Podcasts and Birthdays
Last September for my birthday some friends pitched in and helped me buy an ipod. I say 'helped' because I would have had to have 13 friends pitch in and first I don't think I have 13 friends and second that's just plain unlucky. I had wanted an ipod for such a long time...But it was a superfluous purchase; one I just couldn't bring myself to buy. I love having music with me and trying to pack up 3 CDs a day that would embody my moods for the whole 15 hours or so I was out of the house just wasn't working so much. I broke down. Had I broke down one week later I could have had a 30 or 40G Video one but my 20G white plain one is enough to play with. I'm a simple girl. I started with just my own CDs, branching out to the occasional tune from someone else's own personal cache of music and then I ditched my Spyware program that wasn't allowing me to download from itunes (damn McAfee) and looked upon the new world of independent media. Not that itunes is indy music, don't confuse that last statement. By indy I mean the podcasts. Free media. Normal people talking, like radio but commercial free and advertiser free. Plus it costs nothing to subscribe to one. I listen to soccer news (English Premier League) and Quirky Nomads and BBC news and This American Life and WBEZ's All Things Considered. I don't own an actual radio (not that I was any good at tuning it when I did own one. All I could ever find was Mariachi and rap) so the fact that I can hear things going on infactuates me. Conversely it makes me a hermit because I don't ever have to leave my own house except to go to work or the occasional outing to a cafe. This is exactly what I find wrong with the world. We refuse to connect with each other except through faceless communication. As if by the sheer fact that someone can see our faces we relinquish some of our control, some of our much protected anonymity.
Back to ipods. I listen to podcasts. One specific podcast I listen to is Cast-On. I relish the time I get to sit and knit and listen to someone talk, without having to respond (although sometimes I do). I feel a little less lonely. And sometimes the topics fit perfectly into what I am feeling that day or week. It gives me a new appreciation for what I am doing.
So, Matthew's birthday rolls around and I have no idea what to get him... He doesn't seem to want anything and being almost flat broke I have to rack my brains on how to stretch what little cash I can come up with. He wants to learn Italian. I want him to learn Italian. His grandparents are from Italy and speak broken English and he wants to communicate freely with them. I found a learn Italian podcast, simple 5-15 minute lessons that focus on conversational Italian. That was his gift. It wasn't expensive, a little moment of my time which I hope will flourish into a more open relationship with his culture. And that's why ipods and podcasts and the whole technological universe that I was so scared for such a long time can actually be a good thing.