The Grim Reaper and Podcasts

There's a scene in Monty Python's The Meaning of Life which the Hub always quotes. It's where Death, A.K.A. the Grim Reaper, comes to a dinner party. The American at the party is -- of course -- unfazed by the presence of Death and his imminent demise and starts to blather on about a positive learning experience. Death silences him.

"You Americans, you always talk, you Americans. You just talk and you talk and you talk..." Death says in exasperation.

I often think about the way that Americans and Brits communicate differently. Not only am I an American living in the U.K., but I am also -- technically -- a local foreign hire, working for an American company, which makes life doubly confusing.

I am not sure that one nationality talks more than the other (although the Hub would probably disagree). I think it has to do with the rhythm of the conversation. Over here conversation happens at a slower pace, with more silence and more thoughtful pauses. I think Americans are more afraid of silences. At least I used to be.

But maybe that's unfair. Maybe it's just that Americans really love talking, in a way that Brits may never understand. And sometimes I really miss it. There's a joy in it.

Which brings me to the main point of this post. Podcasts. I have been a very late adopter. I even resisted listening to compelling Serial for quite some time. And then one of my friends literally installed an app on my phone at lunch to force me to start listening to Freakonomics. Immediately I was hooked.

I'm still experimenting and settling into my favorites, but I do love walking around London even more these days. (I only "allow" myself to listen to podcasts while I walk, a technique called "temptation bundling", which I learned from Freakonomics. Listen here.)

What I realized one day while listening to one by two sisters who talk about Happiness, is that one of the reasons I like listening to podcasts is that I can easily hear Americans talking. And talking and talking and talking. But also Brits, for that matter. I've recently become a fan of Adam Buxton's podcast. There are two whole episodes where he and the documentary maker Louis Theroux just talk. About stuff.

Sometimes it's strange when you realize what you like. I never knew that one of my hobbies was listening to other people talk. Apparently so. I also love the fact that podcasts are like stepping back in time. It's listening to the radio. In this world of technological advancement, there's still room for something that people have been using as entertainment and a way to share information since the 1920s.

Often podcasts aren't done for commercial reasons, so there's also a real opportunity out there to learn things and share information. For my writer friends, Indie author/entrepreneur Joanna Penn's podcast is just brilliant.

One of my friends and I often fantasize about doing a podcast, and I hope this happens someday. It's not the right time now, so in the meantime, do let me know if you have any good podcast recommendations. I'm all ears. (Sorry. I couldn't resist.)

Photo credit: It's all doom and gloom for the next few months....LOL via photopin (license)
Photo credit: A Fada cathedral 1932 via photopin (license)

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