In December of 2017, I became close with a man named John. John was a delivery man who drove for UPS. Several days during that month, I’d watch from our picture window as John pulled up alongside the curb in front of our house, scrutinized our narrow driveway that could never accommodate a cargo truck, cursed, and turned on his hazards.
As John approached the house, I readied the packages next to me: Frankensteinian Amazon boxes that I had torn open with relish days ago and resealed with less vigor a few minutes before John knocked on the door. I opened it. John breathed a heavy sigh.
“Return pickup, right?”
I smiled and handed him the stack of packages.
This happened at least four times over the course of the month, and each time I saw a little bit of John’s hope in the world die as I opened the door and handed him my returns. I knew what he must think. At best, here’s a guy who has figured out how to play the system and is getting rich off of Amazon’s merciful policies. At worst, this guy just likes watching me suffer.
For the sake of John and you few who are still reading, I’d like to offer an explanation.
When I’m home alone and Amy is at work, I walk around and think. This, I have found, is a dangerous process. You see, I don’t think as much as I rethink. I decide and reconsider. Do and regret. Impulse and consternation are my major humors, and so when I finished grading semester one essays and clicked Submit on the grades, I began thinking and rethinking about how I would spend the next two weeks.
In other words, what would I obsess about?
There was the novel, of course, sitting there “finished” but unedited. But instead of beat my head against the keyboard, I thought about another pursuit.
A week prior, I had coffee with my friends Josh and Fodrea. We’ve been friends since high school, and a common theme in our interactions together has been coming up with big ideas that we’d certainly do some day (I’d tell you about a few, but then you’d take them. They’re very good ideas). That day, we talked about creating a podcast that takes short stories and produces them as audio dramas. I’d been dreading the idea of putting my work out into the world, and so this would be a way to help other people who might be feeling that same sense of foreboding. Plus, it was an excuse to hang out and goof around.
When we parted, I fully expected this idea to go the way of the oak table (a story for another day) and remain a dream.
Fodrea called me two days later and asked a very important question: “Why don’t we just do it?”
“The podcast. All we need are mics. I can build us a website. Libsyn is affordable if we all pitch in. Let’s just do it.”
Just do it. It was as though Nike herself, in all her divine glory, had opened my eyes. The path was set. Clearly arranged.
All we needed were mics.
So I paced and thought and rethought until I sat down at the computer and started researching microphones for podcasting. I pulled up article after article and started looking for the names that came up most often.
Audio Technica 2020
Heil PR 40
I compared prices and started considering our needs.
Page could require quite a few mics, depending on the demands of the story. This meant I needed either multiple mics or a few with the capability to pick up multiple voices. The Blue mics seemed the logical choice. Along with being well-reviewed and affordable, the Yeti and Snowball offered omni-directional mode, which meant multiple people could be picked up around the microphone.
It was settled. I bought a Yeti. Two day delivery.
I acted, then I rethought. The Yeti is a USB microphone, which comes with certain benefits. It is easy to use, just plug in and go, and relatively transportable. I didn’t want to worry about learning how to hook up a mixer or an audio interface, and so it seemed perfect at the time.
Still, I looked to the dissenters, those who preached the good word of xlr mics as more powerful and easily upgradeable. A part of me began second guessing. If we really were doing this thing, didn’t it make sense to think about the long run? If a USB would only get us so far, were we setting ourselves up to hit a wall in progress.
These thoughts battered my conscience until, two days later, a man (not John) arrived at my door with a box.
To be continued…