There are few things in this world that I truly LOVE. Well, there’s lots of stuff that I love, but things I LOVE, in capital letters, are reserved for those which make my heart SING and can make any wrong in my universe suddenly feel right. I’m picky too. Very few things make this list… Jim of course (most of the time), the dogs (when they are being good), hiking, blackberries (the food, not the phones), and well, Radiolab.
If you know what Radiolab is, my guess is you are also a fan. I mean, how can you not LOVE Radiolab? It is pure genius. For those who don’t know Radiolab, it is a radio show produced by WNYC in New York and airs on public radio stations all over the country… because everyone eats it up. It’s THAT good. Radiolab’s popularity restores my faith in humanity.
Anyway, with Radiolab being one of my most favorite things in the universe, and Jim being the best husband in the multiverse, I was able to go to a live show of Radiolab a few weeks ago. It was actually my Christmas present from him. Back in November, during our local station’s fund drive, a perk of donating a fairly sizable wad of cash was getting two tickets to the live Radiolab show in April. Jim scooped that up immediately as my Christmas present. Did I mention he’s the best?
Fast forward several months and Radiolab week is finally upon us. I say Radiolab “week” because the live show was just a fraction of it. Two days before the show, Jad and Robert (Radiolab host extraordinaires) were speaking at the new Natural History Museum of Utah (of which I am a member) and Jim was on that like a fly on cake and snagged us reservations before they booked up (in like 10 minutes). So our Radiolab week started with this brilliant talk by them in our beautiful new museum. Afterward, we headed to Squatter’s for dinner, and about half an hour later, who shows up? None other than Jad, Robert, and the whole show crew! After snagging his beer, Jad walked by our table and I told him that we loved his talk that night. Being the kind sir that he is, he chatted with us for a moment and cheers’ed us before heading off to his table. We practically squealed with delight.
Fast foward to the show, and we ended up having AMAZING seats (another perk of Jim’s donation, rather than regular ticket purchasing). Aisle seats, fourth row. I may have squealed again. The show was called “In The Dark” and featured their typical Radiolab spiel, with the added benefit of actually SEEING instead of just hearing. Guest stars included comedian Demetri Martin, the Pilobolus dance troupe, and singer-songwriter Thao Nguyen with her live band. It was truly sensory overload, in the best way possible. The show was about vision, how eyes came to exist (with funny dance numbers of dancers dressed up as eyeballs), and had some interesting arguments posed, such as a discussion between two old blind men who view their blindness in very different ways. The show ended with a talk with an astronaut who had a near-death experience in space (getting trapped outside his ship in blistering temperatures and his suit running out of air-conditioning), and in the best finale perhaps ever imagined, everyone in the audience pulled out a circuit and battery (that they had given us before the show) and little twinkling lights lit up the auditorium. A dancer on stage was filming it and projecting it on the stage screen, so the twinkling lights were all around us, in a sea of blackness, just like the stars in the sky. There is no way to describe it other than completely enchanting.
The auditorium lights came back on and the show ended, but the magic wasn’t over yet. Another perk of Jim’s donation was that it got us into a suave little after-party with the cast at nearby Hotel Monaco. So we headed over there after the show and got to wine and dine with my kind of celebrities. I think it’s funny that I have worked with so many celebrities, and yet the only time I truly geek out and become one of those fan girls is when it’s these non-celebrity celebrities and I’m like OMG JAD, OMG ROBERT, OMG! I was a teen girl getting hugged by a boy band. It was bliss.
Jim loves Jad and Robert too, but his crush was more on Demetri Martin. A Greek geek just like him, he wanted to go talk to him but was afraid. Enter the wife. “Hi Demetri. My husband is really shy but he’s in love with you. Can we get a picture of you two?” Bam!
We are awkward old foagies though, so we decided to head home pretty early. Walking the few blocks back to the car from Hotel Monaco, I was thinking about the dark and how some of my most cherished memories took place in it. Like the day after I first met Jim, we were sitting out on my back patio talking into the wee hours of the night. The only light around came from stars, passing airplanes, and one obnoxious street lamp down the road. It was while we were sitting there in the dark, simply as new friends talking about things new friends talk about, that I suddenly knew in an instant that I was going to marry him. Nevermind that we were just friends, or that he lived far away, or you know, the fact that I was not interested in getting involved with anyone, or getting married (like ever). None of that mattered anymore. Our future was inevitable. If I knew anything in the world to be true, it was that I was going to marry him.
Fast forward a year and a half and we were on our honeymoon. We spent the first two nights of it at a bed and breakfast outside Mexican Hat, Utah. We had a private shack with our own magical porch and swing. We sat out on that swing drinking wine and champagne, and taking in the incredible beauty of pure blackness. The porch ceiling and scattered clouds blocked the stars, the moon wasn’t out yet. That kind of blackness is not a common sight. How often can you sit with your eyes open, look out at the horizon and see absolutely nothing? Not even your hand stretched in front of you. Camping is the only time it comes close, but it has never compared to this. Strange as it may seem, that blackness was one of the most beautiful sights I have ever seen, made all the more magical by spending it with Jim. Sounds romantic, doesn’t it? In a way it was, but we’re not the romance type. We have a little memento from that night that shows how we really are… geeky. This is a video that makes me so happy, though everyone else will probably just think, “whatever.” You can’t see anything (duh, it was pitch black out), but you can listen to us drunkenly chat about our whiney voices, the lingering bits of my Minnesota accent, and the tourist ogres at Four Corners Monument. In the dark.