I don't believe in mountains. When I was ten, me and my mom and Gabe--that's my brother--drove to California to visit family. To get from Night Vale to California, you have to drive through some pretty elevated areas, and once you're in California, well. Mountains don't exist, so obviously there aren't any mountains. What there are is...very big hills, I guess. Lots and lots of very big hills. Or maybe it's all just flat and it only felt like we were going up. If it was some sort of hallucination, the car felt it, too, though. My mom had an old Datsun station wagon. Older than me, manual transmission. That thing had trouble on the little hills we've got here in town, much less the sort of possibly imaginary hill a less educated person might call a mountain.
Oh gosh, I'm sorry. I'm rambling. I don't even know why I started off with that. I mean, for all I know you just wanted a simple yes or no. After all, it's not like I'm applying to host my own show or something, just do interny things like get you coffee and run errands and stave off spiderwolves--which I'm great at, by the way. I'm always the one in our house who gets called on to deal with stuff like that. You'd think it would be my brother, being the only man in the house, but he's always been a bit squeamish...and there I go again, rambling on about totally irrelevant stuff. But that's one thing you'll learn pretty quickly about me: I'm a talker, I always have been, even when there's no one to talk to. I can't even blame it on being nervous, though I am, a bit, to be honest.
Maybe I should just delete all that and start over? No, if I start over I'll feel self-conscious and I'll probably end up sounding even weirder than I do now, so I'll leave it in. This way you get the real me...speaking of which, I really should introduce myself.
My name is Dana Cardinal. I'm a student at Night Vale Community College, currently studying journalism and imaginary history. I do have some experience in radio, though not since high school. The newspaper ban happened when I was in eleventh grade, so we switched to a weekly broadcast instead. I guess it wasn't technically radio, since it was just broadcast over the PA system, but still, I'd never thought about radio before that. I mean, as something to listen to, sure. I've been a big fan of the NVCR news ever since I was a kid, and especially since you took over as host. Ugh, that sounds like I'm just sucking up, but it's true! I don't think I've ever missed a show. Arminda always teases me about it, but if it wasn't for you, I'd probably never have gotten up the courage to ask her out in the first place.
Anyway, where was I? Oh, right. I'd been on the newspaper staff since ninth grade, but had just taken over as editor when the ban went into effect. You might remember the previous editor, Jenny Ramirez? She was the inspiration for that short piece you did on the dangers of pet goldfish. So it was pretty sudden, me becoming editor, and I had zero experience with public speaking, but we put all our names in a cat to see who'd be the one to read the news, and I was the one it bit. Like I said, I'd never thought of radio as something I could be involved with myself, and I was nervous at first, because I didn't really...well, I wasn't one of the popular kids, you know? And I'd always kind of kept to myself. But it really ended up being a great experience. People liked my voice, and I liked doing the show, and I really missed it when we went back to a print edition about halfway through my senior year.
I was a little disappointed that there wasn't any sort of college radio, but I'm not so young that I don't remember the flesh-eating termites, so I guess I don't blame them for not building a new station. Especially after the fifth time. But eventually I thought, well, just because there's no radio station on campus doesn't mean I can't still be involved with radio, right? And just when I'd made the decision to look into interning at NVCR, I heard your call for interns, and if that's not a sign, I don't know what is.
I haven't really given a lot of thought to what I want to do after graduation yet. My mom drops a lot of not-so-subtle hints about me getting a job at a big paper in New York or LA or something, but I don't know that I want to leave Night Vale. Part of me is curious about life in the big city, and the sort of opportunities I could have, but I'm a small-town girl at heart. So, I don't know, maybe NVCR could be it.
It wouldn't be exaggerating to say radio changed my life. That year and a half of doing our little weekly broadcast really helped build my confidence. Suddenly other kids knew who I was and actually wanted to talk to me. I used to be really self-conscious about my weight and just kind of awkward about making friends, especially with girls, because it took me a long time to realize that there were some girls I wanted to be more than friends with. And I don't know if I would have ever come to that realization without you, or at least, I don't know if I would have been so okay with it, or thought it was something that was possible in a small town like this. But just hearing you on the air, talking about it like it was no big deal...that really meant a lot to me.
And I'm sorry if this is more personal than it should be (and probably a great deal longer, too), but I can't help feeling like I'm talking to an old friend, even when I'm just talking into my phone like this.
So thank you for listening. Thank you for everything.