I used to give myself a massive case of the heebie-jeebies as I drove between Athens and Pittsburgh when Mrs. Crappy was still in school. Between Marietta and Belpre, there is a series of industrial plants — power plants and chemical plants, mainly — and especially at night, driving by the hulking scaffolds and towers was enough to plant some ominous, post-apocalyptic visions in my head as I drove by.
To double my fun, I once stumbled upon a looped AM broadcast in or near Belpre: a scratchy female voice telling me over and over and over that this is where I should tune if something were ever to happen at one of the plants. That sort of thing also has freaked me out for as long as I can remember — or, at least, since the time I became aware of what those Emergency Broadcast System cut-ins on TV and the radio were really for (The Day After, anyone?). The combination of that voice and the sight of the looming plants alongside the Ohio River was more than enough to
(I found a similar snippet at the end of “Poor Places,” on Wilco’s Yankee Hotel Foxtrot record — a disembodied female voice, repeating “Yankee. Hotel. Foxtrot.” over and over through the torrent of noise at the end of the song — and at night, it produces a similar result, for me anyway.)
And I proceed to freak out all over again.