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Mystery Radio

by Tom Faschingbauer


Thomas Faschingbauer, Ph.D. is a retired medical psychologist in Houston, TX. He served on the faculties of Duke University Medical School, the University of Texas Medical School, and Baylor College of Medicine. He is currently developing the field of historiometrics, getting experts on historical figures to complete extensive personality tests on them. His last book was “Personality, Character & Leadership in the White House: Psychologists Assess the Presidents,” with Steven Rubenzer, Ph.D.

I took my car in this morning to get a new rearview mirror installed. Gilbert took it around to the service area and then returned to the customer lounge to tell me he had ordered the wrong  mirror. He would reorder the right one and install it tomorrow. I said that was fine and went out to the service area to drive my car away. As soon as I got into the car I heard a radio station other than the one I ordinarily listen to playing quietly in the background. At first I thought they had changed my station, but when I turned my car radio off, I still heard the other station playing away in the background. 

Oh, well, I thought, they probably have a radio playing in the shop. But then, as I drove off, I could still hear the radio playing softly in the background. Well, I thought, maybe they are broadcasting that station all over their property for their employees and customers to hear.

By the time I got to the first stoplight, I realized that that could not be the case, and began looking for another radio in my car somewhere. Perhaps, I thought, one of the workmen had left a radio playing in my car, or even on the roof of my car. I pulled over about six blocks away and began searching in earnest for the mystery radio. I could not find one anywhere.

To make matters worse, every now and then, right in the middle of a caller talking about the presidential candidates, the radio station would suddenly go silent, usually just after I began searching for it all over again. Am I losing my mind? 

Since it went silent at times, I decided to go on with my errands and hope that it would go and finally stay quiet. Alas, by the time I got to the cleaners, the conversation about the upcoming election was in full swing again. I wondered if this wasn’t one of those rare cases where a loose filling can somehow bring in radio stations from afar.  Though in the middle of having some dental work done, I decided that probably wasn’t the case—I was getting a crown, not a filling.

Not knowing what else to do, I swung around in the parking lot and returned to the mirror shop, pulling right into the stall I had just left. Gilbert and another man came over to the car and I asked if they had left a radio playing in my car. “Come here,” I said, “Don’t you hear that thing playing in my car?” Of course, right then it suddenly went silent again.  They both looked at me like I had gone nuts as they shook their heads no.

I laughed and got back into my car. Just as I put it in reverse to back out again, the mystery radio station came back on. “Hey,” I called to Gilbert, “climb in here with me.” He did and immediately he heard the radio station as well as I did. Now, we both knew I was not bonkers.

We began again to search the entire car for a source for the radio broadcast. We looked under the seats, in the back seat, under the sun visors  and in all of the various compartments. Then Gilbert said, “Have you checked your phone?”

That was it of course! Apparently, while checking Facebook during my wait, I had opened a post with a streaming radio station. Interrupted by Gilbert’s unexpected reemergence, and instructed to drive my car from the service area, I must have put the phone back in my pocket still playing the radio station’s stream of live chatting.


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