Shortwave Radio and Haiti
There I was in The Collector’s home, enjoying a brew, a home-cooked meal, and Motown. But wait! It gets better.
Eventually conversation came around to the centerpiece on the kitchen table: a silver boombox, circa nineteen-eighty-something. The kind I picture b-boys sauntering around with on their shoulder as they break dance their way along New York City sidewalks. The relic was switched on and tuned to shortwave. The tuning knob was spun until the needle and our ears rested on far away voices and faded music. Each station tuned to a different pocket of the world: Haiti, Eastern Europe, South Asia, South America. Dialects of all tonal shapes and textures – some lilting, soft, and round, others abrupt, abrasive, and sharp. Connected by two antennae to people sprinkled across the planet.
As we listened, talk turned to Haiti and I discovered that my host had lived there for an extended length of time. We didn’t talk much about his experiences there, and I left with unasked questions filling my cheeks.
It was late when I drove home but I was far from tired. My head was whirring, though it was a few days before I could articulate the impact our evening had on me.