one of the truly remarkable things about living in front of a soybean field and across the street from a bayou is the seeming void of space and time. a car that seems only a hundred yards away on the highway is actually four miles away. a trip to check the mail means not only opening and closing the post office box, but having a fifteen minute (on the low end) conversation with the post mistress and local gossip columnist. the attempt to gain internet and television access, while only a phone call away in more metropolitan pockets of america, is in fact a ten day process calling providers, holding, price calculating, holding, home visits by technicians, appointment scheduling, holding, and installation. did i mention wasp stings? sorry, elder.
despite what was my version of the never-ending story, the nothing didn't capture us. we have been reconnected to all things sports, news, and true blood. but, there is one mode of technology that rises above the inconveniences of rural life: am radio. email can be iffy out here, but brian fisher's rants about all things anti-america come through crystal clear on the radio dial. both of three dog night's hits can be heard on repeat any time day or night. pure am gold. and you can decide if you'd like to trade your old kitchen cabinets for someone's riding mower when they offer it up on the swap shop (or whatever call it where you probably don't live). take that craigslist.
i experienced the glory that is am radio not too long ago. and while this wasn't my first rodeo with fm's little brother, it was the most remarkable radio encounter i've ever had. it wasn't a "war of the worlds" remarkable. i didn't drive my car all the way to the coast to avoid the alien invasion in orson welles' head, but i did hang on every sound from the spanish language broadcast of the 2010 world cup final despite the fact that i only understood proper names like "David Villa," "Iniesta," more obvious words like "gol," and guttural noises.
i was making the drive back from louisville and had begun listening to the game in english on espn radio. needless to say this broadcast made soccer as boring as most americans think it is, but that all soon changed. as i neared the tennessee-mississippi border and the last minutes of regulation, i lost the station. i couldn't find another for about ten minutes, but i stumbled upon a spanish language station, and it was obvious that they were covering the game. i thought to myself, "self, you can either listen to the game in another language, call biz and see if she'll record it, but you'll know the outcome by the time you watch it, or listen to brian fisher." i took door number one.
i'm not sure if the announcers were actually at the game, in the middle of a street brawl, or somewhere making up the story as they went along, but wherever they were, it sounded like they were on a roller coaster made of vuvuzelas. if they were in fact at the game, they did were most certainly not in a booth nor in a seat. i think they were wandering the stadium with a handheld mic and a satellite.
in addition to the noise, the announcers were the odd couple of radio. one announcer was actually explaining the events of the game while the other offered the wanderings of his brain in a stream of consciousness. for all i know he was spewing profanity-laced tirades about misplaced crosses or lazy defense, but despite my lack of fluency in spanish, i am certain, however, that he was not positively contributing to his partner's work, only furthering my assumption that they were actually in the crowd while broadcasting.
even though it was incoherent and not the least be cohesive, these men let their passion for the game through with every breath. their broadcast was hands down the most entertaining and engaging radio program i have ever heard. absolutely nothing happened in the game except a lot of tripping, fouling, nervous playing, and one goal nearly two hours in to the game. i honestly thought they had seen a dinosaur eating a woolly mammoth while riding a sabertooth tiger wearing ice skates, jesus, or that barack obama had been elected for the first time again when iniesta scored. the speakers in my car are old and sometimes ineffective, but the noise they carried was deafening. pure unadulterated joy. you know that moment in every cheesy sports movie when the team wins the big game and everyone hugs to a john williams score? this was not that. this was that dinosaur situation on that rollercoaster of vuvuzelas.
and because of these two men, i was reminded of the power of am radio. it so often gets lost and forgotten. it's now the primary home for conservative talk radio and church broadcasts, but when you live farther away from a grocery store than you've ever lived from a college campus, you'll take whatever you can get.
thank you, rural america for keeping am radio alive.
photo from momento24