EP 004 - Louisville Library, Part 1
004 - as we sway - facebook.jpg

Themes: dreams of opening a safe space on a farm, a blind date, bad dreams, the importance of music, losing your family photos, making someones day, getting misgendered, working remotely in the library, thanksgiving, crushing on a friend, meme-filled days, the subtle art of goodbye, questioning your own job title, trying new things, wanting to be helpful, and giving up everything and hitting the road.

Written Contributors: 
Sweet Nightmare, Janice, Trouble, Mehra Renn - Half Human/Half Vulcan Starfleet Specialist in Planetary Histories and Cultures, Casey Jones, Isabella Swan, Scarlet, Ginger Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious, Fracis Gables, Willow Scott, BEN DOVER, Anita Reason, Tourmaline, Ging, Ocean Blue, Carly

Readers: 
Felix, Professor X, Kenim, New To Star Trek, Anne, Christina Alexander, Admiral Cornywallis The Third, Anita Reason, Key, Alloy, Phil Chlora, Zachary, CJ, Valmont, PriPri Seabrook, Luca Della


+ CLICK FOR TRANSCRIPT +


Hey Everyone! This is Alex coming to you from my studio in the heart of Louisville’s South Central library, and This is Imagining Other People.


--- Intro music by B. Barbour of Psychic Skin ---

Hellllooo! And welcome to Imagining Other People - a podcast where we explore what everyday life is like all around the world through listener submissions and recordings. It’s basically a strangers-reading-the-diaries-of-strangers type of thing, and yeah I’m your host Alex Serpentini, and I wanna know what you did today!

So It’s the end of November 2017 and I’ve got something really special for you today. This past month I have been the artist-in-residence at the AMAZING and brand new South Central Library in Louisville, Kentucky, as part of their Collider Program. Like for real you have got to see this space - if you can’t check it out in person there are awesome images on our instagram page and on our website. But yeah, I know we try to focus on life all over the world here on this podcast, but I wanted to turn the tables a little bit, so I set out to find out what life is like in my own community and share that with the rest of the world. Um, so during my residency I set up a recording studio right in Library itself and opened it up to everyone. Anyone could come in and chat with me, write something about their day, or record themselves reading the words of another library patron. I just LOVED the idea of creating a mini archive of community life within a larger archive full of books, and an even more kind of wonderful happenstance was that a lot of the library staff themselves got to read the words of their own patrons. That just… makes me so happy you guys.

I honestly had no idea how this project was going to go… if anyone was gonna stop by or what - like mostly what I do is digital so I wanted to make the studio inviting - laughs so I literally brought over like half of my houseplants, decorations, a rug, blankets and lamp and just…. set up a space to listen to what other people had to say.

I was really blown away by the response. I love libraries because they’re like the last great equalizer - there’s no barrier to entry so ANYONE could come in, and I got to meet so many people I would have never had the opportunity to before. I learned a lot about the history of Ghana, about trying to learn science as a young girl in a segregated school, I got to learn about the lives of some of the security guards, about working a farm, about poetry from cuba and sailor moon and minecraft, and just… so much more. There ended up being way more submissions than I hoped for, so I’ll likely have to split this over several episodes! I’ve just…. really happy, honestly.


--- Break 1 music by B. Barbour of Psychic Skin ---

Like I said, this is a special episode but it will still follow the same format as the others. It’s still a batch of anonymously written submissions that are read aloud karaoke-style but completely different strangers. And, that being said, I still am in great need of readers for the upcoming episodes! laughs of course I’ll always love more written submissions too - so if you want to get involved in any way, you can go to imaginingotherpeople.com for lots more information, frequently asked questions, directions, and all that other good stuff.

But enough from me, let’s learn together about what some people are experiencing in Louisville, Kentucky.

--- Break 2 music by B. Barbour of Psychic Skin ---

RECORDING 01:
Hey, my name is Felix, and today i’ll be doing a reading by Sweet Nightmare.

“I am at a stand still in my life. I am between jobs, I am a student, I am just trying to find my way in a beautifully cruel world. I have a dream of opening an Organic and Natural farm. I want to have programs where young adults and children come to and plant, cook, and mainly to survive if anything happens. When I was younger I saw some pretty horrible things and I know a lot of kids in this neighborhood still do. So I want them to have a place that they can run to when they are in trouble. I want to give them hope. I want to give them something I never had: a safe place! A place that is filled with animals and plants. I want to make a place where you don’t have to pretend and your imperfections are just as beautiful as perfection is considered to be. That is why I am going to school, that is why I am working. I don’t get to have a social life and Im okay with that. My life will be better soon enough.”


RECORDING 02:
This is professor X and today I’ll be reading a submission by Janice.

“Today I got back into the swing of things. I woke up (late), grabbed an apple, raced to work, raced home to change, and raced to a restaurant for a brunch date, if that’s what people call it anymore. Again, I’ve met up with a stranger in a public place, hoping for a little happy in my recent blurred life. I’m back into taking chances just for the sake of being a live and living to the fullest. Later, I’ll revisit my love of theater, catch up with some old friends, and return to my mother’s empty home. I hope she had a good day today.”


RECORDING 03:
My name is Kenim and I will be reading something by Trouble.

“I had a bad dream about my brother who is autistic. My family was trying to punish him or something he didn’t understand. I woke up crying and immediately put a reminder in my phone to text him at noon and tell him I love him. I only see him twice a year, but he’s an adult now an so am I and we’re both trying to make our own life. I’m on the spectrum too but in different ways. I miss him.”


RECORDING 04:
Hello, this is New to Star Trek, and I am reading Mehra Renn - Half Human/Half Vulcan Starfleet Specialist in Planetary Histories and Cultures. Their submission reads:

“Today is a wonderful example of the gift of Serendipity. Now that I am old and work 2 part-time jobs, no two days are the same. On Tuesday, I key data, files and do other clerical work in the office of a manufacturing facility. Normally, Tuesday is a 7-hour slog, but today I finished all my work by 12:30pm and came to the library - (I saw that my requested DVD was being held and decided to come get it).

This new library is gorgeous - especially on a November day like this, where the sun still makes fireglow of the leaves, and the generous windows let everything in. Of course, any library is wonderful. I have scarcely stopped reading since I learned, and being around all these fascinating books is pure pleasure. I have managed some self-discipline today; so far I am taking out only one book (The Private Lives of the Tudors, by Tracy Borman), instead of 3 or 4. Of course, at home there are still more books - some ready to be returned, some not.

I saw the notices about this month’s Artist in Residence and the project sounded exciting, and I am so glad I came upon a sign inviting one to drop into ‘The Studio’ in the back. Found it, too!

I would love to be an “artist in Residence” some time, somewhere. I would love to tell stories, or lead sing-alongs. When I went through testing some years ago at a career center, I was surprise dat how wide and deep the “artistic” stretch in me is. When I was a kid, “artist” meant somebody could draw. Later on, it meant somebody who could write things good enough to be published, or good musicians. I was never any of these things. But now I know that my main “art” is worship - specifically put, Vatican II Roman Catholic liturgy. And I have played music and led music and taught music for worship, and if I were a more talented and skilled musician, I probably would have disdained this way of being as a musician. Worse, I probably would never have understood how the music and the ritual move in and out of and around each other, and speak to aspects of ourselves that reasoned discourse can never reach.

I am very pleased on this most golden, serendipitous, November day.

Grace, peace and comfort to all who share this.”


RECORDING 05:
Hi everyone, this is Anne, and i’ll be reading the following by Casey Jones.

“I was overworked, hurt myself over and over and then the only one not invited to breakfast with my co-workers. I get home and realize my tablet is gone. It devastated me when I biked back to work to find it was stolen. All my pictures of family and friends, gone. A bad end to a bad day. I called my friend sad and he came and got me. We went to the peddlers mall where I found a tractor seat for $10. Good find! I was so happy spending time with my friend, I forgot about my tablet. I don’t need things to be happy, just people who care about me enough to be there when I need them.”


RECORDING 06:
Hello I am Christina Alexander and I will be reading a submission by Isabella Swan.

“These past few days i’ve been feeling a bit blue, almost as if no one cares. But today I woke up with a different attitude, a positive one! I want to see others around me shine and be happy. Because it turns out when you put off negative vibes mostly everyone around you will, too. Today I want to smile or wave or say “hi” to the right person and make their day like someone else made mine this morning She showed up and asked me if I wanted to hang out and I was going to sit in and be depressed and play video games. So, today be someone’s “good morning” or be someone’s inspiration. Make someone feel better or have a better day. Sending out positive vibes to everyone all over the world!! Hakuna Matata”


RECORDING 07:
Hello everyone, this is Admiral Corneywallis The Third reporting in, and today I will be reading a submission by someone who would like to go by the name of Scarlet.

“I didn’t have class today. I’m a college student, I’m off today through Friday for Thanksgiving. I slept in today. I feel kind of terrible because of it honestly… Oh well. Don’t change your sleep schedule, kids, it’ll ruin your whole day.

It’s cold today. I suppose that’s to be expected for the end of November. My favorite jeans are in the wash, and all my other pairs are really cold, so I decided to ear tights. They’re warm enough, but the cold wind stings.

The thing that I hate most about weighing tights is the perceptions they bring with them. I’m small - only 5’2” - and feminine. My gender gets assumed enough without me appearing feminine.

The worst part is I like tights and dresses and looking pretty. But I know I can’t go out without strangers seeing me as a girl.”


RECORDING 08:
Hi there. This is Anita Reason, and i’m going to read a submission by Ginger Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious. I’m going to read what’s going on with her today. Or them today.

I am working here remotely today. It’s beautiful here and I’ve been waiting to visit but I haven’t had a chance until today.

My mind halfway into work and halfway into social media, my friends, emails from my yoga friends, my true calling (launching my own awesome businesses) ahhh so much.

Desiring freedom, freedom to be me (more so) and mak e money while doing it…

I volunteered this morning, mentoring. It was inspirational. We did a series of exercises with our mentees on strengths and weaknesses. I know my strengths but have always felt those creative things just aren’t what adults “do” and get paid for.

That mindset is changing.

I’m lucky to have the people Ive interacted with today in my life and lucky to be here and able to work in this beautiful open space in the SUNSHINE :).


