How to Celebrate National Radio Day
Hop in your car, fasten your seat belt, turn on the radio, and head toward the sunset. Let’s face it, whatever you were up to before this moment wasn’t all that great. This is better.
Your car is your personal anonymity device – you get in and you become no one. You don’t have to pretend to like your job, your colleagues, or your friends. You don’t have to pretend to be smart or confident or likable. When you remove yourself from the context of work, home, or relationships, you’re kind of nobody. Right now, you’re just another nameless driver on the road.
Flip through the radio stations. It’s been a long time since you’ve listened to anything other than your own curated playlists. So, nothing will sound good to you because none of it sounds like the music you already enjoy. Give the radio one last search and give up. Just leave it on the next station you find and hope for the best.
The next song will be a sort of throwback, singer-songwriter affair: straightforward, acoustic, with modest production values. A song you might have liked when you were younger and your musical tastes less sophisticated.
The voice will sound familiar. Turn it up. Listen to the lyrics. They’ll be the usual stuff about love found and lost. Something about a stranger, and the sea, and how one day the stranger vanished, leaving everything they had behind, including the singer-songwriter.
Whatever the song will lack in sophistication it will make up for in pure pathos. If you were the other you, the you who lives outside the car, your heart might break a little.
Turn off the radio. Pull into the next gas station. Ask the attendant for the key to the restroom. Walk across the parking lot through the day’s dying light to what you will assume to be a horror show of a public restroom. Open the door.
A single, bare light bulb will dangle from the ceiling above a decaying stone pedestal. A shiny red button will just from the top of the pedestal.
Wonder what you should do with the bathroom key. You don’t want the attendant to get in trouble for losing it. Turn around to find the door you came in is no longer there. Oh well.
Press the button.
This is our seventh Narrative Day – a post featuring a light narrative that threads through other national days.
Previous entries, in order, were:
- National Fresh Breath Day
- World Lighthouse Day
- National Book Lovers Day
- National Garage Sale Day
- National Creamsicle Day
- World Photo Day
Narrative Days will be intermittently sprinkled throughout the month. We hope you’ll stay tuned to see what happens next.
A selection of Society6 art prints featuring vintage radios.
- Radio Stations by Cassia Beck
- Boom boxes by Brianne Daigle
- Good Morning by Picturing Juj
- Easy Listening by Cassia Beck
- Radio Days by Cassia Beck
- Radio Dots by Caroline Mint
Links & Learning
Let’s learn about the radio.
- Who Invented the Radio? – HowStuffWorks
- Why the Radio Is One of History’s Most Important Inventions – CNN
- Build a Power-Free Radio Using a Glass Bottle – LifeHacker
And, what about singer-songwriters?
- History: The Singer/Songwriter – BMI
- The Evolution of the Singer-Songwriter – MusicRadar
- Top 20 Singer-Songwriters of All Time – LAWeekly
And, finally, gas station bathrooms.
- The Hidden History of Gas Station Bathrooms, by a Man Who Cleans Them – Narratively
- The Cleanest Gas-Station Bathrooms in Every State – USA Today
- “Why does every gas station in the US have a public bathroom?” – A question on r/NoStupidQuestions – Reddit
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National Days Questionable Advice & Information absurd advice bad advice celebrate national radio day fiction flash fiction gas station gas station bathrooms gas stations interactive fiction narrative national day National Days national radio day radio story storytelling vintage radio vintage radios