I turn on my hometown radio station almost every morning. I feel comforted hearing the DJ’s voice – a guy who’s been on that station since I was a teenager and the only way to hear the latest songs back then, besides going to see bands, or buying random CD’s to try out, was to listen to the radio.
The station had been family owned since its inception, but was sold, or became managed, by one of the larger market outfits a decade ago, when they tried to make the format more hip by adding a morning talk component with one of the DJs who’s still there, and a guy who did a regular sports spot and was a substitute DJ. The new format was a clumsy intrusion, and didn’t change their listener numbers. The format changed back over to the main DJ within a year, I think. I’m surprised it lasted as long as it did.
I’m glad the station is still there. I don’t have cable, or get any stations on my television, so I turn to the radio and internet for my news.
This morning I turned on the radio and was transported back to the days of getting my son ready for school, the days before I woke in terrible pain every day, the days that I still wouldn’t trade for today unless I could be a different person. Nostalgia colors the past in pastels so often. But my life was harsh in other ways. I was severely depressed, single parenting, in poverty, and don’t know how I got through, but I’m grateful because now is better, even if still somewhat desolate. Back then I was assured that life would get better, I just didn’t know it would take ten years…
Radio is quaint now with our smart phones, tablets, and other electronic devices streaming music and video, our mp3 players shutting us out from collective experience. I don’t have a smart phone and I don’t think I want one. I think there are going to be a lot of neck problems in a few years, and I know firsthand how youth’s disregard exacts payment later. I asked my doctor what causes our bodies to break down over such a short lifespan and her answer was: “Walking upright”.
The DJ is bidding his listening audience a good day as his shift ends and signals the shrinking time I have left to get out the door myself. I realize that tuning into this station most mornings isn’t an unconscious habit, but part of my ancestral drive for continuity – for being part of a collective, even if the mode seems trivial. It’s this DJ, this radio station, that has barely changed from my youth throughout my adult years. I moved from Maine to California, and finally ended up back where I started, and that station remained mostly as is while much around me has changed, indeed, while I’ve changed too.
© seekingsearchingmeaning (aka Hermionejh) and Life On Earth’s Blog, 2010 – infinity.