was talking about something technology related and, while I really cannot recall what it might have been, my ears perked up and my mind was immediately engaged. (Geek and Technology tend to go hand-in-hand).
The result had such an immediate effect on my weariness that I tend to describe it as taking a shot of caffeine straight to the heart. I was wide awake all the way through to my hotel.
Many of my friends and relatives are puzzled as to why talk radio would wake me up rather than put me to sleep as it does them. I can only explain it by telling them my mind seems pre-disposed to gathering information when it is presented. Even when topics strayed from my core interests, I still listened intently as though my mind was starving for any piece of information to digest.
I still listen to Public Radio on the road to this day.