Mentre visualizzo la scena di John, con in mano una "scatola argentea con un'asta metallica attaccata", che si muove sul tetto come se i segnali li stesse pescando, rivedo me stesso e tanti miei compagni di ricezione in mille occasioni analoghe, sotto lo sguardo di compatimento degli eventuali astanti. Nessuno che capica mai una sega... John invece capisce tutto: "in its slightly marginalized way, shortwave radio forever proposes this romantic lesson: Don't stop looking."
Waging a tiny rebellion via shortwave radio
By John Vinocur
Published: February 8, 2008
MAUNDAY'S BAY, Anguilla: The kid has a sharp eye. Look, mom, he says, pointing, there's a crazy-man on that roof. What he sees, about an hour past nightfall, is a guy on the second-floor roof-terrace of a small white building, holding what in the just-short-of-blackness probably resembles a small silvery box attached to a fishing rod.
He is facing the sea, about 30 yards distant, and moving the rod as if he were angling for something. His box has a slightly greenish glow. In the trace of light that's left, he could seem to be fiddling with one of those remote controls that power model racecars.
The guy is me, and in fact, I have a portable shortwave radio in my hands, its antenna fully extended. It's night because radio waves best propagate then. The chartreuse light comes from a tiny digital gauge indicating the frequencies. My shifting the antenna as if expecting a bite is a mostly hopeless attempt at improving reception.
A quick admission: Listening to shortwave radio in 2008 is a willfully quixotic undertaking, a tiny rebellion wadded in self-indulgent romanticism. If I had a laptop on this small Caribbean island, or at home in Paris, and really wanted at 2330 GMT to hear the Voice of the Islamic Republic of Iran, or the BBC, I could surely get them, clear and steady, streamed via the Internet from their Web sites.
I don't. The glory of shortwave radio for me is exactly its nonmechanistic uncertainty.
(continua, ne vale la pena)