Meaghan: Hi. Happy Friday. Did you do your 1 Thing yesterday, which was to cook?
Ester: I did, actually, Accountability Partner! Thanks for asking. The casserole came out nicely, but, I don’t know, a little on the bland side? I’ve never made tuna noodle anything before; I guess it’s supposed to taste like comfort food. Have you had time to cook at all, what with the new baby and your crazy family hanging around?
Meaghan: Ha, you mean my crazy family whom I love and adore in case they are reading this? A little bit! I kind of got in the bad habit of not cooking when I was pregnant, and generally not doing anything because I was growing a human, DAMMIT, so I am trying to become a contributing member of the household again, which is weird!
Ester: Oh, pshaw, don’t bother. You’re contributing! You’re feeding / holding / bonding with THE BABY, to whom you are sun and earth combined. You are Gaia, mother of all things. Gaia don’t cook.
Meaghan: Ha, my boobs are his sun and earth combined.
Ester: Right, one boob is sun, one boob is earth.
Meaghan: Scarily accurate. HA! Okay but my question is why did you want to cook a tuna casserole? That is amazingly nostalgic. I have never made one but definitely ate them as a child.
Ester: See, I never ate them as a child. My mom didn’t believe in that kind of food.
A friend of mine recently completed five months working the night shift in a Manhattan office. This week was his first of working full-time during normal business hours. I checked in to see how he felt.
Ester: How’s it going, Mr. Daytime Man?
Adam: Hello! Yes, here I am. It’s a little hard to focus. Lots of people around. Also the internet happens all day during the day, whereas at night it really doesn’t happen very much.
Ester: #truth.Tell us what your gig used to be like vs. what it’s like now?
Adam: In January I started working here at night. My hours were 6 p.m. – 2 a.m.
Ester: VAMPIRE HOURS.What was that like? Did you chat with janitors? Who did you take breaks with around the water cooler?
Adam: Right, sure. I was basically Count Chocula for our generation. I would describe it as silent and lonely, though actually a pretty good environment for focusing on your work. Also, I figured out pretty quickly to work Sunday-Thursday instead of Monday-Friday, because there is literally nothing more depressing than arriving to work in an office full of people about to leave for the weekend.
Ester: That makes a lot of sense!So what else did you learn, being nocturnal?
Adam: I dunno. I’d always thought of myself as a pretty nocturnal person who likes to stay up late and sleep late but I found working the night shift VERY VERY VERY HARD.
Ester: Explain how!
Mike: “I don’t want your money! Keep your money!” Ester. I can’t get that song out of my head—it’s stuck. It’s from 21 Chump Street, from the This American Life musical that just went up earlier this week.
Ester: That’s hilarious, MD. I haven’t listened to it yet but I’m highly susceptible to earworms so I’m sure that once I do I too will suffer from your malady.
Mike: So, it’s from their live show, and they have a video you can download if you want, and yes, I wanted it. The cost of it was $5, but they said that since the show was so expensive to make it’d be great if you could pay more. So I paid $20.
Ester: That’s great of you! Did you consider waiting to see how much you enjoyed the content before deciding how much to give them in exchange for it? I just signed up for Slate Plus, where you pay the site $50 a year or $5 a month to get upgraded content — podcasts without ads, for example — but that was after years and years of reading and listening to Slate content gratis. Their value had already been demonstrated.
Mike: I decided that $20 was a fair price to pay for something I listen to on a weekly basis and want to continue to support, so I paid it without waiting to see if I liked the video itself.
Ester: Right, that makes sense. You’re not paying for the video, after all; you’re rewarding them for their track record. I have done that too for TAL specifically. (I’m a radio dork.) But do you have other podcasts that you listen to and like and haven’t contributed to, even though they’ve asked? What’s your criteria for deciding which listening experiences to support?