Last night, just after midnight, I put this up on Facebook as my little hi to any night owls (and residents outside the Americas) out there who might be listening and thinking about unplugging, disconnecting and digital fasting — or in 60s terms, tuning out, turning off and dropping Klout.
Turns out a lot of people were. Among the folks sharing it: the Zeeburg Canoe Association (do I have that translation right?) in the Netherlands! As far as my limited Dutch can tell, they aren’t saying “Egads, is that what he thinks a kayak looks like?” so I’m going to take that as an endorsement of my watercraft portraiture skills.
That limited Dutch, by the way, comes courtesy of Radio Nederland’s shortwave service. When I was a kid, I sent away for their Dutch by Radio course; they sent me a few of those floppy 45 RPM records and a workbook. My work ethic (and the City of Gloucester’s baffling refusal to adopt Dutch as their third official language) meant that I got through about three lessons before throwing in the towel.
Their English-language service closed two years ago. I can understand the decision. But it saddens me to think the friendliest English-language voice on the shortwave spectrum has fallen silent.
I loved shortwave listening, particularly because it really was conversational. So many stations would read letters online and reply to them, and they fostered a genuine community among their listeners.
Human connection comes in many forms: face-to-face conversations, handwritten missives and 140-character updates are just a few.
So this summer vacation, disconnect completely; post to Instagram once every three minutes; schedule Facebook breaks — whatever. Do what works for you. And if it does work for you, don’t let anyone tell you you’re doing it wrong. (Right: including me.)