The god of small things

The god of smaller things gave me a gift today: for cleaning up my kitchen this evening, I discovered the tiny battery-powered radio that I had given up for lost a few weeks ago.

While in this house, this radio had become a daily link with the world. Our large stereo has trouble tuning in to the weak signal of WLRH, our local NPR affiliate. But the little one does not, and I can carry it around the house with me as I do chores.Through it, I listened to Morning Edition in the mornings, and All Things Considered in the afternoon. I've found their news to be much less sensationalist and more in-depth than anything else I can get locally.

In fact, it's been many months since I've settled in to watch a local news broadcast. Why? They stink. They're sensationalist. There's absolutely no way to get any reasonable depth of local, national, and international news in twenty-three minutes—oh, and to have time to fit in the weather forecast too.

The end result is a boiled-down mumbo-jumbo that isn't worth the time you spend to listen to it.

Through tuning in to NPR, I end up getting nearly four hours of news each day. That's plenty of time to find out about a lot of things going on in the world.

I don't read the local newspaper, either. (The bad editing and typos greatly frustrated me.) I suppose that the end result is that I'm a bit isolated here in this house; I don't know much about what's going on locally, but I know a lot about what's going on nationally and internationally.

It doesn't bother me that much. Sometimes I think I'd be happier if I could pretend that Huntsville and Alabama didn't exist. It's easier, much easier, to listen to the calmness that is Bob Edwards—who is, I think, the closest this generation will get to a Walter Cronkite.

To think I discovered all of this thoroughly by chance, back when I was in college. I was bored with the song on the radio, once, while driving the seven-hour drive to see then-fiancée, Jeff.

I spun the dial and heard someone talking—and I listened, and kept listening. I was fascinated by what I heard—the measured pace, the calm depth of reporting. It had almost nothing in common with the sensationalist who-was-murdered-today news I grew up on in the Little Rock television market. Since the drives out to see Jeff were nearly seven hours long, I was a captive audience. I was quickly hooked.

Ah, the god of small things. It's good to have my radio back. About time, too.

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