Do you podcast?

I've been listening to podcasts like crazy. LIKE CRAZY. The walking, the errands, the cleaning - there's so many opportunities in a day to throw on my headphones and enter my own little world of interesting stuff, fantastical stories, or straight up learning. Non-fiction for your ears! I feel like I could start my own Podcast church, because I seriously feel like it's all I talk about and think about. (I mean, Joel Olsteen is always at the top of the podcast charts, so I think it might be a good angle.) Never mind that silly idea that I should actually be engaging in life in a manner that might be podcast worthy (but only like TED talk podcast worthy, because sometimes you have to be majorly jacked up to be a podcast subject), but you know, can we all just admit that most of us are just ordinary and will continue to be ordinary? See, there it is, my confession: I am an ordinary person and they will never interview me, nor will my life be immortalized as a podcast.

But back to this podcast biz, I feel kind of stupid that it's taken me so long to realize how convenient and satisfying they are - not like the hours of reading blogs that make you want to choke people. (I hereby apologize profusely if you've every wanted to choke me. It happens, and I'm sorry.) I find myself in a matrix of media as I encounter movies, books, narrative, art, science, and technology. How else would I know that saving money habits can be linked to the language you speak? (Languages without a future tense save more. Sorry to all of you reading this in English.) Anyway, let me sum it up succinctly for you: Podcasts are rad.

I've been exploring the vast range of the podcast world and finding everything from French lessons (coffee break french is a great beginners course), to comedy, to the kitchen - you do know that America's Test Kitchen has their own podcast, right? My continual jabbering about my podcast knowledge has prompted Eli to poke around and he is now streaming all kinds of gamer podcasts. See, something for everyone! Although, it's pretty safe to say that NPR has the corner on the market, and This American Life is pretty much my podcast Bible and definitive authority. (Ira, will you marry me??? Cal is totally down with you being a brother husband.) And as many of you know, TAL had a baby a few weeks ago, and it's called Serial, and everyone in internetland is talking about it and listening to it. EVERYBODY WHO'S ANYBODY. Even ordinary people ;)  It is killing me to have to wait a week for each episode. Here's my hierarchy:

This American Life or Serial (they are tied for first place)

TED Radio Hour


Death, Sex, & Money

NPR Radio Diaries

Stuff You Should Know

I find myself eagerly anticipating my alone leg of the walk to or from school to get the girls. So yesterday, I am walking down the high street in busy morning traffic, pink hair askew, mint green headphones, ripped jeans, bright pink lipstick, and I'm completely tearing and choking up as I'm walking because the TED Radio Hour about Growing Up is so so so cathartic. I wanted to stop people and put my headphones on them, "Listen to this!" And then they could have a good cry, and we could hug, and then I could charge them for my unique brand of street therapy. Could you imagine? NO, you can't because that's total craziness, but it's just how connected I felt at that moment to the pain of humanity.

Didn't you want to see me growing up? How about my sailor outfit? My mom's awesome hair/sunglasses/culottes? My brother's sweet adidas shirt? Just your typical white people in Hong Kong in the 80s. And yea, this does prove that I've always had RBF.

Didn't you want to see me growing up? How about my sailor outfit? My mom's awesome hair/sunglasses/culottes? My brother's sweet adidas shirt? Just your typical white people in Hong Kong in the 80s. And yea, this does prove that I've always had RBF.

The craziness continued when I got home and began typing, word for word, some of the parenting segments that I wanted to remember. I'm sure there's probably a transcript somewhere (maybe), but somehow I felt painstakingly listening, slowing it down, playing it back, over and over (thank you iphone controls) to get the words accurately transcribed would somehow ensure that I would absorb it fully. Parenting always weighs heavily on me, but has been particularly difficult recently and I don't appreciate the way in which the rug is often pulled out from under me, just as I think I've got my bearings. I'm sure you can relate. And if not, well, lucky you.

Do you want to see my notes/quotes? Yes, you do, because it's pretty good stuff.

From the Growing Up podcast by TED Radio Hour, here's some thoughts from Andrew Solomon:

"I do worry particularly, all the time, about how to protect my children from some of the kind of difficulty that I went through - it's the problem of parenting that, I think we all know how we would be good parents to ourselves, and we have to learn how to be good parents to the children we have. So my children probably won't go through the exact same difficulties that I went through, they're different people and it's a different time. And what I have to be awake to, is not how to protect them from the exact pain I had, which is easy, but how to protect them from the exact pain that they're going to have, which is much harder to figure out, and I feel like that's where the anxiety comes in."

"You know I think the most fundamental thing is, to deal with the struggle between what you change in your children and what you accept in your children. I think all parenting involves doing both. Some things obviously need to be changed, and some things obviously need to be celebrated, and a great deal falls in a foggy middle territory where it's very difficult to know whether to change it or celebrate it."

"That balance of pushing them and embracing them is very difficult, and I often think of the work of a British psychoanalyst named, Rozsika Parker, who talked about having to steer between the the "Scylla of intrusiveness and the Charybdis of neglect," and I think that's often the issue. How much do you want to hold them back and hug them and say, "it's okay" (which is the protective party of parenting), and how much do you want to say, "you have to go into the world and do things" (which is the other part of parenting). And Parker says that we all, in fact, experience ambivalence toward our children, and that as a society we have somehow glamorized the part that's holding on and we've stigmatized the part that is pushing away - but that good parenting requires that you do both. And what you're constantly doing is negotiating the relationship between them and that the ambivalence of parenthood is often the engine of determining how you balance the holding on and the pushing away."

He also has some great things to say about forging meaning and building identity in his TED talk.

So what I'm saying is, I'm addicted to podcasts, that's all. Actually, more accurately, I'm addicted to podcasts, instagram, and food. But not necessarily in that order.

Oh and PS, London is still cool. Cheers.

Mendy Waits11 Comments