You all remember a while back when I was tweeting about a boy who was IMing me (I know... straight out of our middle school flirting handbook) and wondering how to drop into the conversation that I have a boyfriend and make it clear that his flirtation was wasted on me?
Ok. Well. That happened.
And even after I mentioned that I have a boyfriend a few times, he kept chatting me up, so I was friendly and whatever.
So this guy asks me what music I listen to when I go walking on my lunch break, and I told him
I was listening to the This American Life podcast. He didn't know what it was, so I sent him to the website. And he said,
"Honestly, that looks kind of nerdish."
First of all, who taught this guy how to talk to girls? Because he definitely needs to retake a few lessons.
Secondly, "nerdish." And in a context where it's clear that being a nerd is a bad thing.
So the next day I'm walking at lunch and listening to the same podcast and just thinking how much I love it.
If you don't know, here's a quick background: This American Life is a radio show produced by Chicago Public Media. It is often the most popular podcast available and was a TV show for a few years, winning three Emmys in its time on TV. Half a dozen stories from the show are currently being developed into films. (Info from their website.) So clearly, I am not alone in enjoying this program.
Each show is based on a theme and will have three or four acts, typically, on that theme. For example, one was on the theme "What I did for love." The first act was a true story of a man and his girlfriend who had been together for thirteen years and decided to go on a break before considering getting married. The second act was about a kid in high school who sold pot to an undercover cop because he had a crush on her. The third act, possibly my favorite story I've ever heard ever, was about a duck who falls in love with a rock. And finally, a woman tells the story of when she dated a man who called her "foxy."
Where else can you hear these kinds of stories??
In the end, This American Life is storytelling. Possibly at it's best. It's real life and sometimes fictitious short stories (like the one about the duck). It's great journalism.
I've learned about the election fundraising process; Dos Erres, Guatemala; counting cards at black jack; and the cost of the Euro.
I've heard the story of a man who lost his true love very shortly after meeting her, the story of a woman who discovered her father had a secret second family, and the story of a man who was almost part of what seemed like a very illegal business deal all because he waved at the wrong man at a cafe.
I was raised to be a curious person. I was raised to care about people around me. And honestly, caring about people around you? Yeah, that's a human instinct a lot of people could foster a bit more within themselves.
I love This American Life because I believe everyone has a story it allows me to hear a few of them.
So maybe this podcast is nerdish, and maybe some people look down on being a nerd. But I want to know what's wrong with being curious and engaged and caring. Because that's what I feel when I listen to it.
To sum up, here's an amazing quote by someone much better with words than I:
Is there anything you all nerd out completely on? I'd love to hear!