COLUMN: Soggy holiday rekindles love of radio

Reporter's Viewpoint

This year my vacation fell on those horrible two weeks in July where it seemed to do nothing but rain.

But since I’m a glass half-full kind of person, I try to remember all the good things I did during my time off – when I wasn’t staring out the window wondering if I had somehow been transported to October.

For one, I was still outside despite the rain. The cooler weather made mountain biking more comfortable, especially on those days I decided to wear all of my protective armour.

Thunder storms in the Cariboo – my husband and I went to my grandpa’s cabin on Green Lake for part of our time off – are always impressive, especially when you have a waterfront view inside a cozy cabin with the fire going.

And while we didn’t do much swimming this year – jumping into the water was a frigid, body-numbing experience – I was able to go for a jog in the afternoon without overheating.

Probably the most important benefit of the cool and wet weather was I didn’t feel the pressure to be out enjoying the sun since there often wasn’t any, and I actually allowed myself to relax and sit back with a good book.

I also re-discovered an old love of mine – talk radio.

I grew up listening to CBC’s Radio One at the Green Lake cabin. My grandparents usually put it on during the day and when my brother and I weren’t outside we listened while playing card games or just relaxing (the cabin doesn’t have TV or even a telephone).

The stories told on Radio One vary a great deal and are told by listeners themselves.

Sometimes the funniest part of a story is how a person tells it in their own words. This gets lost in most conventional news stories in the interest of keeping the story succinct.

I love Radio One programs like Out of Their Minds, which looks at new ideas and inventions and the masterminds behind them, Quirks and Quarks and Definitely Not the Opera.

During my holidays, I heard everything from a researcher’s account of having a great white shark jump into her boat to a man who invented an upright coffin that is screwed into the ground.

There’s something magical about listening to stories, although I hardly ever take the time out of my hectic life to do much of it.

As the disembodied voice – the interviewee – describes the scene, your imagination takes over. You start to picture the person who is talking as well as the thing or event they are describing by listening to their accents or their tone of voice.

I admire those CBC interviewers for the way they can keep the conversation going and moving forward so smoothly.

A couple of times, I stopped chopping vegetables or scrubbing the kitchen sink and would just sit down and listen to appreciate a particularly good story.

The sound of a person telling a story is calming, unlike the radio stations I usually listen to, which either play upbeat music or have an enthusiastic announcer spouting off about the latest thing Lindsay Lohan did.

It helps you to relax, rather than rev you up, and you often learn interesting things to boot.

If you haven’t tuned in before, it’s never too late to start.