Friday, May 8, 2009

Loving This American Life

For the past couple of years or so, I've been a pretty diehard fan of This American Life on NPR (along with, apparently, all other "white people"). A few months ago, Ira Glass (the show's host) announced on the weekly show that they were going to be doing a live taping in New York City and were going to broadcast it via satellite to theaters all across the country. On one day only. And what one day might that be, you ask? None other than April 23, my very own birthday. So, although it would've been an ideal birthday event, we happen to live in one of the most happening-est cities (and most filled with "white people") in the country, so the show was sold out weeks in advance, and we didn't get tickets in time. Ira felt our pain, apparently, because he scheduled an encore showing for two weeks later.

So, last night, we got to go watch Ira Glass (along with Mike Birbiglia, Starlee Kine, Dan Savage, Joss Whedon, and others) on the big screen. It was awesome. It brought laugh-aloud laughs and real tears and respectful awe--everything one would want from a top-notch episode of This American Life. You can listen to most of the show here.

But this whole evening also made me want to finally write a blog post about another TAL segment that I listened to a few weeks ago and wanted to share. In this six-minute segment, Starlee Kine, one of the producers of the show, talks about how hard it is to become close friends with people as you get older, and about one solution a coworker of hers came up with. Listen to it here:



What do you all think about this? The reason it made such an impression on me, I guess, is just because it's so honest about this problem of making friends as an adult. And it's something I think about a whole lot, but not something other people seem to talk about all that much. As I move farther away from the late night talks of dorm hallways, I wonder how people find the time and energy to get to know each other--to really get to know each other--well enough that essential properties get conveyed? How can I be close with someone if they don't know where I've been, who I am, who my family is, what I need from others, etc.? This tape thing really seems to have something going for it. And yet, I can't imagine actually doing it with that many people. What can be our stand-in for the tape? How to build friendship, from the beginning?

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