Tuesday, December 29, 2009

My Public Radio Debut

I ventured into my old office building today for the first time since January. I needed a land line from which to conduct my interview on WNYC's "The Leonard Lopate Show" (as a winner of SMITH Magazine's Six Word Resolutions contest), and dragging Edith into work on her day off was pretty much my only recourse.

I didn't mind it so much. Over the last year, I'd stood outside the building several times waiting for a lunch date to come downstairs, or picking Edith up after work, and felt a mild amount of anxiety just being there, the context cues of the deli on the corner, the coffee shop across the street, the NYU students and their parents littering the sidewalks, the playground cries coming from the Children's Aid Society...But today, in a brisk winter wind with a chill in the single digits, my eyes squinting at the harsh angle of the sun and my ears covered by muffs, I plodded my way into the front door and the elevator without pause, noting the small changes along the way, and the unusually pleasant, fruity smell of the elevator.

I waited upwards of 40 minutes for the show producer to call me on Edith's work line, legs bouncing nervously as I sat in my comfy former office chair that Edith managed to snag upon my departure. I was sipping a bottle of Poland Spring I stole from the executive refrigerator (reserved for guests only), drumming my fingers on Edith's desk, and flexing my leg muscles as I started to feel dizzy with the growing anxiety of waiting for the phone to ring.

When it finally rang, and I was greeted by the show's host and the editors of SMITH, it all went by so fast. I got to tell one good joke. I made Leonard Lopate, a serious public radio figure, act a little frisky. But they didn't even say my last name and I didn't get to plug my blog or my SMITH username, unlike the winner that followed me who plugged her upcoming gig at The Living Room. At least I wasn't too humiliated by the personal nature of the resolutions that won. Not yet, anyway.

Is it hard to write about your life in six words? For some people it is. But sometimes limitations can be liberating, unbound by rules of grammar or syntax. All that matters is that you tell the truth.

I kind of like riding the pendulum of my life, which swings so severely between one extreme and another: from home shopping host to public radio literary figure, all in one month. These things can coexist in my life, if I can keep capitalizing on every opportunity that comes my way...

The show is archived via the player below. You can hear me about 25 minutes in (thanks to a post-show editing job in which they remove the pleas for donations and other sponsored messages). You can also download the free podcast on iTunes (opens iTunes).*

(Ed Note: Archived podcast no longer available)

Incidentally, independently of this contest and today's interview, I was also featured as today's Six Word Memoir of the Day on SMITH's website www.smithmag.net.



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