There's a lot of very deliberate roughness and lack of polish in the story, though I don't know if that's what's coming across to you, or if there's some other roughness I didn't notice. I wanted it to feel a little rambly and unstructured, because that's how my thoughts usually are, and I was also trying to surprise myself, trying to see what stuff would come to mind as I wrote it. The bit about road signs changing colour in the night (which is an odd side effect of retroreflection, I believe) is one that came to me in the middle of the process.
To be frank, it makes an awful lot of sense to me as an adult, because, unfortunately, it still happens. Among grown ups, especially the more "tribal" minded (and I do hang out with people who fancy themselves as the "indie/alternative" kind), there's this sense that you have to like certain artists and dislike other artists, and some people won't be shy in making fun of you if you don't comply. I see this happen with friends, and it's no wonder that I'm a lot more intimate to those who don't make fun of me (or those who know at which point the making fun can become hurtful). This is one reason why I mentioned the music so much: some grown ups haven't lost the cruelty that they had as kids, and I want to be immune to that. I mean, Richard Clayderman is one of the kings of kitschy easy-listening music and instrumental versions of popular tunes, and lots of my friends would twirl their noses at the mere mention of his name. Yet, my father introduced me to him because he trusted my ear for music, and I listened to that stuff in a profound, spiritual level like no other kid I knew back then. If it wasn't for that, maybe I would have never start writing songs; it's a vague guess, but a plausible one.Totally understand the embarrassment over your taste in music: no, it doesn't make any sense to our adult brains, but it did back then.
On a related side note: my mum has been regularly watching my weekly music live streams, and earlier this week, when I called her, she requested a song. When I was a kid, we had a record from another master of easy-listening instrumental music, Franck Pourcel, and it had a rendition of Va Pensiero from Verdi's Nabucco, and mum asked me to play that. I already know I'll have a hard time keeping myself together when I try to play that, because it's such an honour to fulfil a request from my mum. And this is all thanks to Franck Pourcel.