The Michelin Man.
Here’s my Friday 2012-01-11 Memo of the Air show for you to download. I did it in the new office. Now I’m really considering doing it from the transmitter trailer; it’s distracting to be reading complicated material quietly into a microphone with a Friday night liquor bar going on next door, especially after midnight, when the people stand around outside the bar, in the alcoves of the nearby storefronts, one of which is KNYO now, and they’ve been drinking, because it’s a bar, and people who drink tend to converse at the top of their lungs and repeat themselves a lot and shriek and bellow and even cheer at random intervals. They’re having their fun and that’s fine, but you get it now about why radio stations generally hide their broadcast booth in a tiny soundproof room in the back of the shop — I mean, besides that most radio stations are running on automation or a satellite or internet feed most if not all of the day and night, and it looks so bad when people can walk by and see that. Though I suppose for most people that doesn’t look all that bad, because it’s normal anymore. It looks bad to me –it looks like exactly what it is, in a situation like that: some private person or corporation (or both) with an ill-gotten shitload of money essentially bought a frequency and is only pretending to serve the community with it while not actually doing any serving at all. And there’s no-one like me in places like that, for obvious reasons.
But the main thing that was distracting this last Friday night was the cold I caught earlier in the week that was really starting to chug along by the time I got back from Juanita and the Bay Area and got to the radio station. And there’s yet another unfamiliar new setup to work in, in the yet unfinished office, that Bob Young put together in his endless labor of love for volunteer radio. My purely selfish contribution in this regard was to tack up a plastic tablecloth to keep a little of the electrical heat around my reading easel. Again: long underwear, two sweaters, sock-hat, scarf, fingerless gloves. Pants this time, though.
Near the end of the show, you’ll hear where several things went wrong with the equipment at once and I systematically ran down the problems so to play the proper episode of Boston Blackie, which activity at the time was nervous-making, but I just listened to that part of the recording and it’s kind of neat. You don’t often hear that sort of thing on the radio: the airperson switching back and forth between talking to himself and talking to you, and moving equipment around and checking wires and opening and closing things. And there’s genuine comical/pathetic triumph in my (hoarse) voice when Boston Blackie finally begins to work right, to play at all and also to play undistorted and at an audible volume through both channels. “Fixed! Wonderful!”
The capper of the evening for me, though, was getting home at 4:30am to a house exactly thirty-three degrees Fahrenheit inside, for my not having been there for a week, and the power was out, so I couldn’t set my computer ripping the audio of my show for you from the video camera. I lit the oil lamp and chopped up some wood and made a fire in the stove and went to bed in my clothes. And today I bundled up like the Michelin Man again and, sneezing and coughing, fixed my electricity. And that’s my story.
No, wait, there’s a little more. I had promised to go to my mother’s house for dinner at 7pm, and I didn’t want to expose her to my germs, so I called (around 3pm) and begged off. But when she called back, I had the phone turned off, so at around 10:30 Saturday night (still tonight for me) I noticed the light on my answering machine was blinking, and there were several increasingly frantic messages from my mother because I had said I was sick and now I wasn’t answering the phone, and when I called to tell her that I hadn’t dropped dead of the killer flu epidemic she’s been hearing about on teevee, she said she called some of my friends and my employer Tim and left messages there too, because where was I if I wasn’t dead.
It’s nice that somebody cares that much. It’s nice, and it’s sweet, and it’s funny.