RECORDING 09:
Hello, my name is Key and i’m going to be reading for Francis Gables.

“I’m going back home to see my family for thanksgiving. I haven’t seen some of them since moving here. It’ll be nice to eat turkey and watch anime with my brother.”


RECORDING 10:
This Alloy and I’m going to be reading a piece by Willow Scott.

“I keep thinking about a friend I’ve had for 10 years and have been in love with for 5. I got to see her for the first time in a while the other day. We went out to get breakfast to celebrate her birthday, and when she got off work later that day, she spent the night. Eery time I see her it’s really awkward at first because I’m trying not to mention my monster of a crush on her. But, every time, the day ends in tears of laughter and my cheeks hurting from smiling too much. She’s seeing someone else, so I know it won’t work, but I still feel strongly about her. I know she loves me even as a friend, and I’m happy with that. She still makes me happy.”


RECORDING 11:
My name is Phil Chlora and today i’m gonna be reading a daily testimony from mr. BEN DOVER.

“This morning I listened to X-Ambassadors while I scrolled threw memes on the Bus. It’s pretty dark and Gloomy and is about the Equivalent of a Trash Truck. Today was okay, Got some work done, shared memes with friends, after the 7 hours of continuous work and mentally unstable friends I went home and watched my favorite show on Netflix. About an hour later Mother came and took us to the Magical land of McAlisters where we are the most tastful and luxorius food. After a good dinner full of talk and Spilled drinks she dropped me off at the library I’m sitting in now. I have to take care of my brothers, come to think of it she has probably Abandoned us… anyway I have to go find the two smaller demons cuase I don’t know where they are now”


RECORDING 12:
Hello. My name is Zachary. I’m reading something written by Anita Reason.

“today is a reprieve from the hustle of anxiety and juggling of life. being here in this space has allowed my mind to rest. being here among friends has allowed my brain to fire with inspiration. today is one of many days where i have been able to slowly let go. a slight cutting of the cord is a small death everyday, but a necessary step. it’s a small chain of reactions that is building into a pathway that has already been traveled and worn. looking forward to the future”


RECORDING 13:
Iiiiiit’s CJ! reading Tourmaline.

“Today I am thinking a lot about my future. Am I an artist any more or am I more of a craftsman? do I want to make personal work? Do I want to engage with those around me? Am I more of a business person with a system that works? If that’s true, is that okay with me? I don’t have the answers to these questions yet, but they have been on my mind.”


RECORDING 14:
I’m Valmont, and today I’m gonna read something by Ging.

“Exploring Libraries today. This is the third “out of the box” new thing Ive done this week. Life is what you make it!”


RECORDING 15:
Hi my name is PriPri Seabrook and I’ll be reading something by Ocean Blue.

“So I woke up exhausted from a going-away party last night and ran into an old friend from childhood. It was really strange because she lost her job again and seemed so sad even though she was smiling. It broke my heart and I just wanted to take her in and help out and show her all the free resources at the library (the reason i'm here) like free coding programs to help her get sustainable income. I know this person has self-destructive habits so it might be in vain but I still want to try. I have a habit of trying to help too many people who don't want to be helped and getting taken advantage of. I can't even find a job myself right now, why do I keep trying to give what I don't have?”


RECORDING 16:
Hi everyone, this is Luca Della and today i’ll be reading a submission by Carly.

“I currently find myself sitting at my new dining table. A space heater is pointed directly at my face, set to 65 degrees. I pause every few minutes to rub my hands together in front of it, as if it was a fire. I’ve turned off all lights but one, and I’m charging my phone’s battery from my computer’s battery. I’ve calculated the wattage, and I think I’ll be safe to run this space heater all night, but I’m really not sure. Does it have an automatic shut-off? Will it turn off while I’m sleeping, and will I wake up terribly cold? Does the thermostat work without the propane on? I wish I knew the answer to that question but I’m not wiling to risk it via trial and error.

I just ate a portion of chili a friend made me. She put the chili in a plastic deli meat container. I threw it back in the refrigerator because I have no water to wash it with. I hope the spoon was clean.

This morning, I very slowly rose to start the day. When I made it to the bathroom, I saw eye yes doused in glitter. I went to a costume party the night before and I danced the night away, but I forgot to wash my face. There’s smeared mascara and eyeliner too, it’s quite a sight.

I remember the start and end well, but In trying to remember the events of today, I find it’s all a blur.

Four people made me meals and I ate every one of them. First, I had scrambled eggs and bacon. Then, I rushed off to transfer my belongings from one car to another. Then, I rushed to my van and trailer and packed them full. Friends were texting me to see if they could drop in to say goodbye. I wanted to be on the road by 1pm, but I saw that deadline fading quickly. I went to my empty house and found the fence door had been broken in the wind storm. The For Sale sign stared me in the face, but I walked right past it and went inside. What was I here for? Oh yes, I grabbed all of my clothes from the drawers and stuffed them in a garbage bag. What else? I forgot something important and went back for it. I emptied out the garage: The telescope, the boxes, the bag of goodies that never made it to friends. I dropped some of the items off with a friend, and the rest to Goodwill. I made it back to the studio just in time for second breakfast: Sunny-side up eggs, super buttered toast, more bacon. My ex and I took time to thank each other for these past years. We love each other so deeply that we have to let each other go. But, it’s not the end. It’s just the beginning of a new kind of relationship. It’s so hard.

I reschedule drop-ins with a friend, but she eventually comes and brings the chili and tours my new trailer home. Another friend is in crisis mode, desperate for support. I don’t have the capacity, but wish I could offer words of wisdom. I try, but I get cut-off by another drop-in. I’m grateful for these drop-ins. I didn’t make enough time to say proper goodbyes. I start to think about those I won’t see again for who knows how long. I cry. I spend the day crying off and on. Why am I leaving all of this behind? I finally grew roots. Finally found a supportive group of friends.

Recently, a friend explained that perhaps I needed these supportive friends in order to embark on this journey. I hope I have been the same kind of supportive back. I aim to be going forward.

Where am I going? I haven’t even mapped out the route. I decided to take the easy/known route, because my mom insists there are more gas stations… just in case I break down on the way.

I ended up staying in Louisville, Kentucky until almost 6pm. My ex helps me navigate backing out and turning around in the parking lot. Once I’m set to leave, I get out of the car and squeeze him one last time. We cry as we sway. It’s funny how you know when someone’s ready to let go. We do. And, I take off. I go the wrong way at first, but I correct the course. This whole day is an analogy for my entire life.

The drive was far less scary than I thought. I’m beginning to get the hang of driving this rig. I think about how dangerous it is to think of it as an extension of me, but it makes sense as I drive it. I’m cold, in the Tennessee foot hills, but my space heater is doing its best. I'm exhausted, so I’ll try to sleep under all the covers, and wake up to start a very new day. And, continue the journey to Florida.”


--- Outro music by B. Barbour of Psychic Skin ---

Thanks for listening to Imagining Other people. Again, I’m Alex Serpentini and I’d love to hear from you. Check us out at Imaginingotherpeople.com to learn more about this project and how to get involved.

This podcast is an offshoot of the Imagining 50 Other People Project, of which uou can learn more about at fiftyotherpeople.com.

The music was done by the incredibly talented B. Barbour of Psychic Skin.

Thanks, and take care.

Artist Residency at the South Central Library

Hey everyone! Just wanted to let you all know that I'll be the artist-in-residence at Louisville's South Central Library for the whole month of November 2017! I'm literally SO excited to be here with the Imagining Other People project and have set up my studio as a little "recording hub" and  have opened up the space for anyone to come in and tell me about their day, write a submission, or read someone else's writing!  I'll be posting periodic updates on the IOP Instagram, so be sure to check it out. Super looking forward to (and a little nervous, admittedly!) a really great month. Come in and say hi! 

EP 003 - June 15th 2017

Losing your sense of belonging, racial equality training, bravely moving forward, breast reduction surgery,  preparing for a life-defining test, and quitting your job to follow your dreams. 

Written Contributors: 
The Optimist, ET, Harvey Morrison, Lona, Nebraska, Emma

Readers: 
Esperanza, Perseid, Norman, Sea, Harvey, Leah 

003 - plastic surgery - facebook.jpg

+ CLICK FOR TRANSCRIPT +


--- Intro music by B. Barbour of Psychic Skin ---

Hello! And welcome to another episode of Imagining Other People, a podcast where we explore what everyday life is like around the world through listener submissions and recordings. Basically a strangers-reading-the-diaries-of-strangers type thing. I’m your host Alex Serpentini and I wanna know what you did today!



So guys I’m so excited to finally bring you this episode - as you might remember, this project is a spinoff of a 5-year art series I started back in 2014 called Imagining 50 Other people. That project is really similar to this, except each year on June 15th, I ask the same 50 anonymous strangers from around the world to write me something honest about their day using a fake name, so we can check in once-a year to track the progress of several very different lives over half of a decade. At the end of the project I’ll release the collected submissions online, but I thought for this episode we could get a sneak peak of of the entries that came in for this June 15th, which was our 4th year, meaning next year is our last! You can read a few other samples from the previous years at 50otherpeople.com.



Today we’ll hear just a few sample submissions from this year, and they follow the same format of how this podcast regularly works - it’s still a batch of anonymous written submissions read aloud karaoke-style by completely stranger. The next episode will go right back to accepting written submissions from the public, and I still wanna hear from you! You can go to imaginingotherpeople.com for lots more information, frequently asked questions, directions and all that other good stuff.


--- Break 1 music by B. Barbour of Psychic Skin ---

So the submissions for June 15 this year were absolutely fascinating and I had SUCH a hard time picking just a couple of samples. Keep in mind these submissions came from strangers who have checked in with me once a year for four years now, and I gotta say it as the sort of ‘project manager’ for this it is always a little nerve-wracking. It’s like I feel weirdly responsible and want to make sure everyone is doing okay and has survived and is holding strong and pushing forward. Of course statistically I understand that can’t be the case for everyone, and some people I never hear from again, but every time another email notification pops up I’m just like “yes! fight on! you got this!” I have a hard time not feeling personally invested. laughs

So for this episode, I tried to show a range of what typically comes in. Today we’ll hear about losing your sense of belonging, racial equality training, bravely moving forward, breast reduction surgery, preparing for a life-defining test, and quitting your job to follow your dreams. I’d like to first warn that the second submission deals with colourism and racism, and the fourth entry, as it deals with breast reduction surgery, will explicitly mention breasts, surgery, knives, and all that comes along with medical procedures to modify your body.

