It could be a bias of my childhood, but I cannot do without music. Doesn't matter what the situation is, I need to have music playing in the background.
If I'm trying to fall asleep, I find it easier if, in the background, I have some chamber music playing very softly. Something with cellos and violins soothing me gently off to sleep.
For browsing the net, I'll go to Pandora and pick one of my channels (I usually go for similar musical tastes to Great Big Sea or Big Bad Voodoo Daddy).
For playing video games, I'll do the same, but pick any one of the power metal stations.
Driving, though....well, that's a tricky situation.
When you're driving, it depends on the situation.
By myself, I waver between a few different genres. Either I'm in the mood for some Rockabilly (especially if I'm channeling Brian Setzer or Johnny Cash), Swing (Big Bad Voodoo Daddy, or Brian Setzer, again), Power Metal (Ideally of a European origin here) or Traditional Irish (ideally with fiddles and the faster the better).
However, when you're driving with other people, it really depends on the situation. If you're driving with, say, your parents, you want to pick relatively inoffensive music.
But what if you're with your friends? What happens then? Do you pick music that everyone can sing along with, or do you compare musical libraries? Or, in the spirit of multiple choice, do you pick "C) None of the above"? Often, this third choice, especially if you have musically inclined friends, is the most entertaining.
Here's an example:
In the spring of 2007, two of my friends and I drove up to Seattle for a week in a car that had nothing more than a tape deck and no tapes. We stopped off for lunch at a truck stop in Redding on the way up and picked up 3 tapes: Jeff Foxworthy's You Might Be a Redneck, Bill Cosby's Himself, and The Best of the 80's. Suffice to say, after the end of the week and the return trip, we were tired of hearing the rules of marriage, lauging with Coz, and singing along with Pat Benetar. So, on the way home, since it was one of my compatriots' birthdays that day, my other friend and I sang happy birthday to him from halfway through Oregon to just north of Sacramento but, and this is the clever bit, we kept forgetting his name and branching off into different songs.
Feel free to leave your comments below about what music you like to listen to (even if it's nothing but the soundtrack of your car's motor and the wind whistling) and let us know why. In the meantime, drive safe.