Susan is a private investigator and I interview her a lot for my show. Last week she hit an owl with her car and it died. She didn’t want to leave it on the side of the road so she took it home and put it in the freezer and started calling around the state to see who could use a dead owl and it turned out the Fairbanks Museum in St. Johnsbury could. So she drove up. The owl joined its raptor brethren in the museum cooler and then Susan came over to my house to eat sandwiches and talk…mostly about Covid, and about how it has changed us utterly.
Music for this show is by Brian Clark and Mike Donofrio
Susan’s private investigation business is called VTPrivateye
So great! I’m afraid I’m one of those who has been lost in this time of Covid. Glad to hear Susan is plugging along.
Loved this interview. Everyone listen up! Susan and Erica… you two do God’s work. Thank you!
This is a really great show. Erica you are so great at going for the subject matter that is difficult and juicy! But I do feel that now you are kinda obligated to do another show where one of your smart friends talks about people who DO give a shit – people who are really engaged and working harder than ever now. Because there are so many of them out there too. I mean, in a way the fact that people are fed up and not going back to minimum wage jobs that are truly shitty seems like a positive development to me – YES take the unemployment for as long as you can while you try to figure out a better thing to do and fuck these low wage thankless jobs. Maybe businesses will finally now have to start paying a living wage, and making working conditions more reasonable in order to fill these vacant service industry jobs….As Susan said: it is different if you are folding clothes at the gap, in other words – Yes, folks in the justice system should be trying harder to function in the time of covid, but that is not the same thing as people refusing to go back to minimum wage jobs…which is also not the same as no one wants to make a sandwich…so can we really say it is all about “who gives a shit?”
Just thinkin’…..o.k. now I am going to go organize my sock drawer…
Well maybe I’ll come over and help you weed the garden and bring my recording equipment?
This episode broke my heart. The reality of what’s really going on is seldom spoken of theses days. And if so, in a hushed manner. Thanks to you two for putting this out there. We need more conversations like this to be heard. Really, what’s it worth…?
What Jess said. Lawyers I know are checked out. I’ve not seen some of them for months. People have stopped going to hearings. No one cares. No one does anything about it. No one even talks about it. I’m organizing my sock drawer, getting ready for fall. I bought new shoes. Is it wishful thinking?
The pandemic forced me to have a look at my priorities, which resulted in the resignation of a job that was my “life’s work”. For who, for what indeed.
That doesn’t necessarily mean I’ve been spending my days with the sock drawer, I’ve never worked so hard in my life. The difference is now I’m doing work that matters to me. The Covid pandemic forced me to realize that my work was just a job and that my heart wasn’t really in it. We have a limited number of days in this life, it’s up to us to decide what we do with those days. How many of them are we willing to sell?
Susan, you are a rock star. I think we should be hanging out.
While I think depression and loneliness are real problems of the pandemic, I’m disappointed and even a bit alarmed by Ms. Randall’s sweeping, and judgmental generalizations about most people having “given up,” or “checked out.” In fact, in our criminal justice system, for all its systemic issues, what I see, for the most part, are judges working their butts off and defense attorneys scrambling like crazy to do our jobs to represent our clients–esp under pain-in-the ass conditions. I can’t name a single one of my defense colleagues who has given up or plunged into the nihilism Ms. Randall describes.
Thanks for your comment Laura. You are absolutely right, there certainly are judges who are working their butts off and defense attorneys who are scrambling like crazy to do their jobs, like yourself, under pain-in-the-ass conditions. I know quite a few. I did not mean to say this applies to everyone. However, there are also many out there who I feel are in the camp I describe. Erica asked me what was on my mind, and this is what came up. I do not have facts and figures and statistics or percentages, this is just my very humble opinion. Apologies if I offended anyone who is in the trenches. Thank you for all the hard work you are doing.
I would add to this an editorial note. My conversations with Susan are free wheeling. I encourage her to tell me what’s on her mind. She is funny and sometimes hyperbolic and incisive and a kind of genius at putting to words a thing we all feel but cannot articulate. I want it all. This is an editorial, not a news story. This a dinner time riff on my porch. This is like a poetry slam plus primal scream from a couch or a porch or sometimes from a car. And sometimes hyperbole can help Susan make a larger point about all of ‘it’, as SHE sees it. You can get ‘just the facts’ on the news. These conversations are not news.
