Saturday, August 27, 2011

Day 101: Hang on

The worst part of being without work for a while is the rollercoaster effect. Good days, bad days. Enthusiasm, pessimism.

When I was 8, my family moved to Dallas. For one year it was a little scary... new school, riding a school bus, aftercare, and living with my brother and my mom in this little apartment. You just kind of went with it.

I really got into music. Probably because I lived someplace that had real radio stations for the first time. I had a small blue plastic radio. The thing couldn't have been as large as a lunchbox. I don't even think it picked up FM stations but at the time there was a pretty good AM station in Dallas, KLIF. The Mighty 1190.

There was a DJ... I think he called himself "The Bama Boy." Yes, really. Anyway, he did the late night show and played a lot of rock and pop music. Who knows how the filter of memory colors your perception, but I thought he was pretty good. My brother and I slept in a little room with twin beds. I'd turn on the radio and put it in the bed next to my head, with the sound turned down low so that I could hear it and not bother anyone. For some reason the song I associate the most with this is a song by Brook Benton called "Rainy Night in Georgia." To this day it reminds me of the little boy I might have been.

Radio reception always floated in and out. On good nights you could hear WOAI out of San Antonio -- the "50,000-watt blowtorch" -- or even more exotic, WLS out of Chicago. It thrilled a pre-teen boy to think of places so far away.

Sometimes the sound came in loud and clear. Sometimes you'd tweak and tune all night trying to nail that frequency, and never or rarely could.

That's what it feels like trying to master your emotions during a time like this, when you need to find a job and you are worried and stressed out about what will happen to you. You want -- hell, you NEED -- to be cool, collected, and sometimes you are. Other times you are just lost. You can't get a clear signal.

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