SATURDAY, OCTOBER 24, 2009
A BETTER VANISHED TIME?
Second in an occasional series…One of the nice things about social media sites like facebook is the opportunity it presents you to reconnect with family, friends and co-workers of times gone past. Out of that for us last night came a gathering of some alumni of a particular radio station both my wife and I worked at, matter of fact it’s where we met.I spent over 16 years there, she was there for only two – and we both left in 2002 when things started getting political, a little too corporate and suddenly drama became the calling of the day rather than fun and loyalty. However, as it was, and remains one of the most iconic radio stations in a very large market, we, like most people who spent time there tend to look back on our days quite fondly.
So our evening out was a chance to meet up and catch up with some old friends. For a kick, many of us showed up attired in some old station logo wearable. Jackets, sweatshirts, softball jerseys – it was a wide mix of people who were there in the early 80’s through current staffers – so it was a fairly eclectic representation of once-cool 80’s black satin jackets to the more stylish fleece representations of the current crew. Sadly, I found my once popular satin staff jacket a little too snug to wear in public, so I opted for a late 90’s denim number.
On the way to the bar – I shared a story that I probably have told Chrissy a hundred times already (I tend to repeat myself and my stories quite often). Rock clubs were huge on Long Island in the late 80’s and early 90’s, and I handled most of them for the station. So, I spent an awful lot of nights in bars and nightclubs. One of the perks of working for the radio station was the ability to wear these jackets in public – but you actually had to earn the right to buy them – as in the nightclub world it often meant free admission, free drinks, full access and pretty much anything else you’d like. Once in the clubs they would work like a magnet – as people would hang around you trying to get whatever they thought you could do for them. Have you heard this one before? As I said I tend to repeat myself. I have to admit – it was nice to feel a little like a minor celebrity from time to time even though I was ultimately a nobody and I’m sure I’m not the only one to share that sentiment. Anyway – being so much younger than me – she really didn’t seem to believe it. Really, who gives a shit if you’re from a radio station anyway was her feeling – then again, it was a different time when she was closing down the bars than when I was running the promotions.
Anyway – one of the nice things to come out of last night was the confirmation of that particular story. Several of my peers from that period brought it up as we were talking about the old days. Nice. Confirmation that not ALL of my stories are creative bullshit.
The evening was a lot of fun – it’s amazing how so many people really haven’t changed all that much over many years. Something to be said about working in an industry you enjoy keeping you young. Something else to be said as well about leaving that industry when you’re no longer feeling the passion you once did, as several of the group have done as the years have passed. Gave me a lot to think about on the drive home.
Having spent nearly 25 years in the industry in one market gave me a fairly good reputation (surprising considering my jackass personality). I’ve spoken to several organizations since being laid off last month, but since I’m abiding to a contracted severance, I haven’t been as aggressive as I probably could be. If you’ve had the great misfortune to have read one of my recent postings you may be already aware that we’re pursuing the option of starting up something on our own, so that idea has been the primary object of our efforts.
Nonetheless, I’m not going to be blind enough to not look into the best possible opportunities as they may present themselves. I had received several calls from the president of a large radio organization to sit down and chat about some options. We had agreed to meet yesterday morning. I was looking forward to it, and even felt a bit nostalgic in the morning getting up at a normal workday hour and donning a nifty suit and tie. Polished my shoes, shaved, flossed – yup I was ready to go. I arrived at the pre-arranged destination (one of the several thousand diners here on the Island) and grabbed a booth. Flo (I’m assuming that was her name – aren’t all diner waitresses named Flo?) brought me a cup of coffee while I waited. And waited. Then waited some more.
Typically, I’ve always adhered to a 30-minute wait period, then I’m out. There is always something that can come up – traffic, emergency meeting, tsunami, so I figure a half an hour is more than fair. In a sales situation too it is tactical – you need to show that your time is valuable as well. Yesterday I sat almost 45 minutes, and for the first time in weeks found myself pissed off. I paid for my coffee and left. Nobody stands up Bonehead.
As I drove away I waited a good fifteen minutes until I was a little less angry before I called to say “Ummm…did you forget about me?” Shit happens, and basically it was inadvertent, so we’re going to try again next week (really – what the fuck else do I have to do?) but it really made me think. I came home and told Chrissy and Junior Miss Giddy that I’d been stood up – and they both said that maybe it’s a sign. Maybe it is.
There were some great memories from my career in the past – and radio has afforded me a very nice lifestyle and perks over the years. But that was then. Just because there were plenty of happy memories doesn’t mean that doing something new and different in the future won’t provide more. I worried that seeing old friends from the past would simply make me relent and give in to the easy solution of jumping back to what I know. And what I know is not what it once was. I think the missed connection of yesterday morning, made me look at a quick glimpse back into that past with a very different view.
Time doesn’t really exist, and life is simply a series of events. It’s this that I need to keep reminding myself – because if I can control anything, it’s the events that are to come.
So why not wait another 25 years or so to look back on today as the better vanished time? Seems like the reasonable thing to do.