Wednesday, August 8, 2007

autumn descending

The end of every summer breaks my heart. From the summer I fell in love at art camp (I was eleven, but I swear it was the real thing) to last year, when I left my internship a day early so I wouldn't have to watch all of my friends leave before me, the transition from care-free summer to the darkening days of autumn has never been easy.

Standing on third street promenade yesterday, the imminence of ending dawned upon me. As my friends and I walked past carts and book shops discussing future plans, I began realizing I wouldn't be a part of them--their lives and plans would quickly fill in the hole in our social circle that I would be leaving behind. It is the same way at work--not that I'm getting pushed out, but as I start giving my contacts and notes to other bookers and producers, as I begin wrapping up bookings and not receiving new assignments, it's like I can almost catch the scent of autumn in the office. Hosts begin talking about air dates that are several weeks after I leave, and already I have had to say goodbye to close friends at the office who are leaving this week for vacation. We can't believe I'm leaving for good.

As the show discusses stories for its "back to school" edition at noon in the Angeles Room, I sit silently, trying to grasp that this is the beginning of the ending of my summer here. I can't quite picture what it will be like to tune in to Day to Day without knowing the rundown beforehand, without eagerly awaiting the interview I have already heard, without the smug satisfaction of knowing that at the end of the week, the host will read my name along with a list of people I have grown to really care about.

I know that it won't take long for that list to change, for the new, unrecognized names of fall interns to be added. And I also know that I will forget the layout of NPR West, the taste of the coffee here, the names of the streets I take to get to Santa Monica, even Katerina's extension (well maybe not, I've dialed it so many times I think it's hardwired into my brain), and all the little things that make up daily life here.

This September, I will drive my Subaru from Boston to my new internship in Chicago. And of course, I will be listening. I am almost looking forward to the oblivion; there’s something oddly appealing about going back to being just a listener. Everyday I will greet the show with rapt attention and curiosity, innocent to what awaits on today’s show, unaware of the close calls and the pains taken to make the stories sound seamless and the voices crisp and clean on my radio. I really do look forward to it, to staying connected through ears and radiowaves, just distant enough to really see the full effect of all the elements coming together.