One of the many differences my new job has brought about is the sudden addition of a commute to my life. Yes, for the past three years, I was lucky enough to live a mere five minute walk away from my job. Go ahead fellow Angelenos, hate me. I would.
But, now as is probably karmically right, I have a daily commute from Hollywood to Marina Del Rey. I thought I’d hate it, but I’m actually finding that I really love having the time to wake up properly in the morning and decompress after work in the evenings. For 30-40 minutes (yeah, I have an awesome super secret route I’m not sharing) every day, I get to be alone with me, myself, and KPCC.
Of course, of all the weeks to start listening to the news on a daily basis, this has been a particularly depressing one. Earthquakes, tsunamis, nuclear meltdowns, military strikes, Charlie Sheen’s speaking tour. It’s like we’re only a few plagues shy of a John Cusack disaster movie. And all attempts to deal via bad jokes aside, it’s frankly, a little terrifying.
And, I think that being alone with the stories, sitting in my car, without the distraction of some scrolling chyron carrying the latest Lindsay Lohan news across the bottom of the CNN screen has really made the sad tales of the people affected by the past week hit me even harder.
Right now, people around the world are dealing with destruction and uncertainty I can’t even imagine. It’s hard not to just get overwhelmed, turn it all off and go back to watching the Dancing With The Stars premiere.
After all, I can donate to the Red Cross or put together a care package for the Libyan refugees, but it’s hard to even know where to start when it comes to processing the scope and scale of all of the stuff happening around the world right now.
Which brings me back to KPCC, and to the amazing work they and NPR have been doing to bring the stories of the people surviving all the craziness around the world to my radio every day during my drive to and from work. Those stories might be scary, but they’re important.
Sharing them helps us share, in some small way, the burden of the people who experienced them. At least in my opinion. And, making those stories mean something — whether it’s a reminder to organize my own emergency preparedness plan or a sense of gratefulness for the relative privilege of sitting warm and safe in LA traffic — well, that’s the only way I can think of to start processing the craziness of the past week. Or at least, start to.