Alright folks, you ready? Let’s do this. Here is what happened around the world on June 15th.


--- Break 2 music by B. Barbour of Psychic Skin ---

RECORDING 01:
Hi this is Esperanza, I’ll be reading from writings by The Optimist.

"My biological clock is running backwards, sideways, and almost any other “-ways” there is. Perks of a jet lag that seizes to subside.

I think the most honest thing about my day (or this entire phase of my life) is the conviction that I don’t belong.

I don’t belong to my country
I don’t belong to my family
I don’t belong to the traditions of “my people.”
There are parts of me that sit here amongst the festivities of this month and feel so far removed from all that they stands for.
I don’t belong here, I’m in a state of suspended animation.

I have found myself in a constant struggle between connection and disconnection and I am finally that much closer to accepting that this is who I am. A fluctuating soul.

I type this and I’m pondering how much the name I gave myself at the beginning of this Honesty project may no longer be who I am..
Am I still the optimist? Maybe..
I guess a part of me will always be inclined to look at the world in an optimistic manner, but I am no longer blinded to the fact that I have always used “the optimist” as a cover to shield me from my own reality, which is far from optimistic at times."


RECORDING 02:
Hello, this is Perseid, and today i’ll be reading something by ET.

Today, I am on the second day of a racial equality training. It's been an interesting year ... a lot has happened. But ... those are details I'll keep to myself. Today was a day where I wish I were as happy as I were earlier this week. But today was rough. I loved parts of today --sharing cat stories with a fellow cat lady, looking at lovely memes, having a few moments with a new friend, taking a deep breath of my Corsican Mint plant, And it's not that I disliked other aspects of my day, but I am feeling lower on energy. In training, we learned about systemic and oppressive institutions built into the everyday fabric of the United States, and how that slavery, racism, and cross-racial conflict arise from greed. Pure, unadulterated, fucking greed. Fuck that, and fuck them. And when we were asked what we liked about our race (not ethnicity), and it came to me, well. I intersect various groups, and I cannot relate to any of them. I was the one person in the room who broke down and could not come up with one thing that I like about associating with my race. Sure, I may be proud of some things. But I was so deeply ashamed that I felt that way. That with every positive aspect I could think of my identity cultures, I found at least three negative counterexamples that led me to dislike it. I could only remember how hurt I was by each group that I identified with, but who did not identify with me. I could think of things I was proud of ... but not things I liked. I am realizing just how much I have internalized such oppressive attitudes. I feel more emotionally ready, and I feel like I am making progress that I did not think that I needed. Hell, I got a hug from the main instructor. Now, I've got a lot of conflicting thoughts: shame, fear, anger, validation. More. Like thunderstorms colliding and creating drums that pound the ground, I feel my heart pounding in my head and in my chest every few minutes every since. Turmoil. My heart is in knots. And I still have a little glimmer of hope: a little thread that I will not let the children I take under my wing to go through what I went through in the process of growing up. They will not be ashamed to take root in their skin, their nationality, their culture, their parents, their peers, their neighbors, their schools, their communities. I will be more knowledgeable with every waking day. That's my goal. That's what I've always wanted to do. That's why I'm doing what I'm doing. For now, though, my job is to untangle the knots within myself. Perhaps, one day, I will find something I like about my skin.


RECORDING 03:
Hey there, this is Norman, and today ill be reading a submission by one supposed Harvey Morrison.

Today, dear reader, a revelation. I had been working hard over the last year on a new project, a new opportunity, for myself and hopefully for others. It had caused sleepless nights (literally, grant applications don’t write themselves) and strained relationships. It had unearthed rich seams of exhaustion I didn’t know existed and new kinds of stress; some are constructive, others are not. What had started as an exciting new chapter of my life became less and less palatable over time, until the negative outweighed the positive, and I had to draw the chapter to a close. This left me relieved, but sad, and as time has gone on the after-effects to my confidence are still being felt. I was being used, and in my excitement, I had told myself that it would be worth it in the end, but it wasn’t. I’m so very glad I had the bravery to cut loose, but it had left a hole. Until that is, today, when I realised I can build something with my own ideas, not someone else’s; that I do have what it takes. It makes the sun shine all the brighter knowing what value you can bring, even though others can make you forget it. Please don’t listen to them.


RECORDING 04:
RECORDING 04: Hey everyone, my name is Sea. The following words were written by someone named Lona.

In a week's time, I'll go under the knife at [Redacted Name of City] Plastic Surgery off of [Redacted Name of Road], about two miles from our apartment, where I am now, sitting on the couch, imagining my body being sliced open.

Since I was eighteen years old, I've dreamed of having breast reduction surgery. Every photo of me from the ages of twelve to eighteen featured my barely-smiling head atop a shirt-tent (mostly always men's t-shirts from Goodwill), spine curved over for modesty. I've lugged them around more than half my life, and have been—like it or not-- defined by, or in spite of them. Along with other self-esteem cancers one has to endure through adolescence, body image was the most inescapable for me. My breasts had grown against my will and better judgment (“Who would actually want these?” I would ask myself) and I had no room for them.

I had planned for my chest to be a no-boob zone as long as possible. But when that was not in my control, I used to fantasize about my future as an adult. In the future, scientists would surely have figured out a way to make detachable breasts, so you could just slip off your chest holster when you got home and wander around totally free. In the future, you could take multivitamins that would increase your IQ while depleting breast tissue. In the future, surgeons will develop boob-banks, where people can transfer breast tissue from donor to recipient instantly, and no one will have to have boobs they don't want-- these were the lullabies and bedtime stories I concocted for myself. I fell asleep every night praying to science gods that I could delete my chest someday.

For a girl who didn't want large breasts, the consequences of having them felt more acute, more spiteful. I worried that people might mistake my having large breasts-- and somehow showing them off-- as wanting their attention. Or maybe wearing anything form-fitting was salacious. I can only imagine where I got these ideas, and though I protested them, I still felt responsible—guilty-- for not being able to manage my body. It's heartbreaking when I think about it: the amount of work that goes in to divorcing a woman's mind from inhabiting her body is staggering.

I don't think I let myself be diagnosed with a proper bra size until well into college. And they hurt all the time.

These days, my breasts are at their largest, which also means I am compressing them all the more, which makes it harder to breathe, which makes it harder to run. Running, being, of course, the only thing I want to do. Run away from something, run out of something else, run toward another parallel universe. The irony of this isn't lost on me: I want to run, but they keep me still. By keeping me still, they force me to accept what I haven't wanted to: you cannot outrun your body like it is something that belongs to you. You cannot escape your body like it is a space or an object. Stupid girl, the body is you-- the swell and ache and chub. It is meat, and so it your brain, and so is your ungrateful soul.

I don't know how to sift through my feelings about surgery. My consultation with Dr. H was pleasant enough-- I could make my jokes about The Folk Singers (what I call my natural amplitude) and he laughed along. He listed the buzz words I needed to hear: “too big for your frame”, “back problems”, “posture”, “self-conscious”, and “straps carved up your shoulders.” He said he'd take me down to about a C cup, since I had hips, it they'd be most proportional. C-ups would cut the mass of both breasts by half. It sounds like heaven.

In all of this, I remember learning about the Amazons who perform a mastectomy of the breast on their dominant side, to better accommodate a bow and arrow. Precision at any cost. This summer, I've been steeping in a lot of feminist texts: Lidia Yuknavitch's Chronology of Water, Jill Soloway's adaptation of I LOVE DICK, and of course, Marvel's Wonder Woman. I haven't started Handmaid's Tale, and don't get me started on the Sylvia Plath poems I've been using as a salve since September. I've been hunting down all the voices the heroines in my head can be-- and there are so many I can't keep them straight. And they sound a lot like me, except I forget what I sound like.

The through-line in all of these texts to me is always persistence. In spite of. Like, See? She's still here. And here. And here. She was brave there. And will be stupid here. But she shows up and she loves and blunders and has to reintegrate her body into her identity and what does that mean how can you do that mainstream texts are about abstraction aren't they leaving the corporeal form of the body and creating an architected self out of free will self-mutilation is a sign of self creation break the self to see what is in side who said that I bet it was a super villain or part of some goblin curse but I'm sure it was a fashion editor for Vogue.

The surgery part doesn't scare me-- anesthesia, painkillers, summer vacation-- the recovery is mapped out with generous swaths of couch-time and Netflix. Nor am I scared of who I'll be on the other side of the procedure: someone whose patience is all spent, someone who's ready to get on with it. Maybe my apprehensions come from letting go of something I haven't identified yet. I'm shifting my body and the way it occupies the world. I am toying with the broth of past memory and future ones. My physical form is the nexus, the epicenter, of myself past and future, and I am f*cking stuck with its indecipherable narratives all up in my cosmos. So, there's that.

I think I'm most curious to see how all of this will stitch itself together-- past-self, future-self joined at a seam on my skin. How wondrous it must have been for the Amazons, slicing yourself off to see what grows in its place.


RECORDING 05:
Hello everyone, I’m Harvey and as you might of guessed i’m here in England. The following is by someone who goes by the name Nebraska.

Today I woke up early, went to the library. Spent the whole day there. This has been my life for one month. I am preparing to take a test, a big test. I don’t know if I can do it. I seriously doubt my competence. I don’t even know how I got here and don’t know if I even deserve to be here. It’s hard. It will be over soon. I am learning to trust the process, learning to just relax- what is meant to be will happen.

I think about where I was this time last year, two years ago, the year before. I have grown. I have learned. I have made mistakes and I have been wronged. But with each passing year comes opportunity. I don't see that ending any time soon.

I am 22 years old. I am so young. I am sick of my peers who act as though they have one year to accomplish every single thing they need to do. Why are they so intense? I ask myself. Do I look like that from the outside? I sure hope not. I am working hard to be grateful of the small moments. To relish the simple. To take advantage of the opportunities that present themselves to me, without asking why, without wondering if I am worthy.

The older I get the faster time goes. And in the grand scheme of things, none of it really matters. Yet, even with the knowledge of my mortality, I am happier than I have ever been in my life. And somehow that makes all of this matter.


