I remember warm summer nights when I would press the radio up close to my ear and turn the dial trying to pick up distant stations. It was like traveling. I could get WOAI out of San Antonio and WLS in Chicago.
Before the dial got so crowded, you could pick up a lot more stations. In Texas most of those seemed to emanate from the south or the midwest. I don't recall picking up much from the west.
Turns out this practice of listening for distant stations actually has a name: DXing.
I guess I thought about this because right now I feel like I'm not picking up all the signals clearly. I'm tuning and tuning and just getting a lot of static.
I have a mean cold, I'm stressed and tired, and broke and frustrated, and feeling a little isolated. My circle has always been small by design, but right now I think I'm feeling particularly far away from everything.
The first time I was ever in Arizona was on a western road trip. On the eastern border after leaving New Mexico via Interstate 40, there's not really much of anything. I remember waking near sunrise to a strange, surreal, spare pink-orange environment. My brother was driving and had a look of wonderment on his face. "Welcome to the moon," he said, and pointed at the radio dial. He had set it to search for a radio station. It cycled endlessly across the dial looking for a signal. Spinning, spinning, spinning, spinning, spinning. Where the hell were we?
That's kind of how I feel right now.