Monday, December 7, 2009

How Public Radio Saved My Life

Spend enough time alone in a foreign country (three weeks and counting), and you will start to go a little cuckoo. Stop drinking. Now, expose yourself to only two hours of sunlight.
You aren't religious and you don't meditate.
The closest thing to a spiritual experience you've had is breaking a sweat masturbating.

After three weeks of intense introspection, writing, editing, mountain climbing, hiking, and even a bout of influenza, I'd hit a wall.

Then, public radio saved me.

Don't get me wrong. There's only so much of Prairie Home Companion (one segment and half a ketchup commercial) one can hear before wanting to strangle yourself with the handles of that eco-friendly canvas tote bag you got with your $20 donation-over-12-months.

And last year when WNYC advertised a networking event hosted by Radiolab's Jad Abumrad, I had but one thought:

WNYC Singles Mixer have to be the three saddest words ever uttered in a row.

An angel dies every time Jonathan Schwartz plays music, and I'm waiting for Ira Glass to run his car into a fire hydrant being chased by a Swedish woman who looks like Michael Jackson circa 2000s, so that his closet will finally be emptied of its skeletons and people stop referring to the friggin' "This American Life" segment on the finance scandal that "made more sense than anything I read in the paper." Goddamned limey accents falsely advertise sex appeal to morons who think it makes British news more valid than American news, and I'd pay good money (Euros) to see Jonathan Schaffer and Nic Harcourt face a fire-breathing Jurassic lion in a Gladiator game to the death.

So no. I'm not pimping public radio.
I'm just sayin...

God Bless Public Radio. You have saved my life.

See, it's turned out to be a lot harder to quit media entertainment than I expected. Sure, I've been reading. A LOT. Listening to music too. But it's different when you're totally alone and in the dark. And despite my exile being completely self-imposed, I am no monk. Have no intention of becoming one. I've had five great revelations occur to me in the midst of nature-walks and the like and that's it. I am good.

Even television would suffice to give me a sense of interlocution. But the problem with wanting interlocution without socializing, is that Norway doesn't let you stream any television content online. Not even public television.

And here, enter Public Radio. It's still fair game, and all my favorite podcasts have been backlogging for the past few months waiting for a moment like this: the moment I feel clinical solitude. The moment I seek wholly inconsequential but entertaining information. The moment I cannot curate my own interests anymore. The moment the canvas tote bag actually advertises the radio station to my own self.

Radiolab, The World in Words, Savage Love, and even a little bit of That American Life... all make me feel less alone. (Gay nerd alert in 3, 2...) It's been like my Light of Elendil.

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