RECORDING 06:
Hey everyone this is Leah, today i’ll be reading a submission by Emma.

31 days to my last day of work. I’ll be leaving my current job in 31 days to go after what I’ve always wanted. In 46 days, I’ll be starting drama school. Almost three years ago, I took this job knowing I didn’t want it. From day one, I had one foot out the door. I’ve always known what I want, and this job was a means to that end. I’ve never admitted that to anyone at work. I teach children, and I always feel guilty for the real reason I am there.

I have one class of six-year-olds, the youngest age I teach, and this class is on Thursdays. Today.

Sara: My mummy said you’re leaving.

I hadn’t told my students that I was leaving yet. Sara’s parents must have received the official email from the school today and mentioned it to her. I hadn’t told my students yet in part because I was waiting for their parents to be officially informed, and in part because I didn’t quite know how.

I smiled at her. In that moment, I felt bad she hadn’t heard it from me first.

Me: Yes, I am.

Sara: Why!

Me: I’m going back to school.

She had a look on her face that made me feel like she thought I was abandoning her. My heart sank a little. I wanted to explain to her that I wasn’t, and was going to study what I love. So that I can learn to do what I love doing well and hopefully do it for the rest of my life after. But I couldn’t quite tell her I love acting more than I do teaching. So I went with –

Me: Don’t worry! I’ll still be here for four more weeks, and your new teacher will be really nice.

I had to start class and called the rest of the students to settle down. And just as I was about to begin –

Sara: But you’re so old, why do you have to go to school?

-

I enjoy watching Stephen Colbert, and every weeknight, I watch his latest monologues and interviews on YouTube. I live halfway across the world from Colbert, so the interviews I watch are usually from the day before.

-

Trevor Noah: You know what, I find I get my energy from doing the things that I love […] and I find if you do everything you love, and I know it’s hard in this world, we’re trained to believe that certain things are what we should be doing…if you do the thing you love you don’t get tired. You get tired because of the challenge, but you don’t get mentally and emotionally tired, you just go, ‘man that was a nice day, I did everything I loved.’ Imagine doing something you love, until you got tired. That sounded wrong, but you know what I’m saying.

Stephen Colbert: It sounds very right to me.

-

This is why I am going to school, Sara. It’s something I have to do. I strongly believe in going after the things you love. You fight for the things that set your soul on fire. I hope one day you discover what sets your soul on fire and fight for it too.

--- Outro music by B. Barbour of Psychic Skin ---

Thanks for listening to Imagining Other people. Again, I’m Alex Serpentini and I’d love to hear from you. Check us out at Imaginingotherpeople.com to learn more about this project and how to get involved.

This podcast is an offshoot of the Imagining 50 Other People Project, which we featured submissions from today. You can learn more about the project and samples of previous submissions at fiftyotherpeople.com.

The music was done by the incredibly talented B. Barbour of Psychic Skin.

The show was produced by Serpentindustries.

Thanks, and take care.

EP 002 - February to April 2017

Living in train cars, a professional lice picker, break-ins, alt-right name generators, refugees, friend-basking, and bird spotting. If’ve you’ve got a thing about bugs or break-ins maybe skip the the second and third submissions. 

Written Contributors:
Mundane VS Mental, Stella, Pee Wee Jones, Fox Griffin, Pine Cone, Jessie Haddock

Readers:
Roof Topper, Nelson, DeltaKnight1, Chloé Beaumont, Fringe, Joyce


+ CLICK FOR TRANSCRIPT +


Hey Everyone, this is Alex. We’re recording live from a studio hidden somewhere in my grandparents attic. And this is Imagining Other People.


---Intro music by B. Barbour of Psychic Skin---

Hi! And welcome to our second episode ever of Imagining Other People. In this podcast we explore what everyday life is like all around the world through written submissions and recordings. I’m your host Alex Serpentini and I wanna know what you did today. For those of you that are first time listeners, this whole podcast is basically strangers reading the diaries of other strangers, and it’s 100% based on community participation. If you wanna get involved (Which I would love you to do! I totally wanna hear from you), you’ve got two options. Alright so First, you pick a fake name, and then you can either :A. write me something something honest about your day, OR, B. record yourself reading what someone else wrote. And this is all completely anonymous. Theres lots more information and instructions on where to submit or how to record over at our website, ImaginingOtherPeople.comSo! That being said, let’s dive right in to episode two.


---Break 1 music by B. Barbour of Psychic Skin---

Today we’ll be hearing about a professional lice picker, break-ins, living in train cars, alt-right name generators, refugees, friend-basking (which is a new term I was really excited to learn about) and bird spotting. If’ve you’ve got a thing about bugs or break-ins maybe skip the the second and third submissions. laughs alright, so let’s have a listen.


---Break 1 music by B. Barbour of Psychic Skin---


RECORDING 01:
Hey everyone this is Roof Tapper, today i’m reading some words by Mundane VS Mental. I’m reading them from a place inside of place, somewhere in the US. Here we go.

“The in between time is the hardest to get through. It’s difficult to balance working 5-6 days a week, for 12+ hours a day, weeks at a time; to having nothing scheduled but to catch up on real life.

I slept half the day away again today. Though, it was easier to convince myself that I SHOULD this morning. The rain was peppering the outside of the train car, there was a live train rumbling past outside, and my cat was nestled in beside me. Basically, it was cozy as hell. I’ll back up. I live in a train car.

How does that happen? What’s that like? Is it as cool as it sounds?

For me-my life had to fall apart to a certain to degree allowing for this set of circumstances to arise. It’s like living in a metal box shotgun house-which, I have several years of living in shotgun houses under my belt, so nothing new there. And yes, it is exactly as cool as it sounds. There’s no non-douchebag way around it. I am forced to live minimally (which seems to be everyone’s dream these days), and to stay tidy. Trains go past throughout the day and gently rock my caboose. (Pun obviously intended). I also get amazing views of the sunset that I can watch from the top of the traincar.

I’ve gotten used to the novelty of it and I don’t like to talk about it to everyone I meet because I live in an extremely identifiable, high traffic location. I don’t exactly want everyone passing to say- “oh, that’s where such n’ such lives,” OR “I know a person that lives in one of those.” If I wanted everyone to know my biz, I would’ve stayed in my hometown. Though, am I breaking this personal rule by writing this?

Back to the point, tell about my day.

I climbed down out of bed and made the most ridiculous single person brunch which was basically a sandwich of last weeks left-overs. Got a phone call from someone at a local charity I’ve been playing phone tag with for 2 months, and was able to set up an appointment to drop of my wares for donation. Mind you, these items have been taking up precious real estate in my car for these 2 months, so the fact that I was able to export them today was a big deal.

After that enema, I ventured to my favorite comic book store. Not only did I find the exact issue I was looking for, I also discovered that they just opened an arcade. The excitement was palpable and, as usual, I was the only customer in the building. I abruptly let social media know how cool my day was and then went to my local hardware store.

That’s probably a misnomer, since this place is more about the gear you use in conjunction with hardware. For my real specific hardware needs, I go somewhere else. Where they have every size bolt I could possibly imagine. But today was a day with other requirements. Specifically, ratchet straps to tie down my kayak. My heart swelled with pride (which it rarely swells with anything) as the ladies behind the counter recognized me and gave me a hard time about not having been in for several months. I explained that I had moved, which was not an excuse by their standards and they asked where. They inquired about the units and I had to get specific and say, “Well, actually. I live in one of the train cars.” Cue eruption of incredulous excitement.


Made it back to the caboose, started doing some adult things like paying bills. Got a phone call from a friend I met in the film business several months back. They always have something new going on and I’m continually amazed at their drive and achievements, given their age-so of course I dropped everything to have a classic phone conversation. Which, I have to say, people should do more often.

That phone call was followed by another to grab dinner with a friend. Dinner was lovely. We talked about our current struggles and planned their next visit to the caboose. Really, it was more a logistics talk since they had, essentially, invited themselves over. Which is fine, given my current lifestyle.

As soon as I felt like it was digestively safe, I went to the gym. As usual, my unusual schedule afforded me the place to myself. Angry rap got me through my painful, but much needed run.

The day ended with a Dave Chappelle comedy special on Netflix and a Skype call with another film friend.

When I regurgitate it, I guess I wasn’t lazy today. I got some things done, caught up with my people, did a deed, and satisfied my childish side at the comicbook store. Not exactly a career or bank account feeding day, but fulfilling in other ways. My career is gig based and as an independent contractor in the film industry it can be difficult during the in between times. When you’re existing as a civilian and not sending cars of cliffs or learning how to make movie meth, excitement has to be found in the everyday.”

RECORDING 02:
Hello, my name’s Nelson and today I’m going to be reading something by Stella.

“My name is “Stella”, I’m 55 years old and I live in the states. I thought I’d describe a typical day in my life, but then I realized that there is nothing typical about any of my days, except maybe my family routine, but we aren’t your typical family.

I’m a self employed stay at home mom, married 26 years to a blue collar worker with two children and two dogs, living in a lovely home filled with lots of character. I’m a volunteer and a nit picker. Yep. A nit picker. I clean people of lice. I didn’t start out wanting to BE a nit picker, but my life has evolved into this strangely personal profession due to our own experiences with lice. I used to work in radio and TV until they sucked the life out of me and I finally had to walk away to heal. I’ve decided the real parasites are the people and not the bugs.

I’ve re-invented myself many times over and about 15 years into our marriage, with years of therapy under our belts, my husband and I adopted internationally. In our 40’s it made sense and has been one of the more sane decisions we’ve made together. That and buying the house we live in. So here we are living a typical Sunday.

The alarm started beeping at 8am this morning. It’s usually set for 6am but we’re on Spring Break thank God. I need every bit of sleep from this past whirlwind week of fun. I’d like to say that my day actually started at 8am but that would be a lie. I’ve been in the throws of menopause for 7 years now and a sleep filled night is rare. During the night I was awakened several times dripping in sweat. I think it’s strange to have to wipe sweat from my eyelids and cheeks in the darkness when all I’ve done is lay perfectly still on my foam mattress, which I absolutely adore. Fortunately the sweating ceases and I drift back to sleep as my husband’s c-pap machine blows a cool stream of air in my direction. He has sleep apnea and it’s like sleeping next to Darth Vader every night.


