Driveway Moment

LA Wall Art

LA Wall Art

I had a cathartic experience this morning after listening to the weekly Story Corps segment on NPR. Frequently, these stories tug at my heartstrings and this morning’s episode was no different. In this instance, Bill Jones, the first single man to adopt a child in California, told the story of his adopted son, Aaron. The fact that Jones is gay was only incidental to the story and added little to the poignancy of the story, which revolved around the central axis of a parent and a child’s bond. He spoke of his great joy from Aaron’s adoption, the joys of fatherhood and then he told us of Aaron’s psychological problems, which eventually led to his early death from a drug overdose. In just a few minutes, Jones had touched the loftiest highs and the deepest lows of the human condition. It was a very touching story. Then a moment or two after the story had aired the host, Steve Inskeep, came back on the air and spoke in seeming confidence to the listening audience, “Go ahead and take a moment.” His statement was like an emotional exclamation point that doubled down on the story’s original impact. Hours later, still recalling that moment, I’m still feeling verklempt (Thank you Joanie) because of it.

NPR has coined the phrase, ‘Driveway Moment’ when speaking about their stories that are so compelling that listeners will sit in their parked cars, in their driveways after driving home, just to hear the end of a story. Technically, this wasn’t a driveway moment, because I was tearing down the highway at 60 MPH, while I was tearing up because of it. Maybe I was so moved by this story, because in part it is the dregs of February now, where not much happens except that it is cold outside. We get the paper and every Friday it publishes the Get Out section that lists things to do about town this weekend. Somehow fittingly, this week’s lead is the Ice Capades version of Disney’s Frozen. We are expecting a wintery-mix this evening. It looks bleak out, but I still have hope. The Saint Louis Cardinals began spring training yesterday.

Story Corps

Story Corps

Story Corps

Story Corps is one of the largest oral history projects. Since 2003, Story Corps has collected and archived more than 50,000 interviews from more than 80,000 participants. Each conversation is recorded on a free CD to share, and is preserved at the American Folk Life Center at the Library of Congress. Millions listen to the Story Corps weekly broadcasts on NPR’s Morning Edition.

I first saw the Story Corps Airstream trailer parked out in front of the History Museum yesterday, even though it has been there for almost two weeks. What with first being out-of-town for the MS-150 bike ride and then last week’s illness, I haven’t been riding in Forest Park much lately. I passed it yesterday without stopping, because I was booking to make the start of the balloon race. I shouldn’t have worried, because they never start that race on time and this year it was no different. Today, I was in no hurry and stopped to take a picture. It turned out that Trailnet had set up a rest stop there too, for their big end-of-season hammer-fest, the Ride the Rivers Century. Tom and Audrey had been manning the rest stop, but were in the process of taking things down when I arrived.

I was supposed to bicycle with Captain Don yesterday, but I begged off at the last moment. I’m glad that I did, because once back on the bike, I still felt rather punk. Plus, it took me forever to launch. I replaced the batteries in my bike computer and it took me an hour to figure out how to re-sync it with its sensor. It is a wireless device, with thirty-plus channels to choose from. The wireless wheel sensor and the bike computer have to be synced to operate on the same frequency. I finally found the manual online, but even with these instructions; it still took another half-hour before I was successful. Damn, inscrutable Japanese electronics!

In my abstinence, the Forest Park bike path has been completely resurfaced. Most of the path has just been resealed though and most of that still needs restriping. There is also an awful lot of new signage going up. I’m guessing that it will be used to guide visitors unfamiliar with the park to its various attractions. Instead of a conventional rectilinear road network, the park has a series of interlocking circular roads, which can keep the clueless out-of-town visitor going in circles. These signs might put me out of business as an informal park tour guide, because visitors will finally be able to figure out where they want to go.

I love the Story Corps stories on NPR. They are diverse, they are full of emotion and they frequently make be cry. Almost all of them are dialogs and generally at least one of the participants are baring their soul. While, I was photographing the trailer, an out-of-town couple came up to me and asked about Story Corps. They had never heard of it. I guess that they don’t listen to Public Radio. I clued them in, with the hope that they might start listening.