Fall and Winter Music

November 1, 2009

WORKING eight hours and making my way to Washington for another two or three hours a night; this has been a rough week so far.

On my commute home today, I could feel how cold it really was. The forecasts stated as much but fifty-four degrees is not really experienced until your elbow is rolling through it at sixty plus. After five minutes at home its back on the road to Washington. On my way through the door, I noticed Strangeways, Here We Come and I grabbed it, sticking it in my pocket. I leave as proud as a parent can be, my son olleing off of two planks of wood positioned between the curb and the driveway.

A rush and a push as my momentum backward stops and first gear drags me forward.

Fall and winter music. I have discussed seasonal music with other people that I would classify as having reached the point where they have forgotten more about music than you ever knew. They share the same concept. Some rap can be fall and winter music (Getto Boys) but there is not much hiphop that can fall into that classification. The Pixies and Billy Bragg – everything prior to The Great Leap Forward – The Housemartins; Tom Waits and Don Caballero specifically What Burns and Don Cab 2.

DC is great in the spring too. Cold cobalt days that never get above 50 and sting from rain. Early spring in Pittsburgh.

MAKING my way to the huge hill between the Canonsburg and Medowlands exits on 19N, I reached for a CD in the passenger door pocket. Inserting I load This Is Our Music into the cd player, I begin the decent past Meadow Brook(?)*and I travel back, to a feeling in a moment.. where I was ten years ago.

And I remember what I was thinking about and almost every detail of memorable moments of that day. I have been through so many life changes in the interval between this current moment and ten whole years. I can barley remember that person. What I do remember plays like a movie that I am watching. I don’t remember that guy personally, but I can describe what he did. Went to school part-time and worked in a local Pittsburgh Plant and Flower store chain that went belly up because of the lack of book keeping; from shelve stacker to greenhouse keeper. Even having done the worst flower arrangement ever because the flower arranger had a customer that she didn’t like so she wanted to ensure a shitty bouquet for the woman.

The best part of that job was the final Christmas season that I was there. The manager of the store completely hated me so she would get these calls for wreath deliveries to places like Gibsonia and Robinson Washington County and ask me, “Do you feel like driving to [insert locality] ?

She was a complete and total cunt. She would treat me like the biggest piece of shit ever, always nasty and pretentious. Her husband had died a few years before I started working there and I think thisis what made her so bitter. I used to tell my co-workers that she killed him for insurance money. This is the first good example of me then and now, I would never do something like that today… well I still might but I would definitely limit my audience.

One Sunday really sticks out in my mind. I drove about 300 miles that day in a 10 hour shift; about 24 local deliveries alone. This Is Our Music was the soundtrack for the entire day. I was so high that day that I left twice without the deliveries. I remember the smell of the snow in the air – the taste of the cold on my tongue and the store with Christmas trees fully lit, lining the walls. I remember the putrid stench of the Poinsettias gassing off because they were bagged to long.

I quit that job soon after, I walked out and never went back on Christmas Eve. Karen the Plant and Flower Warehouse manager proved to be a maniacal bitch. She hired a highschool kid who started on Christmas Eve and gave him all of the deliveries, religating me to sweeping. I worked about half of my shift and told her, “Give me some of those deliveries…please?”
She smiled and told me, in front of people to shut up and sweep the floor. I dropped the broom and left. I never went back. The only person that I worked with that I considered a friend, the assistant manager, called to let me know that I was “no longer needed.” She wanted to know if I wanted to come back because she could talk to Karen and smooth everything out. I told her thanks but not to bother. I had a job two weeks later at UPMC in the Center for Continuing Education in the Health Sciences; what would eventually become my first I.T. job.

IN that aforementioned moment, I somehow took that whole day in and felt it in the span of a minute, two, five, I’m not too sure how long it lasted. Looking to my right, I realized that I had reached my destination.

Karen was fired for stealing and customer complaints a year later.

(Originally published October, 2006)

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