Finally I get out of bed by 8:30 after slapping the alarm a few times, dress quickly and head downstairs to fix coffee, feed the dogs and get a quick breakfast ready for the kids and husband. I always like a hot breakfast so this morning I cheat and toast bagels. Everyone is happy and we are soon out the door for church, minus the husband. Today our daughter is singing in the choir and the kids want to go to Sunday school. Before we leave I send out multiple emails because years ago I decided it was a great idea to create over 40 afterschool programs at my son’s elementary school. It’s a part time volunteer job that ‘s more full time and I really enjoy it but I feel guilty not making more money as the lice lady.


There’s a strange satisfaction in volunteering because really you could never be paid enough to be satisfied at doing something you love and it gives you freedom to create as you please. Personally I think I would make a great philanthropist. No one to tell you how to share your wealth or talent but you just give it 200%! Now THAT sounds like a job I would really enjoy.

Once at church my kids rush off to Sunday school and I meet up in the church café with another mom with a cup of tea and we talk about adoption. I’m working to help place two kids in need of a loving family, and she and her husband are interested. I start talking about my kids’ adoptions and find myself reliving the feelings. Gratitude swells inside me for all that we have been through and I feel a great kinship with this woman considering the same path of growing her family.


Before we wrap up I visit with another lady serving the coffee and tea and I bring up my mom in conversation. It will have been a year ago that she passed away from a stroke. The lady asks me of my first memory with my mother and I have to fight back the tears. I remember her holding me on her hip as I played with the buttons on her blouse. The question felt very intrusive and unnecessary.

My sister sent me a text that says “this sucks.” She’s in another state at a family funeral with our dad and I know she and Dad are reliving everything we went through with Mom. I sent her a text back that says “yes it does.”

Soon I head into the service and my 10-year-old son sits with me in the church balcony. We cuddle and he asks me about E=MC2. We remember the Energy=Mass but forgot the C part so we had to Google it to find out that it was the Speed of Light. During the service a guest from the local synagogue teaches us how to canter and the music is beautiful. We can’t help but focus on a wasp flying about the sanctuary. As usual the sermon is so politicalized I find it difficult to take in. I believe in the separation of church and state and often struggle with the political rhetoric that often takes precedent over the Biblical teachings. In fact, I don’t think Jesus was even mention in church today.

My husband attends another church these days. We are politically split and he has an even harder time with the messages delivered. He’s the conservative one and I am the family socialist. We are unequally yoked so we try hard to respect each other’s opinions as best we can.

After church and watching my daughter sing in the choir we head home for a lunch of leftovers. A friend returns Max, one of our family dogs. We actually share him with his original owner. It was last summer we were going to watch Max for the week while our friend went out of town, but after she dropped him off at our house, she had a stroke and went straight to the hospital. We kept Max for months and he bonded with our dog Mela and we all decided that it was best to keep the dogs together, but he goes for special holiday visits to his first family. It’s an open adoption of sorts I guess. Max had a harder time saying goodbye to his first family this time. I know he will need extra love to get through this heartache.

Today I set up play dates for the kids and pack up my lice equipment (a lamp, combs, solutions and towels) and head out for a repeat client. Last time I saw them was about five years ago and it was good to see how their kids had grown. Their kindness made me feel instantly at home and I was quick to set up and get to work.

We talked the entire two hours as I combed out all four family members and I felt like I made new friends for life, but ones I may never see again. They have a little dog named Brutus they call Bruce and their entire home was decorated in white linen. Not a speck of color and immaculate.


I head home unload my equipment, change clothes, and go to pick up my daughter and her friend and take them to choir practice. When I walked into my friend’s home I could smell the turnips cooking that the kids pulled out of the ground just yesterday, while visiting an organic farm. I was ready to make turnip potato mash as soon as I got home. I dropped the kids off at church and my friend said she would pick them up. After a few texts my son would be home by 7 so after cooking turnips and feeding dogs, I sat down with a plate of warm food and an old fashioned and watched a bit of news.

Soon the kids made it home and the husband chilled out with us. Computers were buzzing and I watched a PBS show about three sisters and their love for writing. Can’t remember their names but one wrote Jane Eyre. By ten o’clock I sent the kids up to bed and kissed them goodnight. It’s now 12:30 and I am done typing my day-in-the-life. Looking forward to a little sleep as I have another early morning lice client in the wings.”

RECORDING 03:
Hello, my name is DeltaKnight 1, and I’m going to be reading a submission by Pee Wee Jones. Here we go.

“I am going to start by saying that I hope I am not breaking form too much. I have more than one day to discuss, starting with yesterday, which was quite invigorating.

The day prior my studio space had been broken into. It is in a shared studio facility with other artists, and we moved in less than a month ago. This break-in was amateur, no doubt juvenile. A few things were stolen from us: mostly my hand tools, and some of the artists had various small tools stolen as well. Even a broom and dustpan were taken. The thieves came in through a tiny ass window. Honestly, I can’t blame them for busting in. This new studio space is part of a neighborhood “revitalization” project, aka the bourgeoisie are here to gentrify. It is happening left and right in this city, and fast. I am surprised this break-in didn’t happen sooner.

But why was yesterday so invigorating? Because my fellow artists and I who are in this new space organized and drummed up a list of demands from the bureaucrats who put this fancy showboat together. We have been quite hesitant of occupying this new space, for the very reason that we feel uncomfortable and unsafe, knowing quite well that we are the guinea pigs of this gentrification project. The big antique windows backlit by the bright white chromophobic walls must be pretty aggravating to see from the exterior. We are taking it upon ourselves to make sure the community wants us here. The b-crats sure as hell aren’t trying.

But back to me and my invigoration. I am reading a book about rules and bureaucracy. Actually, between the day before yesterday, yesterday, and today, I have read a lot of texts on these topics. It is interesting how tied together things are. You can be reading about bureaucratic structural violence and the next minute recall a line from a text straight out of the anarchist library. So when I organized yesterday with my fellow artists, it was invigorating, because I got to utilize the knowledge I have gained from all of these texts. I got to beat my fist on the table and say things like “Blasphemy!” and “This is bullshit!” “Off with their heads!” (Ok, didn’t say that last one).

My studio was busted into, my tools were stolen, and the only people to blame are the fat cats who threw us into this space (I should mention we are graduate students), especially the fattest cat with his zippy flashy creamy new 7 Series that is parked out front of our new spaces during the day. Gentrification sucks, and here I am in the middle of it, adhering to its procedures as a graduate student so that I can make artwork as an artist. Not that I am not appreciative of being the first of a few to occupy a new studio facility, but we are all aware of the social and economic politics behind this project.

But what was most invigorating, was once we had organized, there was an energy at the table (my cohorts and I had chosen to meet at a bar that for some reason was open but not serving sudsy beverages, like being at a carnival but not getting to ride the rides because of “rules”). We all knew that we had been rushed into this new studio facility, and that it was textbook gentrification. And God damn it, we wanted the big wigs to know that we aren’t trying to fuck around here. While it was invigorating to assemble and draft of demands for things like our safety and security, mainly for our things and not our bodies, there was also a faint touch of contradiction in the air amongst us. Though we knew what this newly revamped building meant in the context of the neighborhood, and that what we were asking for was coming from a place a privilege, the stakes were still out of our control. We won’t get all of our demands, probably not most of them. And we have to play the bureaucratic game. But that feeling of vigor, of vitality, was the most exciting thing about the last few days, so I though I would share and vent about it, to no real end.

So, in keeping true to form, I’ll stop myself from rambling about my feelings, which were extremely fleeting I will admit, and stop talking about an event that has stretched over a few days, and get back to some everyday things, like what I have done so far today.

Today was made possible by the big pot of chili I cooked up with the love of my life slash best friend this past weekend. It was also made possible by the new exhaust system I had installed on my car that cost $625.00 even. I woke up this morning to the sound of the cherry-picker relentlessly beeping across the street (made possible by the roofing crew who seem to be learning as they go), I kissed my love, and took a gratifying shower. We then each had fried eggs over medium on top of rice, with a dab of pickled plum paste on the side, OJ, and coffee in our french press. We packed up some of that dank chili for lunch, and rushed off to these new studio spaces for a full day of art production, where I am now staring out of these antique windows, reflecting on a lot of things, but mainly procrastinating 70 pages worth of assigned readings for a graduate seminar. I was 10 pages deep when I realized I would rather write in a submission to a dear old friend’s project. The day is quite young still.”

RECORDING 04:
Hi My name is Chloé Beaumont and today i’ll be reading something by Fox Griffin.

“My housemate is exploring the realities of 'fake news' and we find ourselves getting fired up again over breakfast. In a good way. We agree that she needs a pseudonym for her investigations and I jump up exclaiming: "remember those 'what's your porn star name?' games? Or 'Find your rock n roll persona...' ....'What's Your Disney porn star name?' ?!! Those ridiculous things? We should create one - 'What's your far right/Alt-right name'???!'"

So tripping over my washing in search of pen and paper is possible, but getting my washing in the machine (or any tasks for that matter, particularly a funding application) will have to wait whilst we immerse ourselves in this new very important action (!).

For starters your first name - Take the first letter of your first name: A-Z, from Rupert, through Nigel, May, Theresa, Marine, Tiffany, Donald...throw Fox in there.... Take the number of the month you were born in to find your surname:1-12...Thatcher, Farage, Ivanka, Murdoch, Le Pen.... We test out the instructions: "FIND YOUR ALT-RIGHT NAME, I land with Fox Griffin. That's me, my alt-right me.... An ode to the US news channel and the ogor Nick Griffin who the UK hopes to soon lose to fascist Hungary (oh the irony!!!)!

Also ironic is that I am now late for my yoga & pilates class! Which kind of makes the whole taking time out for such balancing (pah!) slightly counter-productive!

But I make it! And - as ever - find my mind whispering over and over again in rhythmic cycles, how much I love this time, how fortunate I am to have some space on a Thursday ...a space I must hold on to.... space....the spaces at the beginning and the end of every breath...the space in between....your thoughts like a cloud that come and go, a bird in the sky over head...that comes in to view and out of shot freely.... and I am completely relaxed.....

