Title: Carte Blanche
Submission for the fall 2022 CJRU Radio Challenge
FOR CBC CONSIDERATION (shorter version):
From October 1st to 2nd, teams competed in CJRU’s 24 Hour Radio Challenge. They were given this year's secret theme, "Without a Map" on Saturday morning, and had to create a radio piece and send it in by Sunday morning.
[BACKGROUND SFX from Nuit Blanche 2022]
ALOYSIUS: Maps appear everywhere: on street corners; plastered on my bedroom wall; accompanying me in every video game throughout the paranoia of Among Us to the torture of League of Legends.
I even heard one guy on the streetcar quip that he only has two apps on his phone: Subway Surfers and Maps.
They're supposed to tell you where you are and help you figure out where to go next. But as I stare at my blank screen and the bleak uncertainty of the future, I started to ask: does anyone really know where they’re going?
That’s the question I’ve been trying to answer over the last 24 hours. One young woman named Mridula helped me out.
MRIDULA: My name’s Mridula.
ALOYSIUS, in person: And what do you do? Are you a student?
MRIDULA: Yes. I’m a first year student at [the University of Toronto].
ALOYSIUS: What do you study?
MRIDULA: I’m hoping to study something like philosophy and biology, sort of a mix of arts and sciences.
ALOYSIUS, in studio: I met Mridula during Nuit Blanche — the route for which, by the way, I was asked by my family to plan out using a map. I saw her holding a map of the event, too.
ALOYSIUS, in person: What’s it like to have a map?
MRIDULA: It’s somewhat reassuring that if I get lost I have something, and that I don’t need to depend on my phone for a map. So having a physical map feels comforting.
This sort of connects to something my high school teacher was telling me about. It was some philosopher — I think it was like Bonini's paradox — where what makes a map useful, in some sense, is that it’s not extremely accurate. So the idea that, like, sometimes you need simplified ideas to get you through. It doesn’t have to be super adapted to the situation. You can use these course principles to make your way.
ALOYSIUS: Do you feel like you have a map for your life?
MRIDULA: Absolutely not. [LAUGHTER]
And I’m kind of happy that I don’t. Because I’d like to sort of explore that one without having it all clear to me from the beginning.
ALOYSIUS, in studio: I’m a couple of years older than Mridula. In fact, I’m graduating from my master’s this year, and I still don’t feel like I have a roadmap for where I’m going next in life. But reflecting on Mridula’s hope and excitement, I started to wonder if that uncertainty is okay.
My aunt, now 56, had some advice to pass on.
CAY: There’s no rush. You will know. You’ll wait.
Learn how to watch the movie. Sit and relax.
ALOYSIUS, in person: Do you say this from experience?
CAY: Yes. You don’t have to be…. You don’t have to wait for the future; you don’t have to anticipate the future.
It will come. You just have to relax. Things will unfold.
ALOYSIUS, in studio: Thinking about my aunt’s words, I got home early in the morning and stared at the ceiling. I thought about every time I’d felt scared about the future, every time I obsessed over what course to take, what job to apply to, what career to pursue.
I thought about how anxious I was about that now. But I also looked back at every other time I had before, and how it has — so far — all turned out okay.
Eventually I opened my computer. I booted up an indie game called “A Short Hike,” where you play as a bird collecting feathers so you can fly around the island. There are no other objectives. No pop-ups or pentakills or pesky quests.
And, perhaps most importantly, not a single map. Just the simple, quiet joy of exploring a world where the adventure is what we make of it.
MUSIC/SFX: A Short Hike gameplay