Anything You Ever Wanted to Know

So I have lived in north Texas for over a year now. I am pretty observant and have noticed a few characteristics about the Texas I have come to know.

1. There are so many birds in the winter time. Makes sense though, birds fly south. They come here!
2. People dress real fancy here.
3. It gets warm, really warm.
4. The food is incredible. Everything I have ever eaten here is/was delicious. Fun fact: Dallas has more restaurants per capita than any other city in the U.S. It's hard to believe, but I did little google search to find the facts and was pleased with this article.
5. There are many, many freeways.
6. For as crowded as the metroplex is, it is quite inexpensive to live.
7. There are tons and tons of churches.
8. The people are real nice. And I can prove it.

I always think it's a little odd when someone says, "The people in France are mean." Or, oh "The people in Minnesota are so kind." I always think to myself, "How can you generalize a region to decide if they are kind or not?" As tourists you are typically exposed to people in the service industry, so it would make sense that when you're traveling, you think people are pretty nice.

Well I listen to NPR pretty much every time I'm in the car, and I particularly enjoy the episode called "Anything You Ever Wanted to Know." It is a local show that you can call or email on Friday at noon and ask a question or answer someone else's question. It can be about anything. Usually it is geared towards something someone is looking for in the region, like where to buy a certain type of meat or tea, or what that random warehouse manufactures at the corner of George Bush Turnpike and the Dallas North Tollway. But sometimes people call in and ask random questions, like what would happen if one of the presidential candidates died this week. Would the party replace them with someone else before the election?

The point is, you can ask anything. I love listening on Fridays during my lunch break because I learn so much about my neighborhood. Plus, I think there is something fascinating about not knowing what each caller is going to say, if they have a question or answer and what random tidbit they might share.

So this week, I was driving around during my lunch break looking for a place that had early voting. I was listening to "Anything You Ever Wanted to Know" and I decided to call in. I will admit, it was frustrating. I called in 2 times and got a busy signal. I called in a third time and it just rang forever. And then I decided to call one more time, and I finally got an answer! The lady put me on the line and asked me to turn down my radio while I listened to the show from the phone. I could hear the host chatting like we were just having our own little phone call. I waited as 3 other people asked questions and then it was my turn. I got really nervous. I have never called in to any radio show and suddenly I was all tongue-tied. I said that I was new to the area and that I wanted to participate in a choir. Not a church choir, because I already have a church and commitments on Sundays. But I said I would love to participate in a community choir that performs holiday music and maybe even a "Messiah" performance. The host thanked me for my question and I was off the air.

By the time I had finally asked my question, I was back to work and ready to go back into the office. Luckily, I was able to stream the show live on my headphones at work. I was delighted when someone called in and said, "Yeah Jeff, I have an answer for the young lady looking for a choir." He went on to suggest a Baroque Society that I could join and how it would be a great experience for me. At the end he said, "I hope she finds what she is looking for, best of luck to her."

I literally dropped my jaw. I was just in shock that some kind old man stopped what he was doing, called the station, waited until they finally were able to get him on the line... just so he could tell me about a choir. It was pretty much like Christmas morning listening to the rest of the show. FIVE more people called in. FIVE. And two people emailed suggestions. At one point there were 3 calls right in a row that were all choir suggestions for me. One guy was calling about his own choir and he said, "We would just love to have her."
I literally teared up listening to their answers. I couldn't believe that people would actually take the time to stop and share something they know. I also appreciated that most of them referred to me as "the young lady." I quite like that title.

So although I have not joined a choir as of yet, I feel pretty grateful for a community and for random people who want me to be part of theirs. It was just so random and so kind. These strangers that I don't know did something nice out of the goodness of their heart. They took the time to answer my question.

I remember my first time going to New York City. I was a wide-eyed teenager. My sisters and I had separated from the family to take our own little excursion on the subway to find the Guggenheim. We came out of the subway and tried to figure out which way we should go. We were all huddled around a map trying to figure out which way was north, when a woman came up to us and said, "Hey, are you guys lost? Could I point you in the right direction?" I was shocked. All I had heard about New Yorkers was that they were impatient and in a hurry, so don't slow them down. But this woman was so nice and we didn't even have to ask! That little moment made quite an impression on my teenage world, and I ended up using it as an example in every Good Samaritan lesson that I had in seminary and sunday school.

I think its the same feeling that I get every time I read an online forum. I know that some people get paid to answer questions on some of those yahoo forums, but for the most part- it's just people sharing what they know to other people. Yelp reviews, apartment ratings, ideas to get your ears to pop after a change in altitude, cleaning suggestions, etc. It's great.

So to all those random people who help me out, even though they don't me- thank you, thank you.



emily snyder said...

i love this story. and love that you recorded. more than that, i loved being with you this weekend. i miss you lots. i miss the quiet moments and the moments of conversation and hearing about your life. i love you.

melimba said...

man, you are good at this whole writing thing... and recording mentally experiences you've had. I had totally forgotten about that lady in NYC.

I love that you called into the radio show. It kind of reminds me of Sleepless in Seattle, but even better.

Good work.