Right! Then on we must go to the next! A quick shower and left over pasta for lunch, a few emails and a call to a counsellor keen to refer a young person to our project, then on my bike and peddling through a coastal wind to the younth centre in town where we will be offering a drop-in psychosocial space and art group until 7pm.

A 13yr old boy from Syria is first to arrive, followed shortly after by a young man from Afghanistan, who was referred by the local authority children's service but now comes alone. We all settle in to individual art-making around a large table, with growing ease as the weeks pass, but with clear individual feelings of uncertainty, nervousness, hyper-vigilance from the boys. Next join three young men with their mental health practitioner from the NHS (national health service): one teen from Libya, another Kurdish Iraqi and finally a quiet young man from Eritrea, who looks more anxious this week and wary of where to place himself and what to do. I enjoy spending much of the group working alongside him. We organically move from his image of a unique tree - 'with very long roots', he wants to share with me - to thinking about our own roots; who we are; where we come from; what offers us resilience, strength and groundedness when the environment around us might be hostile, harsh and stormy. Finally, two young women aged between 14yrs and 16yrs arrive in the space, both from Eritrea. Each of these strong spirited, inspiring young people has fled persecution and danger in their home country, and has arrived in the UK in search of safety. A simple request for life not death. Some have had their refugee status granted, some continue to wait, in limbo - eager to study, work, contribute to their new communities and society, but are paralysed by the same communities and society.

Without any direction from us, a number of trees branch in to the space today. Alongside flags from home countries and a motley mix of British 'subjects' like the red fox that the Eritrean boy has crossed paths with by his foster home which edges on to countryside - a new unknown to familiarise himself with. Many other projects unfold, amidst movements of at least five different languages being spoken in the room tonight. A celebration of difference, diversity and learning from eachother rather than a barrier.

There's also a queue to continue stop motion animation work and this seems to hold the bits that are truly 'unspeakable' - the death, the persecution, the loss and separation. Both the confusion at such ill doings by human kind but also the certainty that these horrors did happen, and need to be confronted, acknowledged, given a resting place in our histories which is respected and remembered. The process huddled around our shared table, working collaboratively at times, perhaps in quieter tones so as to keep some privacy or test what the group can tolerate and survive, feels raw but also much needed. We are a group of three - two health care professionals council registered art therapists and a safeguarding and social care specialist. We first worked together in the large refugee camps in Calais and Dunkirk, and were keen to establish a similar, ongoing service for young new arrivals in the UK. We are but Spring chickens but in collaboration with the young members of the group think we might be on to a good thing! We pack up the group feeling hope in what we can all achieve when we work together.

A glass of red after our debrief session, a cycle home with the familiar purr of the sea through the dark of the night to my left, and soon to bed. I cast a final thought to the funding applications that must be picked up first thing tomorrow. I know what incredible contributions each of those young people make and will go on to make, here in the UK, possibly back in their home countries and certainly elsewhere. I also know what can be done when lots of small actions and a handful of people come together as one - so much is possible. In particular now more than ever, this might be one of the most important messages to share on...”

RECORDING 05:
Hello world, Fringe here coming to you from a Liberal Condo in the heart of Kentucky. Today i’m going to read a submission by Pine cone. This is what Pine Cone has to say.

“This morning I felt the full weight of dread that is THE DRIVE. It's so boring and I've done it more times than I can or care to count. Today however I'm driving it alone, something I haven't done in a while. A strange loneliness exemplified by the dropping off of my partner so far from our home. I'm not sure when I'll even see them again. A few weeks, hopefully not more than that. Most of the trip was blaring music from over-listened cd's with the windows down and the wind wiping my hair. I felt like a kid again. Driving where ever I want: road trip to the woods, road trip to a new city. I stopped off at a rest stop and laid on a grassy hill in the sun for a bit to try and relax after a brief traffic jam. It was warm and kind and felt like being wrapped up in goodness. I was trying not to think about my partner being so far from me, or my job I had to get back to. The sound of kids chasing each other around the vending machine hut made it easier.

The cities that passed are like blurs in my mind. I was watching the road but I rarely watched the world. I got into town and went straight to a dinner date with friends. Dinner turned into friend basking at a dark table outside a dimly lit bar. Friend basking is when you watch your friends and involuntarily smile. They grow and change and you watch from a short distance.

My bed is lonely and my dog is too hot to sleep next to me. The sheet covers my feet and little else as I lay staring at the ceiling in the dark. I miss my partner but it was a good day in all.”

RECORDING 06:
My name is Joyce and I’ll be reading for Jessie Haddock.

“My walk between our offices in Hammersmith and Fulham takes me through a cemetery. I'm always really surprised at how well "used" this cemetery is. On sunny days there are always people sitting about on blankets, having picnic, chatting, playing with little kids or teenagers hanging about being teenagers, it's the least cemetery like cemetery I've ever seen. Wonderfully full of life.

Today on my walk through i heard a tapping in the trees and looked up, it stopped, I started walking, the tapping started again, i looked up. I couldn't see anything and I looked round to see if anyone else was looking. There was a bloke looking up too and then behind me another bloke, looking up.

"there it is" the first bloke said pointing to the trunk of the nearest tree.

Wow! I've never seen a woodpecker before, neither had either of the 2 blokes looking with me. The 3 of us just stood there for a minute watching, smiling, fantastic! and right in the middle of London too.”



---Intro music by B. Barbour of Psychic Skin---

Thanks for listening to Imagining Other people. Again, I’m Alex Serpentini and I’d love to hear from you. Check us out at Imaginingotherpeople.com to learn more about this project and how to get involved.

This podcast is an offshoot of the Imagining 50 Other People Project, of which you can learn more about at fiftyotherpeople.com.

The music was done by the incredibly talented B. Barbour of Psychic Skin.

The show was producedby Serpentindustries.

Thanks, and take care.

Relaunch!

We have liftoff!

The first episode has been re-released and we're now taking submissions for episode two. If you're interested getting involved we're looking for more written submissions in particular. You can learn more about how to submit here - and can't wait to hear from you!

Alex Serpentini
Rebrand and new format!

Hey everyone!

Got some great feedback on the first episode and have since put the podcast under a bit of a rework. With a new name and simpler ways to get involved, Alex has been working hard to make this podcast even more succinct and accessible to all. 

Stay tuned for the relaunch coming in early March 2017! 

EP 001 - September to November 2016

A bit about a traveler in Germany, getting hacked, 100-year-old-plants from elementary school teachers, office life, love life, and more. 

Written Contributors:
Little Darling, Rey, Jack, Sand Guardian - Guardian of the Sand

Readers:
Francis Lark, Alex, Wilfrid Laurier - Former Governor of Pennsylvania, Kip Hackman

Callers:
Perry

Voicemail Contributors:
Catherine, Annabel Lee


+ CLICK FOR TRANSCRIPT +

Hi, just a quick heads up that format of this podcast has changed since the first episode. I’ve left this one pretty much the same as a nice little historical relic, so don’t be confused if it’s not quite like other episodes. But anyways, hey everyone, this is Alex. And this is Imagining Other People.


---Intro music by B. Barbour of Psychic Skin---


Hey everyone, and welcome to the very first episode of Imagining Other People. This is a podcast that explores the daily lives of people from all around the world through listener submissions and recordings. My name is Alex Serpentini and I love listening and learning about other people - especially how they live and what they think and what they’re doing. I’ve been working on making this happen for the better part of a year, and I am SO excited to share this with you all.

This podcast is a spinoff of a 5-year project I started back in 2014 called Imagining 50 Other people. Each year on June 15th, I ask the same 50 anonymous strangers from around the world to write me something honest about their day using a fake name.

That project will be finished in 2018 and with it you’ll be able to follow people from all walks of life as they check in yearly and tell us what they’re thinking, and what they’re doing in places like England, Vietnam, China, Jordan, America, Singapore, and more. You can check out some of the sample submissions at fiftyotherpeople.com.

Like I said, this is the podcast version of that project because I’m insatiably curious…. or, you know, just really nosy? But either way, and I just want to learn more about everyone.

So here’s how it’s gonna work. The premise this is really simple - every episode is a new batch of anonymous submissions read aloud karaoke-style by complete strangers. So first, a completely anonymous, random stranger writes us about their day, and then a second, also completely anonymous stranger records themselves reading it using the recording button coded right into our website. This 100% built on community participation, so I would love! to hear from you in whatever way you’re comfortable with.

Like I wanna know…. what did you do today? Did you go to the grocery store? pet a dog? Work a million hours? Your day doesn’t have to have been eventful at all, I just want to know more about the boring, routine days too.

If you’re interested in getting involved, there’s lots more information, and frequently asked questions and directions and all that good stuff online at imaginingotherpeople.com.

---Break 1 music by B. Barbour of Psychic Skin---

So. Let’s get to it. Episode One. Today we’ll learn a bit about a traveler going through Germany, getting hacked, 100-year-old-plants from elementary school teachers, office life, love life, all that good stuff. We’ll start with written submissions read by different strangers- and remember, all under fake names. Let’s have a listen.


RECORDING 01:
Hi! My name is Francis Lark and today I’ll be reading something by Little Darling.

“I woke up in a hotel in Germany and put on some music to shower to. It was a happy, upbeat song I like to imagine they play in Coffee Shops and I danced a little in the shower as I used the truly awful combination shower-gel-and-shampoo to wash myself with. Quickly - too quickly, it seems - I packed up my stuff in a plastic bag and threadbare briefcase and headed down to check out and grab a ride to the airport. The check out desk was playing highlights (if you can call them that) from the past American debates when finally a shuttle pulled up. I settled in the back, making room for an older Romanian couple and the shuttle driver looked at me and said, "Sorry, but that'll be 3 Euros." Fuck- I had used up all my Euros getting TO the hotel last night, and I had picked this hotel for the supposedly free shuttle. Instead I grabbed my depressingly small amount of luggage and went back in and asked the receptionist to call a taxi that takes credit cards. He was cute but standoffish and said of course. The taxi came, and an Swiss couple maybe 10 years older than me went to steal it first. I ran up to them and asked if they were going to the airport (obvious from their luggage) and if I could join them. We all piled in and for the fourth time again this week I found myself in the front seat of a small car full of strangers and the cabbie talked at length about the country and about nothing and everything. He tried to talk about the US election (God, why) but I couldn't tell from his facial expressions whether he wanted me to be for Trump or Clinton. I'm good at diverting topics, and soon we were all sharing about our lives (I lied about everything except where I'm from- easier that way) and soon enough we pulled up to the airport. I pulled out my card to pay for everything and of course the driver didn't take credit. I made myself smaller and widened my eyes and looked distraught- the couple in the back said it was no trouble and that they were going to pay full price anyway before I joined up. The cabbie then turned to me and dead serious looked me in the eyes and in a monotone voice said “You must thank these generous people. You are very lucky this time. Say thank you." It freaked me out, like there was a threat in his suddenly gravely voice and he he was trying to emasculate me. As innocently and vehemently grateful as I could manage I thanked everyone profusely and practically ran to the terminal. Ah well, it was my third free cab ride since I got here.

