My Mom and I have a pretty interesting* relationship. Over the years we have developed what I like to call MDESP, or Mother-Daughter Extrasensory Perception. We regularly find ourselves thinking, saying, or doing the exact same thing at the exact same time. Often we don’t even know it’s happening until later. Happily this ability has in no way been diminished by the 800+ miles now separating us. It probably stems from our endless phone conversations. On any given day we will spend 30 minutes to an hour talking, usually about nothing in particular.
On one such call, many months ago, my Mom convinced me to listen to NPR on my way to work. I have around a 35-minute commute in the morning that can seem even longer when I’m sleepy (which at 8:30 is pretty much a given). Plus I really like to know what’s going on in the world but I’m often too rushed to pick up a newspaper and too overwhelmed by the staggering amount of news on Google to read anything but the top stories. I’ll admit, I was a little hesitant about NPR because I had always associated it with the classical music that both my Mom and Dad listened to on their station.
Then one morning I gave it a try and WOW. I now cherish those 35 minutes of insightful, diverse, and in-depth news coverage. At least once a week I find myself saying “Oh yeah I heard all about that on NPR.” To which about half of people my age respond “What’s that?” Of course the folks at NPR are quite liberal. But most of the time that bias can be ignored, or at least tolerated, in return for the high quality of content.
Recently Mom and I have been discussing another cool thing about NPR…the names. Some of those people have just about the coolest names ever: Sylvia Poggioli, Kojo Nnamdi (although he likes his name a little too much), Yuki Noguchi, Kai Ryssdal…the list goes on. My Mom’s favorite is Lakshmi Singh, one I had never heard because she does the midday and weekend news reports and I’m not usually listening then.
So today at noon I was driving to lunch, flipped on the radio, and heard a voice say “This is Lakshmi Sing.” I immediately picked up the phone but to my disappointment, Mom did not pick up. As I was leaving her a voicemail, she called me and the first thing she said was “Ari Shapiro! Another great name to add to the list!”
Apparently right after I heard Lakshmi say her name, she had started talking about a story done by Ari (notice I call them all by their first names…hearing them introduce themselves to me day after day has made me feel a level of familiarity that doesn’t actually exist). Mom and I, one on the Midwest and one on the East Coast, had heard the same story at the same time – I guess that’s why the N in NPR stands for National huh – and each decided in the same moment that the other one really needed to learn of this important name development immediately. Looking back, we needn’t have bothered with the phone since our thoughts were already in such perfect sync.
MDESP and NPR…what a powerful combination!