For thirty years Susan and I have been getting together periodically and asking each other, ‘what is going ON?’ The goal in my edit is to make a story that feels for the listeners like they were there with us…at this particular time of day, at this particular place, listening to us wrestle with this perennial question. That’s the only rule of this show. To capture these conversations where we compare notes.
All this said, it’s GREAT when listeners respond with perspectives of their own on subjects that come up in our conversations–PARTICULARLY what is happening to our justice system since Covid. I wish this could be a place where people talk and argue and wrestle with these things, though that’s just wishful thinking given my ‘size’. Really I feel it’s the job of public TV and radio to provide a forum for open conversation – and I don’t know why they don’t. They have the resources to do it. But when this weird little comment area CAN be a place where people share experiences and perspectives, that’s GREAT. Disagree, tell stories, ask questions. Bring it all. If Susan’s given you something to shake your fist at, great!! If she’s given you something confusing to think about, great! Come talk about it.
But Susan’s way of talking — her sometimes generalizing, and always putting to words impossibly hard to describe states of mind— these are the very ingredients of the Susan conversations.
I’ve had a lot of the same feelings Susan talked about since the pandamdemic started. As a veteran of the Vietnam war (USMC 68-69) I’ve had a lot of feelings that things are screwed up, but are they? I liked the show so much I’m going to make a donation, but that doesn’t mean I agree with Susan.
“Just the facts, ma’am” I’m old enough to remember this line from the Dragnet tv show in the 1950’s. I’m bringing this up because I really feel what we need now are facts because facts can give us a reality check and a reality check can sometimes reveal things are not as bad as we feel they are.
Take the IGNORANCE TEST — if you dare. Here’s a link. It’s worth watching even if you don’t take the test.
Thanks to Cliff for his cautionary words about generalizations. Very important point!
Great show! Really, what is going on in this odd and confusing time. Thanks for sharing a slice of reality.
Sadly, I feel many of the things expressed in this episode. I don’t really have the language to describe it, so I feel quiet. And isolated. I appreciate your work and, like a commenter above, look forward to an episode on people who’ve found something new by having gone to the confused and quiet place. We can’t ALL just wilt.
I feel these things too. But there is also a deep LOVE and sense of humor in what Susan says, which implies…hope?
What a fantastic episode. If days like these don’t make you question ‘For who? For what?’ ( polite way of putting it!) then I guess nothing will. And yet, in all this mess, there is still hope. For a dog, for a sandwich. Beckett’s best lines ever kept coming to me while listening to this episode ‘You must go on, I can’t go on. I’ll go on’. Thank you so much to you both, Susan and Erica.
The ol’ Trojan horse replaced by a frozen owl. What a great entryway into a heavier conversation. Props to Susan for her honest and savvy reflections on these odd times. Keep up the amazing work.
I loved Susan’s ruminations and insights. Felt like I was on that porch with the two of you and the dog barking in the distance. Somehow Susan’s observations, however dark, helped me make a bit more sense of where I’m at, where the world is, and ironically seemed hopeful. Us humans have for a long while been on such a juggernaut towards a hard wall – – maybe this period of mass languishing will enable a different ending. It’s all the more hopeful to hear, from another side of the world, that Americans, our current Empire of juggernauts, are wandering the desert asking for who and for what.
Miriam, another wise woman I met in Vermont in my travels a long time ago, taught me the story of the slaves from Egypt wandering in the desert for 40 years before finding the promised land (which wasn’t actually a 40-year walk away), that she morphed into a metaphor for how when we need to make a big shift in life – as an individual or a group – sometimes we need to wander in the wilderness for a while. This gives time for the part of us attached to our old ways of being to die off (even if they were destructive or oppressed ways of being), and the part of us wanting to be something new slowly can get strong enough to step up and create the new life our hearts are asking for. I get there is danger of getting stuck in the desert, the inertia taking over, the wilderness creatures eating us up. But maybe if I can be more patient with these old dying parts of me, of the world, grieve with them, then I can also sprinkle water on the new seedlings trying to emerge and I’ll have clearer eyes for the dangers around.
Thank you Susan and Erica for a short yet powerful conversation.
This is a beautiful response, and I also find this show strangely hopeful, as dark as it is. I’m so glad you SAW this.