Chioke, Grain of Sand
My name is key, and I am a grain of sand. And tell me a little bit about sort of where you you spend your days right now right now I am in an aquarium and some dudes house. There's a, there's a couple fish. I think they're, they're goldfish. They're very confused. They do this thing where they swim toward the boundary of the tank. And then they kind of realize it's abound ary. And each time they say, oh, it must be the other way. And then they just kind of turn around. And they swim toward the other boundary. It it. And then they're like, oh, it must be the other way like there. I think that they think they're just lost in a place. And they have to find the exit, but they've been doing that for like two years now. Do you? I mean, do you feel sorry for them? No, not at all. They seem like really stupid fish. I guess you've been on a beach and you you've been in the ocean. So you have enough experience in other there is more than the aquarium. But you know, maybe they don't. Yeah. I mean, I think that if there's one difference between them and I. Sorry, I'm just having. I'm having trouble with the pronouns. You know, we doing this interview and I'm grain of sand. Yeah, but that's not really. That's not really the way that I would think of myself. I think normally I would just say we are sand. Okay. So so you see that there's the the kind of mass noun thing happening, and it's weird to talk to you because you don't have a mass noun Tanger. You don't seem to have a mass noun arrangement, so you save yourself that you're a person, right? Yeah, I would say I am person, so like why aren't you a grain of person? Like why do not consider myself as like a fraction of all of humanity? Yeah, like that. That makes more sense. It just seems to me like if you recognize the degree to which you old your existence to other people, you might also be nicer to other people. Yeah, I read this thing that there are seven Quinton, five hundred quadrille Yeon grains of sand in the world. So so like all of that you consider as you. I mean, I'm not saying there's a psychic connection or whatever. I'm just saying that when I think of what I am, I am the sand and the aquarium, or we are the sand when I'm on a beach. We are the sand on the beach. Does it ever get overwhelming? You know, I think about the difference between the aquarium and the beach. When you know there are probably thousands versus millions of billions. When it's that many that you feel like you're a part of is what does that feel like is it ever too much. I mean, I think that maybe the opposite is true that when we are when we're in an aquarium and there's not that many of us than it feels like too little. What like to ask you about about the beach is first of all, what? What was it like having human sit on you. I mean as near as I can tell most of the humans who come to the beach, that is like the journey that you all seem to like going to the beach is always to some degree of frustrated journey. Yeah, you either forget something or you forget that it was going to be hot that day or you don't like that someone else is playing music or you've lost track of someone. You can't find them like I've never really seen. I've never really seen a human heavy fully pleasurable experience at the beach. There's always a something of some sort that goes wrong. Then you all often express a great deal of surprise that they're sand everywhere. Yeah. Obviously, I find the beach lease just like sitting sitting on the beach, boring. Do you. Do you find it boring. Yes. So I don't really experience boredom. All of my assistance is observe -ation and reflection. So I'm never bored. Yeah. I mean, I've noticed that humans have a kind of problem with. Laissez problem with boredom. It's so they have a problem with time, right? Because it seems to me that boredom reveals a fundamentally that many humans have about their lives in the first place. Constant kind of question, where's this going? What should I be doing? And so then there's not really a willingness to kind of sit in just be which I recommend you should really try it sometime. Do you want to just you to try? Do you wanna just sit and be right now. I'll Mana sounds great. Let's do it. I have to say, I'm already starting to feel uncomfortable. I think this is great. I know I'm supposed to be enjoying the silence the space between us talking, but I'm only worried about the space as it's happening. You feel the need to fill all silence. Don't you. Most silence. Yeah. I feel like if you could let go of that you would. Perceive a lot more and the world. I'm feeling I'm. Sitting in the silence. I'm starting to notice the silence. Like I know I'm noticing what the broom I meant sounds like. Would it be cheating to bring up the sound of the beach? So so it was like what it was when you you were the sand of the beach doing this sitting and and being. I mean. I do like the sound at the beach. So we've talked about you being on the beach and in the aquarium, Santa's also used a lot, but humans like in construction, putting out fires. Have you ever had to do any of that. I mean, no, no, I haven't. I have nightmares about being sandpaper. Yeah. But now I mean, I've never been in San blaster. I've never been used to smother. A fire. Yeah, and no one is ever called for inspector, sands. I'm sorry, inspector sands. It's in London. They have like a secret code for when there's a fire or something like that on the subway CO here over the the PA inspector sands, please report to the control room. I think it's a call back to back when they use Santa put out fires, right? So they don't wanna say they have a fire because you know panic. So instead they say inspector, sands that it. I, I'm pulling it up here. There's a, there's video of of an inspector, sands alarm here. It's, I mean, everyone is just kind of looking around. Nobody. No one is alarmed, but clearly there's something going on here. Yeah. I mean, I mean, I think that probably slight confusion is better than the all out panic of thinking. There's