I love Thanksgiving. It doesn't really love me since unusual ailments tend to befall me this time of the year, but it's still my favorite holiday. What's not to love about getting four days in a row off of work, dedicating an entire Friday to material wealth, and eating your face off?
Additionally, since college, I rarely have to travel for Thanksgiving. I used to come home from school taking the route Jen now takes, but now that I'm living in Baltimore, I almost never have to go anywhere since most of my aunts, uncles, and cousins all live here too.
Two years ago we went up to New Jersey for the day when my cousin's wife's parents hosted. Two years later, that's the plan again. I won't get into details regarding my disdain for the not-so-great state of New Jersey, or how I feel about the prospect of being in the car with my parents and brother for a four-plus hour roundtrip.
Needless to say, it's not my favorite idea that anyone's ever had.
I actually went up to New Jersey Sunday for a surprise 30th birthday dinner for my college friend Alexis. The restaurant was right outside of Philly, so it was only about an hour and a half drive (if you have a lead foot like I do).
I'm really kind of tired of all my music lately, so I decided I was going to try a podcast. Now, I must admit, I'm not as into the whole podcast thing as Jen is. My commute to work is miniscule, and if I'm not exhausted enough to pass out on a plane/train/automobile while traveling, I usually drug myself and fall asleep anyway.
On my short daily commute to work, however, I am a bit of an NPR junkie, so when my friend Carly told me to download an episode of This American Life called "Americans in Paris," I was stoked to listen to it. But David Sedaris's whining about all things Paris annoyed the hell out of me, I never got past the first act, and I never took full advantage of the TAL app I actually paid to download.
A month or so ago, Carly asked me if I was listening to a new podcast called "Serial." Of course I wasn't, and given the fact that I wasn't getting hooked on ANY podcasts, I didn't think much about it when she told me it was about a murder that took place 15 years ago in Baltimore County, where we grew up. A few weeks later, Jen asked me if I was listening to it and said everyone was talking about it. She wasn't exaggerating; it's breaking records. And out to brunch on Sunday morning, a third friend of mine mentioned that she too was addicted to it.
Knowing I had a minimum of three hours ahead of me in the car Sunday evening, I downloaded the first five episodes of "Serial" and happily set off for the Jerz.
Like the lemur that I am, I was instantly hooked. I don't know what it is about the podcast, but four and a half episodes in and all I want to do is listen to more. The journalist, investigator, and narrator Sarah Koenig researches and pulls apart all the details of a case that happened 15 years ago, essentially around the corner from where Jen and I grew up. In 1999, a high schooler named Hae Min Lee was found dead, and months later, her ex-boyfriend Adnan Syed was sentenced to life, convicted of her murder. But many things about the murder don't add up, and there is a good chance his corrupt defense attorney may have thrown the case.
What makes it so good? Is it because Koenig is the journalist I always wanted to be but am far too lazy to ever become (I have a total girl crush on her and I don't even know what she looks like)? Is it because you find yourself rooting for Adnan's vindication, but still can't figure out who else would have done it? Is it because the advertisement for Mailchimp at the beginning is just so phenomenally stupid when the lady can't pronounce "chimp?"
"Serial" is a national phenomenon, but maybe it's more personal for me. Am I hooked because the Baltimore accents are comfortingly familiar to me? (Hell no.)* Is it because the victim worked at the Lenscrafters at the mall where my friends and I used to hang out when we were teenagers? Is it because my ex-boyfriend actually ran high school track with the convicted murderer?
All I know is I'm seriously addicted, and I'm about to be a shitty daughter and sister and put in my headphones and not talk to anyone for the entire ride to and from New Jersey on Thursday. Because I can't. stop. listening. (Or maybe this makes me a good daughter and sister since the podcast will keep me awake, and alternately when I am awakened from naps I am a truly terrible person.)
So if you have a long ride or flight ahead of you, I will add to Jen's list of podcasts to occupy your time and tell you to download "Serial" because it has made me a podcast convert. Then, once you've had your fill of all the sordid details of teen drug use, sex, and murder, you can go be grateful and stuff your faces in the true 'merican spirit of colonization.
All joking aside, we are thankful for you all and wish you a very happy Thanksgiving! See you next week!
*Please note that if you do not know me and Jen personally, we would like to assure you that we do not at all have accents like the people interviewed on this podcast.