so a few weeks ago mya texted me on some ALL CAPS muy importante shit like, BITCH ARE YOU LISTENING TO SERIAL and (six hours later when i checked my texts) i was like, “wait, what the fuck is that?” as usual, some cultural phenomenon is sweeping the goddamned nation and i’m too busy watching episodes of family feud from 2010 to notice. i'm not too behind in the podcast game, tho. i listen to black girls talking and black girl nerds and basically every other iteration of african-american woman with laptop and/or microphone. my girl and i were headed up to south haven for a super long weekend and i downloaded all seven of the available episodes, because only assholes go to fucking the goddamn beach on a weekend meteorologists have predicted a minimum of 37 inches of motherfucking snow. we obviously weren't leaving the crib and would have plenty of time for eating dinner in bed in our jammies while huddled around the radio.
i was instantly hooked. the kind of hooked that made me fucking crazy because the whole point of the thing is that the story unfolds, week after week, and you don't get to find out what happens until after however many weeks and they decide to tell you what the fuck happens. that shit is maddening. we finished the first seven episodes within the first couple days and i was like, WHAT IS MY LIFE NOW. i immediately looked for other ways to get my fix (without finding out what happens in the end, mind you) and started downloading podcasts about the fucking podcast. serial is obviously my heroin. i was pacing the room scratching at my neck and everything.
okay, so here's the deal for those of you who don't know: it's baltimore, 1999. hae min lee, a popular high-school senior, disappears after school one day. six weeks later detectives arrest her classmate and ex-boyfriend, adnan syed, for her murder. he says he's innocent, though he can't exactly remember what he was doing on that january afternoon. but someone can. a classmate at woodlawn high school says she knows where adnan was. the trouble is, she’s nowhere to be found. TELL ME THAT'S NOT COMPELLING AS FUCK. and the description of episode two is even juicier: their relationship began like a storybook high-school romance: a prom date, love notes, sneaking off to be alone. but unlike other kids at school, they had to keep their dating secret, because their parents disapproved. both of them, but especially adnan, were under special pressure at home, and the stress of that spilled over into their relationship. eventually hae broke up with adnan. and then, depending on who you ask, adnan was either understandably sad and moping around, or full of rage and plotting to kill her.
FUCKING SWOON, MAN. no disrespect, but i wanted nothing more when i was a little bucktoothed kid than to have a licentious secret romance with some unpalatable lothario from the wrong side of the tracks. add to that fantasy the possibility of my demise at some jealous lover's strapping young hands and you'd have the makings of a modern-day romeo and juliet. this was before, of course, i realized that i am the goddamned dirtbag from the wrong side of the tracks, and the likelihood that i'd end up an ihop waitress in some dusty faraway town i'd fled to after shooting my deadbeat husband with a rifle is the fucking opposite of romantic. romeo and juliet aren't real, but adnan and hae are and their story is totally gripping. some observations:
adnan sounds kind of fine. oh man, i am so fucking dumb. because the first thing i thought when i first heard my man on the prison phone pleading his case was THIS DUDE SOUNDS KIND OF FINE. you're lying if you didn't think that shit, too. ugh why do potential murdering sociopaths gotta be so sexy. also striking is his 1 charisma/vocabulary and 2 seeming lack of acid-soaked vitriol. fifteen years is a long fucking time, but i couldn't be in jail for fifteen minutes before i started spitting on the name of everyone i used to love who couldn't save me from the penitentiary. HOW IS MY DUDE SO CALM. and, like, laughing and shit!? if you called me while i was locked away in jail serving a bogus life sentence it would sound like wolverine was on the other end of the goddamned phone, all gnashing teeth and visceral growling. homeboy just sounds so goddamned smooth and relaxed. it makes my heart race. every time he speaks i'm like, "i wonder if his fine ass could use a pen pal?"
my blackness really wants jay to be innocent, tho. but if not adnan, then who? well jay, DUH. but i don't want jay to be guilty. i mean, not more guilty than he's already admitted to being. maybe you have to be black to understand, but every time some fucked up shit happens and one of our own is even peripherally involved the first thing we think is PLEASE DON'T LET IT BE MY COUSIN. because we're all cousins. every time they say jay's name i cringe and say a little prayer that there was a crazy serial killer or something on the loose in 1999 and he was too stupid or too scared to defend himself and copped to it because he didn't watch enough law and order to fucking know better. i'm no lawyer, but even i know not to confess until somebody shows me some mitochondrial DNA. (sounds like i know what i'm talking about, amirite? thought so. come at me, detectives.)
sarah koenig’s voice is hella fucking soothing. the first night we tried to listen to the shit i fell asleep halfway through it. that NPR flow just gets me, bro. that's why i don't know shit about world events, because every time i try to listen to morning edition it knocks me right out. i don't know how you people listen to that shit in your cars. i would drive through the front of a building. hot damn those gentle inside voices are all i need to lapse right into a coma. it took me four tries to get through the first episode. zzZzzZz
podcasts about the podcast. this is how i knew it was a fucking sickness. after a handful of episodes i texted mya BITCH YOU RUINED MY LIFE WITH THIS SHIT and she replied with a link to the slate podcast that is basically a couple nerds sitting around speculating about the serial podcast. WHAT. WHY IS THIS NOT MY LIFE. all i ever want to do now is creepily ask people if they’re listening to serial then ply them for opinions if they are or immediately walk away shoulders slumped under the weight of crushing disappointment if they aren't. some friends of mine throw a weekly party thursday nights during which they eat cereal while discussing serial and that shit is so meta i can't even stand it. i hate leaving my apartment so i can't go to it, but for real if you want to text me at 7am thursday morning to talk about the newest episodes i am 100% down for real.
could i be a murderer!? i don’t know why other people find the shit so compelling, but 99.9% of the reason i am like a basehead about this shit can be explained in the first five minutes of the first episode when sarah asks us, the listeners, can you remember everything you did last wednesday? and of course i paused and was like, "YES I DO. i took the train to work and got a giant starbucks and i was wearing my blue jacket and did i eat breakfast? umm, i dunno. did i notice which barista was working? ehh, maybe the dark haired guy?" so what if, while just living your life, some terrible crime happens and someone points the finger at you and, without the help of cell phone records or facebook posts, you have to reconstruct a day six weeks in your past? i can't stop thinking about that, that a crime could be occurring around me at any time and if you were to ask my whereabouts a month from now i wouldn't even be able to tell you if i fucking ate lunch that day. who the fuck are we kidding, I ALWAYS EAT LUNCH. but not always at the same time! what if the day you get killed i at my sandwich at 2 instead of 1!? then the cops think i did it plus i live alone so no one can account for where the hell i was all night and then BLAMMO. in jail for life on some bullshit. i'm just saying, it could happen. (this show is fucking me up.)
if this shit does not come to some sort of satisfying conclusion i might kill myself. i'm not even kidding, my dude. i'm too chickenshit to look up how many episodes serial is supposed to run, but if at the end of this my complete emotional investment is rewarded with some shrugged shoulders and a "meh, we tried," i am going to cry real tears and bitch all over the internet. I AM NOT PLAYING. if ol' girl doesn't get on the mic and announce that it was professor plum in the kitchen with a lead pipe then i am going to freak the fuck out. i'm not even kidding. i will unravel.
so get into it. i need bitches to talk about serial with who won't judge me for wanting to put some money on adnan's books. also, season two should be an investigation into why my iphone looks like garbage. look at that raggedy fucking shit. shattered like my heart is.
buy my book so i can get a new phone.
buy my book so i can get a new phone.