a fire when you're literally in it too. Yeah. Hello. I'm calling for Eleanor. Hi. Yes speaking. Hi, so so interesting. You are the voice of some of the underground trains in the UK. Is that right? That's right. Yeah. Some of the main leave Knowlton Piccadilly and lines in the on the lenders underground, but on several stations lines while now. So like what's an example of something I might hear your voice saying? So say, sorry, didn't station you might hit me saying something like the next train to Heathrow's him in one, two and three in three minutes. Something like that. So you're familiar with the inspector, sans, announced I, I've heard of it. I've heard about, luckily I haven't actually heard it going out, but I remember my mum ringing me from. Thank you. Should I guess out? And I said, well, yeah, just, you know, just in case gets out, but nothing serious happened. I think may even being the mice to be in a very smooth fire controls and contains, you know, in the kitchen, it could've been anything. Have you ever recorded an inspector, sands announcement? No. Well, we what we found when we recall, but even this is well, just given both to twins the week before we got to come. So that scene in now, it's time to go. But we found I was the nice friends. We've always told you trading, but anything that was kind of right? You need to listen. Do you need to behave. Fail. So anything that really needed to be listened to partly you need to do. So so fill your husband failed. Did did the inspector sands because it looked like they wanted the male or tater voice. What did he do? You remember talking to him about about doing inspector, sands or talking about inspector, sans. Yeah, I think that he would. He quite like that he was in on the secrets of something like that. When when it's an announcement, you know, could have about things to be delivered ever. You know, we basically happy, never heard. So when you're recording these, you know, various train announcements, what kind of direction do you get? What do they tell you? They want from your voice? Well, you need to be as clear as neutral as possible. And they deliberately chose my voice and Phil voice because we just clear neutral. They're easy to understand and the other way that we've done, we've always used the same studio microphone say the same voices. Consistency reasons. We kind of signed a contract to say that we would be available for ten years. You know, unless anything happened actually go bless him, filled out. You know, three weeks, ten years. So he did his time. But fortunately we've got. His voice on record that it's never been an issue. I was sorry to hear that. Thank you. Good guy. You know, everybody, lovely, and I feel very privileged, a widow. It's a half his pay that lightly because I know people who would give anything to hear that husband again and shut up. We never did. Hoping you never will. So can I ask if this is too personal, just let me know. But. Does it happen that you'll be standing on a platform somewhere just going wherever you're going and you'll hear his voice. Yeah, frequently traveled to lend into me things work and Makoto we'll have even. Yeah, I hear him a laws and it's always Leslie behave, and and I, I quite like that. Nobody else would know. That is so special for me, and I just love the fun, but he's still ahead just getting on with life. You know, directing people to either need to go just being pulse at the phone sheriff Lindan, but hearing, but he's being taken off from. He used to be the main voice that will until about a year and basic when somebody told me that he'd go from, I grieved again as I'd lost him, you know, affected me. Knowing his voice was being taken away. Is there a a recording that you particularly like hearing of his. Well, I suppose mind the is the clinic not everybody knows, and everybody recognizes so that he is voice. But I run the Linda medicine in eight because something I kinda wants to wants to raise money for charity because you know, in memory and I just felt it was a lovely woman. 'cause staying in a hotel, the full and haven't had failed toll. And to my hotel thing was hi, Paul and the Dole's mind the got please. Yeah, he's he's watching out for me. This is going to go well. And again, when I finished like potato was myself. Telling myself trying to cap. That was really nice out today. I'm sitting times when I say, Yep, he's looking to me, which is closest probably lovely. Well, this is this is such a pleasure talking to you. Thank you so much for taking the time. Ten key frosty means being speech. Support for everything's alive is brought to you by simply safe home security done, right. Simply safe is home security. You'll actually love using. It's really thoughtfully designed so you can blanket your home with protection and never notice. It's got all kinds of great little touches like gentle reminders. If you're leaving with a window open. Most importantly, simply safe is really good at its job. See net the wire cutter PC MAG all named at their top. Pick for home security over two million people use it every day. Learn more about how simply safe can help you today. Go to SimpliSafe dot com slash alive. That's SimpliSafe dot com. Slash alive. For the show also comes from bombos sucks. I'll tell you the truth. I'm wearing them right now, and I love them in particular wearing no-show variety type of sock you wear when you for some reason, don't want anyone to know you're wearing socks. Usually no-shows fall down and then they get caught under the arch of your foot and you're walking along and you're telling yourself, you'll just live with it, but finally becomes too annoying. And then you have to take your shoes off and fix it right there in the street. Well, passersby you imagine silently judging you Bomba's don't do that. They don't fall down. It's miraculously also when you buy a pair, they donate a pair to homeless shelter. So in short, good talks and as a listener of this show, you get twenty percents off your first order. Go to bomb dot com