As we spend our days inside, we wait like tortoises to peek our heads out. Some of us are done waiting and insisting on justice, while some of us run like lemmings to the sea. Anxiety and panic have become our societal defaults while we absorb more disturbing news.
And what of these tiny screens burning holes in our pockets? Mildly addicted to yours? Given up trying not to use it all the time?
Listening helps. Ignore the internet for a few days then return by dipping your toes in slowly. Reach out to lost friends over words or listen to what others have to say, when given time to delve deeply.
Human sounds into ears, reminding us of ourselves through improvised conversations. Calm voices are cool breezes in this boiling moment. Passionate voices are welcome, too. They wake us up out of our monotony.
Podcasts are radio shows for modern post-AM/FM life. They include fewer commercials and less urgency than most every other aspect of life vying for your attention right now.
When I listen. I learn about how the brain works and how the body absorbs stress and how consciousness confuses and entangles us. I listen and the stress of current isolation of parenting dissolves and the open, winding road welcomes me as my daughter drifts off to sleep. I listen and I’m relieved of my own weight, my own needs and frustrations. Some people lean on religion for sanctuary, others dive into nature. Others get lost in a baseball season or another on-demand binge. Most of our modern sanctuaries are still closed. Any enclosed space is still a threat. But the sanctuary of a car and a podcast is available and free (minus the cost of powering your car).
The tiny screen which plays the podcast through the car’s speakers tells me that my “Storage Space is Running Out.” I’m endlessly deleting videos of my daughter once I’ve uploaded them to YouTube, which I only do so I can share them with family. But isn’t all of our storage space running out right now? We’re stretched too thin, we’re exhausted, we don’t know what’s next.
She’ll be three in a couple weeks. What will she remember from these months at home? “The parks are closed, Daddy,” she reminds me when we pass by the yellow caution-taped playground. We sneak onto the big kid swings which some teenagers have freed from its yellow obstacle. “I luuuvv swings!”
I download interviews about books and music, politics and philosophy, parenting and meditation. I wait for the opportunity to drink coffee and escape from the claustrophobia of toddler demands and exhaustion. We all need something to look forward to. We all need to dig our feet firmly into the earth. We all need to peek our heads out, if only to observe the lemmings leaping from the cliffs.
“Ezra Klein Show” Vox, Ezra Klein (Politics, Media, Economics, Psychology, Tech)
“On the Media” WNYC Studios , (Media analysis, News, Politics, Society)
“Against the Rules with Michael Lewis” , Pushkin (Investigative Journalism, Society, Ethics)
“Song Exploder” , Hrishikesh Hirway (musicians dissecting their songs, music process)
“Everything is Alive” , Radiotopia, Ian Chillag (interviews with inanimate objects voiced by actors)
“Heavyweight” , Gimlet, Jonathan Goldstein (exploratory storytelling, psychology, humor)
“Broken Record with Rick Rubin” , Pushkin (interviews with musicians on career arcs and process)
Justice in America , The Appeal (criminal justice, sociology)
Soundcheck, WNYC Studios (live music, music process)
City Arts and Lectures, (recorded conversation series, all topics)