January 26, 2005

No Soap; Radio

Radio is special. I love radio. Always have. When the power was out for five days in November I was so relieved to have my windup radio to let me know what was happening, to keep me in touch with the world outside my snowbound home. Sometimes I turn on the radio before getting dressed in the morning, to bring some sound, another person (so to speak) into my house.

My first memories of radio are of when we lived in Richmond, Virginia during The War, those exciting fifteen minute programs that would come on before dinnertime, when all play activities would stop and the neighborhood children would gather around the radio to hear The Green Hornet, or The Lone Ranger. I had a fantasy then that when The War was over there would be no more bad news, just music. No more announcements of so many dead in this battle and so many in that battle. Just music and storytelling programs.

When I was around eleven, my next-door neighbor, Jimmy, was selling chances to win one. I wanted that radio so much I did the Machiavellian thing, I cheated (does the end justify the means?). To win, you had to choose the right name on a sheet of names and the winning name was exposed after Jimmy sold all the squares. I peaked very carefully, lifted ever so gently the cover to the winning square and put it back so that no one would know. The name was Olga, not one I would normally have chosen. So I changed what I had picked previously. I “won” that radio and it gave me so much joy. I never felt guilty. That little white radio belonged to me no matter how I won it. I had my special programs. Every Sunday night I lay on my bed listening to them, looking at that little white radio as if it were talking only to me.

These days, CBC is my friend. People tell me it isn’t what it used to be. But that’s okay with me. It is so much better than anything I had when I was living in New York. I listen to the radio when I am painting. They call it white noise. It helps me not to take my own thoughts too seriously. I once heard that listening to music helps you to learn concentration when reading. I extend that to other activities now. I know all the programming, switch between the various stations in order to hear what I want. (I hop back and forth between Radio One and Radio Two and the French station, depending on the programs.) I rarely watch TV. It doesn’t allow the same level of fantasy mixed with reality, where I can listen and do my own activities. I do love radio.

Posted by leya at January 26, 2005 04:56 PM