slash alive. That's b. o. m. b. a. s. dot com slash alive and use the promo code. Alive we can. We can wear matching socks. So there are the sort of the beaches which I'm familiar with, which is kind of, I guess, beige sand. And then humans love to talk about white sand beaches, like though the like an ad for a tropical resort in talk about their white sand beaches. Have you ever encountered white-sand? Oh yeah. That's not sand. You're saying white sand is not like you don't think of it as sand. Oh, no, no, no. No one should think of it as sand. That's poop. Do you do you just not like white sand. No, no, no, no. I mean. No, that's not the problem. I'm just saying that white sand isn't sand. It is literally poop. It's it's parrot, fish, poop, parrot fish. They eat coral and they poop whether you are calling white sand. So when I look at, you know, a white sand beach. What I'm seeing is centuries of of parrot, fish poop. That is exactly right. Yeah. And Furthermore, every sandcastle you build on a white sand beach is actually a poop castle. Right. Hold you are not exactly. No, I think it probably would amount to somewhere in the hundreds of thousands of years. Like I mean, I wasn't always sand. Right? Like there was a time when I was a boulder. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. So you know, like. Do you know about the myth of cicis? Yeah. Yeah, that's that's a funny one to may because Syphis is cursed to roll this boulder up the hill for eternity. But really the boulder would eventually erode. I mean, a hundred thousand years or so. It would be like a little pebble like just like stick it out since officially done in no time. You know, eventually it's just gonna be sand. Yeah, exactly. And in addition, the hill will also erode and so you know, cicis after some time would have a flat plane instead of a hill and maybe like a marble instead of boulder. Yeah. So yeah, so ease cursed for attorney, but really it's, he just needs to get through. I don't know, fifty thousand years or something. Yeah, like he should really stick to it. And then that'll show the gods. It's funny to think about a man serving out his attornal curse and what it is is very easily pushing marble along the ground. Yeah, and also like maybe stop conscripting innocent boulders into your curses. Humans, you know, you're right. It alternately ends up worse for the boulder than for for Sisyphus. Oh, for sure. The boulder is destroyed while cicis lives on for eternity. See what I mean. And yeah, and like in his dizzy the whole time, I don't know. And how good is like in how good is says, if in conversation. So this might be a strange thing to say, but you seem kind of remarkably free from worry. Yeah. I mean, I guess I would say that it's hard to have anxiety when Hugh count time in geologic ages. Like I say, I was I was a boulder once upon a time, and I'm I'm part of sand now. So that was a that was a long time period. Right. I think that time under reflection. Gives one the space to think about how to direct one's anxieties, whether to have them what's a worry about what's fear, what to just kind of be okay with. And I think that at a by the time, one becomes a grain of sand, especially grain of sand as small as I am. Then there's not really any place for anxiety. One just kind of accepts that. Erosion is the only is the only law. I'll tell you that I, I realized recently that when I go out to eat after I order when I'm waiting for the food to come, I realized I have a kind of low grade anxiety that I've ordered the wrong thing, and that I've set myself up for a less than optimal experience. So just to make sure I have this, right? Yeah, human beings strive for individuality, but are also intimidated by options. Oh, yeah. Yeah, that's. That's definitely true. All right. Okay. Okay. Isn't it. Like literally always true that you're missing out on better or another something else. Like like, isn't that the state of human existence like to be is to be missing out on something somewhere at some time all the time because I can't be everywhere any individual moment. There's something else I could be doing that. Yeah, you're worried about like whether you're be OT would have been better than the grilled cheese, but. You weren't just choosing between a grilled cheese and be. You were choosing between the grilled cheese and any other thing that is possible within human experience. In that moment instead of grilled cheese, you could be spending time with your mom. Could be going to see the Northern Lights. You could be napping. Could be on a beach somewhere with with me between your toes. Feel by the way. Depends on the toes. I mean, right now you're talking to me is the best possible choice for this moment you could be doing anything. You could be with anyone. This is everything's alive. The show is produced by Jennifer mills and me. He until we got this week from Emily speed, AC and evil Welsh over also special. Thanks to Stevie lane. We are grateful to the reporting of Royce. No, Connor and James cave. Also big thanks to Eleanor Hamilton for talking to us about inspector, sands jokey. The grain of sand was played by key. I Anson we heard music in this episode from blue dot sessions. Everything's alive is a proud member of radio topa from PR ex. We mean it and without executive producer Julie Shapiro we would just be a grain of sand stuck between someone's toes can get in touch with us any number of ways at everything's alive dot com. We'll see. Wanna tell you about something our radio friends, the truth are up to if you're not familiar. The truth is a podcast that does these beautifully produced short stories in audio. And right now, they're in the middle of a four part series thriller that takes place against the backdrop of the metoo movement. It's called the off-season. Here's a clip. Hi, you're on the air. How hard by? Yes, thank you. That's a good question. Read has reaching this level of success been difficult. Of course, this field careers. 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