16 April 2010
Today, however, I had to drive to Hollywood, then down to Palos Verdes, then back home to Echo Park, then over to west L.A., and then finally back home: a grand total of 120 miles. I was gone from 9am to 7pm, with perhaps only five hours not behind the wheel. I spent so much time in the car I heard some of the same NPR stories no less than four times. I heard about the death and the legacy of former L.A. police chief Daryl Gates for, I’m guessing, a cumulative total of 70 minutes. I heard interviews with British air travelers stuck at JFK because of Iceland volcano-related flight cancelations in Europe (“well, there’s really nothing you can do!”) so many times I felt like I was related to them. I heard 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals nominee Goodwin Liu getting grilled by Senator Jon Kyle (“vicious, emotionally and racially charged, very intemperate”) enough that I now feel like I can friend the guy on Facebook (also: that detail about him not learning English until kindergarten because his parents didn’t want him to have an accent? I heard that multiple times and I still don’t quite get it.) I heard an interview with a woman who lives right under the flight path near Heathrow three entire times. As with the Brits stranded in the states, I was struck by the aplomb with which she handled the interview. Even though it was a fairly banal segment about the “upside to canceled flights” (no noise!) she seemed to have prepared for it as though she were, well . . . Goodwin Liu preparing for the Senate Judiciary Committee. I was struck by the degree of poise and good humor human beings are capable of. I was also struck by how often we forget to be poised and good humored.
And also how often we forget to just change the damn radio station. All the time I was hearing these things over and over again, the Steve Miller Band’s "Take The Money and Run" was playing over and over again on my favorite classic rock station. What was I thinking?