As I went through security I realized I had forgotten all my liquids back at the hotel- completely lost all my fancy soaps, Cologne, contacts, hair products and - heaven forbid- my concealer and BB cream. I'm all for body positivity but I like my routines and not feeling like an awkward, gangly, spotty kid with bad hair. I go to do some duty free shopping instead, and the woman at the makeup till is so sympathetic she plies me with probably 50 euros of free samples.

I'm now on a plane looking out the window at the sunset. I have been on planes all day. I keep thinking about my love life and this person across the way that looks like my ex from uni and I wonder what happened to him. There are islands scattered out my window and the ocean around them is so flat and still and dark that they look like little bits of land just hovering perfectly still in empty space. I could be in a space shuttle looking down at a two dimensional x-y axis.

I've just finished reading a book about a nonbinary programmer who literally falls off the edge of a public fountain and onto a gorgeous married woman and she and her tattoo artist husband take care of the protagonist's sprained ankle. 70thousand words later the three of them are all in love and moving in together. It's sweet. The man next to me is open mouthed snoring. I'll be home soon.”

RECORDING 02:
Hi this is Alex and i’m reading a submission by Rey.

“Today. 2016. October. I wake up and my first thought is of him. He is what I have been waiting for. It took 29 years. I text him first thing every morning. Even when my eyes can barely see. I start my morning rituals. All the cliché ones, minus making my bed. It is up against the wall now, so I don’t even bother with getting frustrated. I think of him again. He is on my mind most of the day. Not an obsession, but a place I have never been before. A place that has been filled with others trying to steal me away from the path that reaches that place. It was a fight getting here, but I found the place. I found him in the place.

I wake up my electronics. They keep me company throughout my seemingly lonely day. They are my friends and I get to choose who they are and how long I see them. A selfish relationship, but they don’t know the difference. I think about how I saw life as a child and what I anticipate my perfect future to be. Did I achieve that as an “adult”? No, not yet, but I am getting closer as the days pass. I miss being naive. Do I? Yes. No. Yes. No. That’s part of change. Self awareness. Am I too self aware? Yes. I feel like a free spirit, but not always. I think of him again. He is too wonderful not to.

I eat. I love to eat. I fucking love to eat. I think of food right after I think of him. It is a genetic poison. I need to stop eating. Fuck.

The building shakes. Earthquake? Construction. Never ending. I live in a constant “blasting zone”. I guess it could be worse. It could actually be an earthquake. I question my job. I question my ability to do my job. I question if I am keeping up with my job. I think about other options. There are none.

I think of him. How lucky I am. Did he settle? I am not adequate. I am not worthy of him. >shaking my head< Damn. Lucky me. Why do I live? For myself? For my family? For my partner? When will I die? How will I die? Why the fuck am I paying these student loans if I am going to die soon? Why am I thinking about dying? Ughhhh I don’t want to die. I continue work with these thoughts always circling. I eat.

I see him. My face does that thing. >eye roll< …gross. It is gross how much I love him. He is my “other”. He reminds me that I am important. He reminds me that I am valued. He is the first of the stealers that hasn’t disappointed me. I forget work. I forget death. I forget loans. I forget bed making. I forget the earthquake. I forget childhood. I forget eat.”

RECORDING 03:
Hi there. This is Wilfried Laurier, former Governor of Pennsylvania, and Today I’ll be reading a piece by Sand Guardian, the Guardian of the Sand.

“It’s almost 1 am so I guess I’m going to count this as being the same day still. I woke up at 8 because I was out late getting tacos the night before with some friends from out of town and I need my precious sleep. I’m an unforgiving monster without at least 8 hours.

What did I do today? I sat in my new office and did so much life-admin. Yay me. But frankly, if I’m going to call a spade a spade, it was really just productive procrastination because I didn’t want to start programming a dungeon game that I’m meant to start. I’m totally capable of doing it, but fuck my anticipatory anxiety stops me from doing Any New Thing without making it into a certified Huge Deal. So I’m just biding my time until I can surprise myself by doing it. It’s like I have to sneak up on it and accidentally accomplish things otherwise I cannot get it done. Fun times. It once took me 5 years to email someone back but I swear to you it was never off of my to do list and I thought about it like once a month. Whoops, now all my friends for sure know who I am, ha.

Anyways, so I did all that great productive-but-not-really stuff and then my partner came home from work to pick me up to teach and so they could go to their second job. We went to a coffee shop and chatted for 15 minutes about some hilariously bizarre meta I read about Lord of the Rings and the journey of the ring being a horror pregnancy thing. After they left I just had to wait 3 hours for my class to start, and ((because yay anticipatory anxiety)) I had to distract myself enough to Not Think About Class. So! I texted with a friend from out of town and watched like 2 hours of vine compilations. At one point I was probably the weirdo in the coffeeshop with tears streaming down their face as they try to cry laugh, but silently.

Finally 6pm came and class started and of course the minute my students walked in all my anxiety goes away and I go into Super Awesome Teacher Mode and utterly relaxed and patient and full of wit and charm. My students have come a long way, but I taught them something particularly challenging things today but finally, Finally! at the end they got it, and it was really rewarding and they were all thrilled. After my partner picked me up from class I ran (literally) to a friends house to go over some music and give feedback on how a song was progressing. Then, I got home, slammed down a glass of meal-replacement drink and a full glass of water, had sex, and then, even though it was already 10pm, convinced my partner to go to the gym with me. We worked out for two hours and my I can barely lift water to my face to wash it. I’m currently helping my partner pick out outfits and shoes for some upcoming formal events, but now it’s 1:10am and I need to pass out. I probably sound like an asshole, but any day that I work in the evenings I basically just resign myself to a full day of elaborate song and dances to distract myself from the anxiety. My other days are nothing like this, I swear.”

RECORDING 04:
Hello everyone! My name is Kip Hackman and I will be reading for Jack today.

“I had great day today, but yesterday was tax day ugh!! Also ran into old GF that twisted my head around. But was good closure! Had great talk with old friend for me back on track, had nice old man tell me he loves me like son :) nice to know good friends”

---Break 2 music by B. Barbour of Psychic Skin---

And that’s all of our recorded written submissions that were by strangers for today. Next up is our first caller ever.

INTERVIEW 01:

