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Act Two: Deceiving Others

Lawrence Otis Graham reads from an account of how he left his job as a $105,000-a-year Manhattan attorney to enter the exclusive Greenwich Country Club the only way they'd allow a black man like him: as a busboy. He discovers just how invisible he can become once he gives up his seat at the table and starts clearing the dishes instead—so invisible that people make racist remarks right in front of him.

Act One: Day

In this act we hear several stories that happened during the daylight hours of the diner's operation. The first is from Nancy Updike, who talks with several early morning customers, including one guy who comes in mornings to play his accordion, and another who at the age of 8 was the youngest butcher in Illinois.

Act One: Where Goes The Neighborhood

Producer Blue Chevigny tells more of the story from Bristol County, where the immigration law of 1996 has a community of non-political people reluctantly going to protests, attending meetings at night, talking to politicians, and doing all sorts of other things most of us would do anything to avoid.

Act Three: Man Without A Country

What happens if the immigration service wants to deport you, but the country you came from won't take you back? Under current law, usually, you stay in jail...indefinitely. Writer Alex Kotlowitz tells the story of one legal alien from Vietnam, Trung Tran, and the unusually close and friendly relationships he and his fellow deportees have with their captors in a jail in Victoria, Texas.

Act Two: Grime Scene

Reporter Nancy Updike spends two days with Neal Smither, who cleans up crime scenes for a living, and comes away wanting to open his Los Angeles franchise, despite the gore—or maybe because of it.

Act One: Take That, Copper

Monica Childs's story continues. She tells the story of how she was asked by her boss to do something illegal...and how she refused...and the repercussions she suffered.

Act Two: Money Versus Man

A small-town mayor tries to keep a developer from building in his town...and it results in the kind of snowballing fiasco by the end of which the town literally doesn't exist anymore. Alix Spiegel tells that story, which she produced with funding from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.

Prologue

Ben Schrank describes what it's like to work as a professional mover. He says that people often go sort of nuts when they see all their worldly possessions—all the stuff that defines them as people—packed into a van.

Act Three: To A De-luxe Apartment In The Sky

Producer Blue Chevigny used to have a job that was all about Moving Day—and people who didn't want to move. She worked for an agency in New York called Project Reachout, part of Goddard Riverside Community Center, that moved homeless, mentally ill people into their own homes.

Act Four: Three More Bubbles

An '88 Grand Marquis that Senator Conrad Burns inherited from his mother; a New York taxicab whose driver, Jeff Perkins, tape-records his passengers to help pass the time; a 1980s-era BMW 5 series in which film producer Rob Levine had his first job as driver and assistant to movie producer Edgar Sherrick.

Act One: Why Aren't You At Work?

All those people you see in the middle of the workday, in coffee shops and bookstores? Who are they? Why aren't they at work? Reporter George Gurley tackled these tough questions. On four separate days, he interviewed these loafers in New York.

Act Four: Invisible Man

A postman explains how it is that he can be so much a part of the scenery that people commit crimes in front of him, on quiet daytime streets, as if he's not there. This American Life producer Alex Blumberg spent a day with postman on Chicago's west side, to find out what he sees...and who sees him...and who doesn't see him, even though he's right there.

Act Five: $82.50 A Day.

Writer Mona Simpson reads from her forthcoming novel My Hollywood. This excerpt is about the daytime life of Filipino nannies, during the hours in which they run the lovely homes of certain Los Angeles neighborhoods.

Prologue

Host Ira Glass talks about the human urge to turn something inanimate into something that's alive, about the moment Pinocchio stops being a concoction of wood and string and becomes a real boy. He chats with Ronn Lucas, a ventriloquist, about moments when his dummies have seemed alive enough to surprise him.