Posted by: Kate | August 26, 2008

Play that Funky Music, White Boy

Willem and I had a brief discussion last night, in which we discovered that we have complete opposite views on a deeply sensitive and critical issue:

Who gets to determine the music, when two adults are traveling by car?

He says that it should be the navigator’s prerogative.  I’m not sure what his logic is, but rest assured there must be some, somewhere.

I say that the navigator/passenger can read, knit, look out the window, do crosswords, get poked at by children, and any number of other activities, but the driver can only be looking out the front window and, well, driving.  And as such, the driver should be able to choose the music (which it is then the navigator’s job to make happen, assuming that “make it happen” requires anything other than the poking of an iPod).

You’re married almost eight years, you think you know someone, and then this rolls along.  What-ever.

What’s the policy in your house?


  1. Definitely, DRIVER’S choice. 🙂

    Or, if you ask my husband – the owner of the car gets to choose – so if we’re in his car, HE gets to pick even if he’s not driving. I don’t agree, obviously. 🙂

  2. Driver takes all on this one. This may be because I usually drive (B has a notoriously bad sense of direction…he could get lost going to the grocery store) and I am adept at getting what I want!

  3. Driver rules in our house.

  4. Our rule is no sports radio, but no top-40 either (he likes sports, the boyz and I like top-40). So we usually compromise with classic rock.

  5. We try to find a compromise, regardless of who’s driving and who’s passenging. We try not to irritate the others in such a confined space. I don’t listen to audiobooks or classical with The Man or The Girl in the car. The Man doesn’t listen to C&W with either The Girl or myself in the car. The Girl doesn’t listen to that screaming shit with either of the adults in the car. We can usually agree on classic rock & blues between the 3 of us. The Girl and I have a wider tastes than that though and include (but not limited to – and totally dependent upon our mood) disco, mariachi, funk, techno, zydeco, klezmer, reggae, and a playlist I lovingly refer to as “Drankin’ Music.”

  6. My husband doesn’t drive…native NYC boy- doesn’t even know how to turn the car on. He tries to control the radio when we go on long trips…but he tends not to like it when I start to nod off so, that usually results in us listening to whatever I want. 😉

    (I’ve learned how to get control of the music situation!)

  7. I never thought about it before – but usually driver gets it – or who has the bigger headache.

  8. Driver gets to choose, since they usually cannot wear headsets in many states.

    Navigator gets iPod and a good set of ear phones, preferably noise canceling.

  9. Ed usually does the driving when we go somewhere together, because I have a way with crashing cars. I usually let him pick the music, which is usually some Greatful Dead or Jerry Garcia Band pic. I don’t have any illusions of being able to listen to anything but Thomas and his ceaseless questioning.

  10. Usually the driver..that is usually me. If the kids are too anoying I ma toss in one of their CD’s for ONE ROUND then back to the “gown up” tunes. We have XM in our cars for now and we have agreed on No Shoes Radio on Channel 18.

  11. Depends on who’s in the car. The general rule is “driver’s choice,” but when it’s just me and Miss Priss, we flip around a lot and settle on something we both like.

  12. I have taken many road trips with family and friends and I say driver’s choice because they are the one that needs to stay focused and it should be all about keeping them happy.

    My husband and I don’t have to argue over this one though because he is deaf, so I always get to choose when I’m with him.

  13. In our car, driver usually rules. But I have a limit on the amount of Grateful Dead music I can tolerate before threatening to fling myself out of a window. So I do hold veto power.

  14. I am the Fat Controller! And the driver!

  15. Shot Gun controls the media.

    However, Driver has full VETO powers.

    When it’s just me and the kids, it’s whatever keeps ’em quiet for the longest time possible.

  16. if it’s Dan and I , it’s usually me, regardless of driving status. However, I do allow him to choose the CD…it just happens to be from my CD book 😉
    If my iPod is on and I’m driving with someone else in the car, I give them fast forward priveleges, unless they FF through Dar Williams…then they are summarily taken away. My theory behind this is, it’s my iPod, I like everything on there, so I’m ok if you ff through something you don’t…

  17. Whoever owns the car gets the choice. I usually drive my car which means I pick. We generally use my car to go places as his truck is a shitbox so I almost always get to choose (even if he’s driving).

  18. I feel like a total diva saying this, but I always get to choose, whether I drive or not. When I’m the passenger, I try to make a contribution by making sparkling, witty observations. With varying results.

    But your post title made me laugh, because that is the only song my two year-old wants to hear–I blogged about it the other day:

  19. This says way too much about my personality, but in any car in which I am riding or driving, I have control of the music. Unless I am feeling generous, in which case I will let Shane control the music IF we are in his car and he is driving. As a kid, I was known to crawl from the back seat in between the front seats in order to change the radio station. I hate being in the car with crap music playing.

    I’m horrible. And apparently really spoiled.

  20. Our policy is “Whoever calls it first”. If one of us has a musical desire, we make the request of the other, which the other has the right to refuse.

    Typically, you get an hour at a time of your choice of music, or about one album’s length. Then it’s the other person’s turn, although they may politely refuse and turn the choosing back to you.

  21. Oh, if there’s a disagreement, definitely the driver! If I play music my husband doesn’t like for too long, he knows he can scare me into putting something he’d like on by starting to yawn loudly and comment on how *bored* and *sleepy* he’s getting. Nobody wants a sleepy driver, right?

  22. We start out with public radio, which we both like, then alternate CD’s. It sounds fair, and mostly is, but not when he puts in CD with 30 or so songs he’s downloaded and half of it is whine and drone country, which I hate. The big dispute comes when I suggest silence. He just doesn’t get it.

  23. Driver rules. Always.

  24. Driver picks, but passenger has a bit of veto power.

  25. We’re the opposite as you guys. Bobby says it’s up to the driver … for the very reasons you outlined already. I say it’s up to the navigator, but that’s only because I’m usually the navigator when we’re together. 😉

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