My fitbit tells me it’s 5:30. “Wow! I slept in,” I think, but the analog clock on the kitchen wall counters. Last night daylight savings time began, and it’s “really” 4:30.
When I was teaching, I hated this weekend to the same extent that I embraced that extra hour in the fall. My morning, which I love, was an hour shorter. I happen to enjoy the dark before dawn, that gradual awakening. Stars, bright Orion overhead—if I’m honest, the only constellation I can consistently recognize that has followed me in my move West—lift my heart and my gaze.
It was spring 2014 when trapped in the malaise of this very phenomenon, I accidentally found Serial on npr. Late to the party, I was looking for anything to distract me. An npr email led me to Sarah Koenig’s exploration of the conviction of teen Adnan Syed for the murder of a female classmate when he was in high school. It was probably noon when I started, (almost typed “watching”), listening. My husband arriving home, the familiar sound of the opening front door at 5:30, found me on my knees, rotating languidly back-and-forth in the office desk chair, still riveted.
An article I read yesterday touts using audio books with students, the power of the spoken word for readers, reluctant and otherwise, to draw them into story. Benefits include tracking ideas, fostering increased visualization, and the list goes on. The cognitive load of decoding is lessened while the process of “movie-making” is heightened, that very thing that sophisticated readers do so rapidly that it seems instantaneous. If I’m trapped in a car I might choose the audio option, but truthfully, I like to read at my own pace—generally faster. My son once told me that he had listened to Cormac McCarthy’s The Road as he drove home from college. Then he said, “Mom, I’m gonna have to read it again on my own. I’m not sure that the way the novel was read is how I should see it. It shaped the way I thought about it.” My exact complaint.
Podcasts are different. They are story-without-text for the listener, a playground for the mind without the heavy lifting, though what npr calls “driveway moments,” sitting with the engine off while This American Life or Radio Lab hold sway are real. If you’re wondering what to do today with those DST blues, maybe try Serial?