Alex: Hey everybody, we’re here starting off our very first podcast and our guest today goes by Perry.
Perry: Hi Guys!
Alex: laughs So, hi Perry! Walk me through your day, how did it start?
Perry: Erm, it usually starts around 7 - that’s when the alarms go off but no one ever gets up at that time.
Alex: What time did you actually get up?
Perry: ‘bout 7:58.
Alex: So a whole hour [later], cool.
Perry: Yeah, I have a daily call at 8am every morning
Alex: Okay.
Perry: So I just made sure i’m awake for that.
Alex: Do you have your daily call in bed?
Perry: Eh….. no, because erm, what’s-his-face would probably kick me out of bed if I tried.
Alex: Okay, uh, so you have your daily call, and do you work from home or…?
Perry: Yes I do. So our daily calls is basically a way for the development team that I’m working with to catchup and make sure that everyone is doing some work because remote working apparently can be very, very lazy. No but erm, it’s a daily call that take about 5 minutes and i’m just reported to so I’m allowed to just sit around and listen and could probably get away without being awake? And the current project, which requires a daily standard call, is developed to make our product and launch it in hopefully a weeks time?
Alex: Oh! Okay
Perry: Now is really (dog barking in background) kind of when things should be kicking off? But, you know… put it this way: i’m not really that bothered.
Alex: laughs
Perry: Just doing my job! sarcasm
Alex: Hah! Okay So you have your daily call and you just work from home for the next couple of hours?
Perry: Yeah I pretty much stay at home all day, all of the time because as soon as I go out money is spent and we’re trying very hard to not do that. And, um, at the moment it’s quite relaxing because my days work involves a lot of supervision and management so there’s not a lot of hand-on work for me, so I can really be anywhere I want if I want to be.
Alex: Oh that’s nice!
Perry: Yeah, but my partner is.. he’s preparing for his new job so he’s actually at home, he’s been home the last week so we’ve actually just been catching up on lots of home stuff.
Alex: Will he be working from home as well?
Perry: No, he’s starting at the studio next week. In fact he’s in the same studio that he left…
Alex: That’s awkward…
Perry: …with a different start up. I know! It’s all very funny.
Alex: What sort of industry is he in?
Perry: He’s uh… design? He’s a digital designer but there’s a lot of strategy going on at the moment. So, it’s pretty vague for him.
Alex: So… your day, are you mostly doing emails or like.. using software or? what sort of thing.
Perry: Emails? Because there’s a lot of paperwork to go through in preparation for the launch, so there’s a lot of legal stuff. A lot of the time we’re on slack because that’s the new go-to-way to communicate between everybody nowadays. And I suppose my phone because the rest of the whole team on my side are all across the world so there’s a lot of mobility. But no, yeah so we’re using this app called Signal, I don’t know if you’ve come across it
Alex: No I’ve not.
Perry: It’s actually supposed to be one of the best encrypted messaging apps, so there’s a lot of like, “Oh no! WhatsApp’s been hacked,” around the world, but Signal’s been going quite well. They’re pretty basic but it does the job and you can set your message to disappear after like one hour, a day or a week. So it’s quite an interesting one.
Alex: And everyone on your team uses that?
Perry: Um only the top few because that’s when you talk about the sensitive stuff. And since we’ve been leaked before we’ve become very conscious.
Alex: Yeah, i’d imagine so. Does that affect you on like a personal level or anything?
Perry: Oh yeah, i’ve never had so many passwords in my life? Erm, and all my passwords are at least like 25 digits long. I don’t like, locate.. it’s kind of crazy so all of my, all of our devices, because of me, have a little sticker over the webcam?
Alex: Because of you, how do you mean?
Perry: Yeah i’ve just been going around going “no, we’re going to put a sticker on that, and a stick on that, because I don’t care if you get hacked but if i’m in the background i’m still affected.” But no so like, lots of location settings, like privacy settings, like anal-ness I suppose? And I get so freaked out anytime I get any kind of messages that looks remotely like…
Alex: Phishing
Perry: Like yeah someone is attempting to phish me. But yeah! It’s definitely something that you wouldn’t hardly go to the extent that I do unless something has happened. So it’s quite interesting to be like, “No you shouldn’t use the same password!” but everyone’s like “nahhhh,” and I’m like laughs you just don’t understand?. But it’s okay.
Alex: No, that’s alright!
Perry: It’s pretty cool.
Alex: It’s better to be safe than sorry. phone buzzing in the background As cheesy as that is.
Perry: Yeah, ‘cause you know, who wants to get hacked more than once in their life?
Alex: Oh god, nobody. Not even once. So alright. To recap: you woke up for a call, then you worked from home? Did you do lunch at home? Have you just been home the whole day? Like..
Perry: Um sooo actually its not as boring as I thought. We’ve actually spent the last weekend redoing our kitchen so we have retiled the kitchen walls and redid the worktop surface, so, since we’re both home this week we’ve actually spent like a lot of free time, erm, fixing up bits and pieces. Just tidying up loose ends. But also means that i’m like, “ohhh, I don’t really wanna use the kitchen because it just looks so pretty.” Wo we ended up going out to lunch to this local Korean place which we are always go to.
Alex: Alright, so you came back home and just worked the rest of the day?
Perry: Yeah we did and we’re actually hosting like a little bit of a dinner party tonight, so we ended up starting probably prepping around 5? pm? our time? So there’s a lot of basically we’re making chicken katsu curry for five people from scratch, so there’s lots of curry-making and we’re actually frying the chicken. We’ll, my partner’s frying the chicken as we speak. And I think our guests have just arrives so it’s pretty cool.
Alex: That’s actually pretty good timing then. Um, okay i’m trying to think because it sounds like that…. after your company was hacked… going back to that, because we talked about the logistics, but i’m trying to see if there’s like, anything, any thoughts or feelings about the day or anything like that that you’ve been kind of like… a little emotionally detached? based off of some of the answers you’ve gotten? (note: I meant answers you’ve given). Is that right?
Perry: Oh yeah, absolutely. So, I think that incident, the whole incident is out of… basically required me to detach myself from my work so much that I think i’ve remained detached, because it was so stressful for the first 48 hours that I had to just not treat it emotionally or personally? And since then that’s just how i’ve been treating my work. I suppose it’s partly reading that I can actually do that, and like having detached myself so much from it it’s not only that i’m less stressed, but, i’ve probably because a lot less motivated to do what I’ve been doing. And interestingly I don’t think it’s just me, I think it’s affected everybody at the company, so… there’s not as much drive, as kind of getting things done, and um,..
Alex: Is it hard to have a community then? If there’s, if you’re not all like, excited about what you’re doing?
Perry: Em… I suppose so, and I think a lot of, like when we did have the product before the hack, and it was getting to the point where we had a very like close community, but there was also like, like the trolling was getting increasingly problematic, and since the hack, just the trolling has like hit the roof and beyond, and like a lot of the time it becomes personally targeted, even though I wasn’t the one who was getting the majority of it.
Alex: Oh.
Perry: As soon as you get, I think as soon as you’ve been personally targeted on the web, even by a very small minority, it was probably like only like a handful of people who’ve said mean things, but it all of the sudden, you’re just like, “oh god why am I working so hard for it if this is what i’m gonna get in return?” erm, it’s… and all of the sudden I realized like, cyberbullying…. I don’t think… it’s like not gone as far as cyberbullying, but all the sudden i’ve realized like how the victims of cyberbullying feels and it’s so much worse than you can EVER imagine, that you would ever imagine it to be. You know when you watch the news and somebody describes the experience and you’re like “eh,” well now i’m like, “man, I feel you. I really do.”
Alex: Well that explains the like… not that i’m bashing it or anything, but the stickers over all of the cameras and everything. I mean I do that too, but, you know.
Perry: Yeah and it’s actually realizing how, so much of it, I think a lot of people consider it almost like urban legends, and just like, bullshitting, but…
Alex: Yeah you just like hear it and it’s just like, “that’s somebody totally separate from me or anyone I know.”
Perry: Yeah, it’s kind of like, “oh, it’s just me.” Like I’m not like not working for any big company, I’m working for a startup. It’s such a small out of the huge, out of the giant scheme of things, once you’ve been target you suddenly feel like it’s so much bigger… like… like… I dunno. The problem is really quite minuscule in retrospect but at the time you’re kind of like, “why the fuck is this happening to me?”
Alex: And it sounds like you still, and you know, even though you feel that way that you do about your job, you still have a social life going if you’ve got friends coming over and everything.
Perry: Yeah, but i’ve become so lazy, I think that’s definitely part of working from home. You become so cocooned, like its so difficult to get me out of the house. And um… but no, i’ve been very much encouraged to like, really go out and socialize because I’m starting to forget how to talk to people who’s not like, my dog or my partner. Barely hold a conversation.
Alex: laughs i’m glad you’ve got people coming over tonight then. Ah, what’s your crowd size gonna be?
Perry: It’s only the five of us so we’ve got, erm, a friend of mine who we’ve invited over because I think she’s feeling a little bit lonely at the moment, and then we’ve got my partner’s friends, who’s a couple and um, yeah so it’ll be interesting.
Alex: Well, I hope you have a really good rest of the evening.
Perry: Thank you, and I hope you have a good rest of the day, too.
Alex: Thanks! will do. Take care. Yeah.
Perry: Yep. bye!


---Break 3 music by B. Barbour of Psychic Skin---


Well that finishes all of our callers. Now let’s send off this very special first episode with a couple of voicemails.

VOICEMAIL 01:

Hi, Katherine here. This is my first time calling in it's a little weird, but I'm going to go for it. I'm also driving. So if I stop talking randomly, you know.. forgive me. I just left a woman's house. Whatever I was a kid, um, she was a teacher at my middle school and, anyway, we've got a long history. She's up getting me really into photography, she's amazing, and I love her. But she invited me over to come see her garden at the end of the season and to give me three plants that I now have in my car with me, and I'm taking home. Um, they came from her family, which is kind of awesome. One was from her grandmother that she passed down, and you know, did cuttings of, and now i’ve got one of those. And one was from her 112 year old neighbor. She said she gave it to her back when she was just about 92 years old or so, and I can't remember the other, but I did I did a video of her telling me about each one. So I'm just so excited because the plants, you just can't buy ‘em in stores anymore. They've been passed down, and I don't know the history just I don't know it feels really special and exciting so I'm going to go home and do some cutting to some plants from me to take over to her and her garden, that way she can have them too. I just, uh, man it's gorgeous, it’s beautiful, I totally just want to do my whole back yard now, and I have absolutely zero time to do it, but…. I don't know she was showing these beautiful giant trees that came from Christmas trees. She had them up for the season and, you know, after Christmas. She just stuck ‘em in the ground and now they're alive, you know, two-story beautiful beasts in her yard. I want a green thumb like that. Anyway, that's all I have to say. I hope whoever’s listening has a great day.


VOICEMAIL 02:

Hello! My name is Annabelle lee from your favorite anthology of Edgar Allan Poe, and my day was something that I've grown accustomed to in the last few months, but overall something that I'm still trying to get used to in the overall scheme of things. :ately I've started experiencing a lot more pressure, I guess you would say, at work and a lot more days filled with an endless to-do list and an endless array of things that you can't necessarily plan for, or, for somebody who is as particular as I am, not plan well-enough for. And, it's something that I've tried to get a better grip on. But! What day is filled with meetings and was conversations with people and with things that you never seems that you never have enough time for, it was a day that I tried to feel more like an adult? As silly as that sound, and more as though I am in control of my life, as clichéd as that might sound, but overall it was a day that I only had two 30-minute pockets to get my work done. But, overall, as overwhelming as it was, and as frazzled as it was, it ended by a nice happy hour with colleagues and co-workers. We try to do once a month and the craziness of our lives, both personal and professional, at the end of the day it was nice to grab a couple beers with people that I'm lucky enough to call friends at work and share some laughter and some stories, some concerns and some worries. But at the end of the day, it was a great day to remember that we're all in this together near or far, whatever continent you call home, however you may feel — drowning, or swimming, or lost at sea — today was a good day to remember that at the end of the day, as long as you've people with you, you’re never alone. Tomorrow, will just bring new adventures. That's all.


---Outtro music by B. Barbour of Psychic Skin---


Thanks for listening to Imagining Other people. Again, I’m Alex Serpentini and I’d love to hear from you. Check us out at Imaginingotherpeople.com to learn more about this project and how to get involved.

This podcast will always be free, but it’s also a DIY operation on the tiniest of budgets. If you’d like to help support it and keep the stories coming, please consider donating or sending us a couple bucks every month. You can learn how to do that on the support page of our website.

The music you heard is by the incredibly talented and amazing artist B. Barbour, who also goes by Psychic Skin. The additional humming was done in collaboration with myself and Collin Lloyd of the band Big Prey.

This podcast is an offshoot of the Imagining 50 Other People Project, of which you can learn more about at fiftyotherpeople.com.

It was produced by Serpentindustries.

Thanks, and take care.

Welcome to the podcast!

Hey everyone!

This is so exciting - we don't have any episodes yet but are hoping to launch in around November or December at the latest.  But we need your help first.

To put together these first few episodes, Alex is looking for brave contributors to share their stories - completely anonymously!  There are two ways to get involved:


WRITE: Write us something honest about your day and submit it - a stranger will read it out loud during an episode.

READ: Record yourself reading a submission written by a stranger using our built-in app and we'll play it on the podcast.

We are SO looking forward to launch and expanding the Imagining 50 Other People project. Can't wait to hear from all of you and learn more about the world soon.

IOP podcast cover.jpg