Saturday, January 30, 2021

Hearing voices

Yesterday I shared an episode of my podcast on my personal Facebook. It was from way back in June, 2007, when Nigel was my guest for the first time. I decided to share it because it occurred to me recently how lucky I am that I have a lot of audio of Nigel, mostly from my podcast, and also even some video. This means that I have actual samples of what he sounded like, and that means I can hear his voice whenever I want to.

Nigel encouraged me to podcast (and to blog, for that matter), and he agreed to be a guest as long as I “interviewed” him. So, I came up with a list of questions and tried to knit them together, and it ended up being more or less coherent. When we recorded, I was nervous as hell, for a lot of reasons, and he was nervous, too, something I can hear in his voice at the beginning. We both got better as it went on.

This was the 19th episode of my podcast, only some three months after I’d started, and the sound quality wasn’t as good as I’d do now, and even my voice control was worse then. But Nigel? He was good, and only became better the longer we continued.

I listened to it Thursday night, and decided I’d share it the next day. In coming weeks, I’ll share more episodes after I listen to them, too, so I can also comment and share insights on them. In this particular episode, Nigel tells some of his origin story, if you will, and that alone is worth a listen, I think.

When I shared the podcast episode, I said: “This sort of thing may cause a tear or two for anyone, knowing how the story turned out, but for me it was just nice to hear his voice and to be reminded of that particular fun time.” Here’s something that I think is an interesting and probably important thing: Listening to it made me feel good, and any sad moments were short. I’m not entirely sure why that was, but it certainly felt more “real” to me than any of the photos I have because it was a living, breathing Nigel talking, and not a static moment captured in one photo. It made me feel all the good things about having been Nigel’s partner and husband. There haven’t been many times over the past 16 months when I’ve felt that without also feeling incredibly sad. Progress, perhaps.

I actually have no idea why I didn’t listen to that or any other episode before—maybe I wasn’t ready? The thing is, the only audio of him I’ve listened to in the past few months was an audio message he sent me by text on what turned out to be one of his last days. He sounded absolutely terrible—sick, weak, defeated, and that reminded me how I felt all three of those things because there was nothing I could do to take away his suffering. I should have listened to the audio from happier days, but I just didn’t. Never thought of it. I’m so very glad that I finally did.

A few notes about this episode: The link at the top of this post will take you to my podcast site, where there’s an audio player (at the bottom of the linked post). Or, you can download it to your computer if you want to. The episode is 46:44 long. I should also note that the comments for that episode were here on this blog (because in those days I didn’t have the podcast site).

Listening to that episode almost made me want to resume podcasting, and I think Nigel would be glad about that. I’m at least thinking about it more seriously than I have in quite awhile, which is—something, I guess.

What was important to me was being able to spend some time with Nigel again, even if it was only through an audio recording from more than thirteen years ago. It felt like yesterday. I also now realise that I can hear his voice from happier days whenever I want to, and that makes me happy.

This is probably obvious, but parts of this post began as what I posted on my personal Facebook. This post, however, is greatly expanded from that version.

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