Lovefool 09.16.13 | Welcome To Night Vale

Fighting off the after effects of a rough Saturday night, Lovefool finds solace in the podcast Welcome to Night Vale.

 

 

I have a weird group of friends. Sometimes, we’re hyper-normal and everything is super quiet and nothing even remotely interesting is happening at all. And then sometimes weekends like the one we’ve just survived, which is the accurate word, happen and…I don’t know. Does everyone else just take this stuff in stride? Because I’m at my desk on Monday morning, still hungover from Saturday night and perplexed by the state of things, faking it until the world sets itself right in my brain and I can get on with it. Really, all I can manage is sitting here, in my cube, halfheartedly working and listening to the Wombats and being grateful that my hangover sallowness blends right into my normal pallor, making it easy to avoid awkward questions and also making everything seem fairly normal. I look normal, in my business casual finery and Monday scowl. I sound normal, snarling at Mr. Bossman when he chirped "Good morning" to me because, seriously, he was not paying any attention to the Rule of the Second Cup, which is not to talk to me until I have my second cup of coffee in hand. TWO CUPS, MR. BOSSMAN. I’m having a normal Monday morning, kind of actually getting stuff done but still wishing I had called in.
 
So I’ll be normal until everything is normal, without me having to think about, until this slight ickiness goes away and my brain resets itself to normal levels. I’ve started listening to Joseph Fink and Jeffrey Cranor’s podcast Welcome to Night Vale lately, like everyone else on the internet, and they’re all about pretending that everything is normal. Cecil, the voice of Night Vale Community Radio, can deliver any news, up to and including a mysterious glowing cloud first raining dead animals on the town of Night Vale and then, later, joining the PTA. The only time he seems to be distressed is when he covered Street Cleaning Day, an ominous sounding civic service, and when the beautiful, perfect Carlos gets his hair cut. Cecil, distraught at the loss of Carlos’ “beautiful, beautiful hair,” ends up having the offending barber driven out to the desert, where he wanders around offering to give haircuts to the cacti. At least, he may have driven him out. We never really find out what happens between Cecil having an on-air freakout about Carlos’ shorn locks and Telly roaming the desert.
 
But that’s the beauty of Night Vale: we never find out half of what’s going on. We do know, however, that Cecil loves Carlos and has from the second Carlos arrived in Night Vale, the town where everything is true, to study the phenomena that the residents of Night Vale just work around. Underground civilization under the bowling alley? Okay. Possibly demonic mayor? Cool. Dog park that no dogs are allowed near that seems to be filled with hooded figures? Sweet, on it. Night Vale, as reported by Cecil, is a place where all conspiracy theories are true and everyone just gets on with it. They go to school, fall in love, have families that may or may not be kidnapped by the Sheriff’s Secret Police, help out with the local troop of Eternal Scouts and they fall in love. In Cecil’s case, they fall in love and moon about on the radio.
 
And, you know, Carlos seems to be fairly into Cecil, as well, despite the fact that science is his first love. Cecil, however, goes beyond “fairly into” and manages to project a perfect storm of love and despair over days without calls and all those other things you feel when you fall in love. Cecil Baldwin, who handily plays Cecil, does a glorious job of balancing a deadpan delivery of all kinds of freaky news and the giddiness of a reporter in love. I actually imagine it’s a lot like what a Lovefool podcast would sound like, sighs and the occasional bout of withering sarcasm.
 
I have to admit, I’m not all the way caught up yet. I’ve been spoiled, of course, but I’m pretending I haven’t been and enjoying the mystery. Carlos has kept Cecil’s home phone number and called to ask him to meet about the town’s clocks actually just being filled with a mysterious grey goo but all Cecil can think about is that Carlos kept his number, called him and then asked him out on a “date” and then it’s all he can talk about for a while. I do love a demonstrated ability to willfully ignore reality in favor of a much more positive version of it.
 
In the meantime, I will keep following Cecil’s example. I will choose to focus on the fact that I am getting this done during my lunch, I will forget that Mr. Bossman assigned me straight up busywork this morning, and I will celebrate the fact that my headache has finally, finally gone away enough for me to be able to focus on today’s allotted two episodes of Welcome to Night Vale. I want to know the end to this will-they-won’t-they-is-Cecil-imagining-this mystery, which seems to be the biggest one in a town full of oddities. | Erin Jameson
 
Nerdlings! Are you dying to know what I actually look like? (Short, round, blonde.) Are you curious as to whether or not my voice is as squeaky as you think it might be? (It is.) Well, this is your lucky weekend! I will be corralling artists at the Ink & Drink table from 1-2 on Saturday at Project Comic Con and I would love to meet you! Come by and tell me what you want to read about, yell at me for not caring about Superman and check out some cool local nerd stuff while you’re at it.

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