Once upon a time, while driving home to North Carolina from Washington D.C. where I had moved for work, I stumbled upon a radio show in the car to keep me company. It was called This American Life. As far as obsessions go, I had just found mine.
Something about Ira Glass’s voice and his concept of piecing together stories on a singular theme in each episode seemed so revolutionary and witty to me that it literally changed the way I observed the world. Suddenly everyone and everything seemed to exist in layers, often with a funny undertone if one was just willing to uncover it.
I have too many favorite episodes (many of which are from the early years) and 24 hours at the Golden Apple is one of them. The Golden Apple is a real 24-hour diner in Chicago (it still exists) and this episode is a combination of mini interviews with the customers who showed up in a one 24-hour span. If there was a perfect combination of pointless and profound, this episode is probably it.
When I moved to Chicago in 2010, would you believe that one of the highlights – beside that little thing about starting a life as newlyweds in one of the most beautiful cities in the world – was that I would get to go to the Golden Apple whenever I wanted. And the way I celebrated leaving the city years later (to move to Raleigh, NC) was eating a late-night meal at the diner with some of my favorite Chicago friends.
I haven’t thought about that moment in so long until last night when I stumbled upon the stats on this blog and noticed that this post I had written about The Golden Apple was getting a lot of hits. There was no earthly reason for it except may be that the Universe is telling me that I have been so lucky in life in the people, cities, and yes, even radio shows, I have discovered.
For old time’s sake, I listed to that episode again last night before bed and felt all warm and fuzzy.
So I have to ask … are you a fan of This American Life? What is your favorite episode?