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Monday, April 26, 2010

"You know there will be another chapter..."

"You know there will be another chapter..."


Every time I drive to the airport when I visit this city I get nostalgic. This place was the crucible of so much of what I am. Last night, at a show for the station I’m on here, I was caught between an emotional high of being live in front of thousands while taking part in some festivities with the new team I’m on here and the weirdness of being back in the crucible city as a talent where so much of what is now my career was formed.

I think at times it was pretty apparent something was on my mind, but I tried to execute my job as best as I can while playing my ass off for the team I’m on now.

“Does it feel a little weird to be here doing this now like this?” my friend Tommy asked me. He was at this thing I was at working to support the show with some online content stuff. He’s also the current boss of the station that really allowed me to have so many opportunities – professionally and personally – in life.

I paused after he asked the question. I was live for the station at the time on the plaza of this local sports venue where most of the big live concerts happen. There were thousands on the plaza watching some live acts outside perform so you can imagine the ambient noise that was at times deafening.

After he asked that question, it’s like everything just went silent for a few seconds, which seemed like an eternity. Then I answered him.

“Yeah.”

Then the atmospheric noise returned to the pitch you might find on a construction site or at any huge rock music festival. A former senior manager who I used to work for, who had moved on to some different opportunities here and there for himself was there, and we all went to conversing about how things were, how things are, how things always do lead back to where we were for some reason and about the future. Old friends and colleagues spending time reminiscing with awe at how life just has this way of leading you along when you let it – and when you trust it to always lead you to your destination regardless of the path.

And it got me thinking about “then and now…”

After doing some stage announcement stuff, I went up to our suites at the venue and ran headfirst into people I’ve not seen in something like six years. Some there are still doing well in radio while others have, for whatever reason, moved on. Some have had massive life changes and others have had, well, who knows what they’re doing but they’re still doing whatever so they’re around. Others are still some of the greatest people I’ve ever known who continue to dominate in what they do… although the zip code and frequency have changed in the time which has passed.

And some who I met for the first time – I think – expected to see me return to the LOL form that I might have returned too when celebrating the success of the team at a huge event like this.

Had I not been exhausted from a full day of travel and work, they might just have seen that. LOL.

But that fatigue combined with the nostalgia-induced mental heavy lifting from the day got the best of me, and after meeting up with some social type friends and my homie Scantman, who is in my world my former professional rival and among my favorite people in life, I succumbed to the need to retreat to the comfort of cardboard sheets and pillows at the hotel.

As I left the plaza at the venue in the evening after most of the people had left the area, I looked to my left as I walked in the cool breezy air. I lived on this island right across the channel from the venue and as I looked back at it, my mind wandered to the past… when I’d be walking home after a gig and a few too many vodka tonics rather than to a garage to my rental car after a long day of work.

Then, I went back to the hotel. Alone with my thoughts and with others in my thoughts as sleep found its way into my world.

The next day, which is today for those of you reading who want to establish the timeline LOL, I spent most of my time with Kyla, who is the exclamation point and greatest thing to come from my time in that city. We hung at one of her favorite places after I bought a ‘daddy got ratings and they didn’t suck’ present and after a few hours, I was off to the airport.

Driving home, the  ‘then’ and ‘now’ showed up again.

Then: The Taco Bell next to Mons Venus was formerly managed by one of my mentors and friends, and my former boss in this town, the same guy who asked me to join him in my current home city to do it 'one more time...'

Now: It’s Joe’s pizza. I wonder if it’s named after the owner of the establishment next door.

Then: I remember calling the Forum plaza my living room, as I was live before hockey matches and shows while welcoming people to my ‘neighborhood’.

Now: It’s still the same place, but it’s no longer my ‘hood… and Jim Mannino still handles the tickets and box office stuff...

Then: I showed up in this town for an interview and stayed in the airport hotel and had drinks with people at the TGI Fridays across the way and ultimately spent the evening out with my then-bartender and some other new drinking acquaintances before returning to meet who would then be my new boss the next day.

Now: I’m sitting at the Carraba’s across the way waiting for my Southwest flight to take me home after a long weekend of work in the city that helped to get me to where I am now. 

Then: My GM was our GSM and Deskins... well, is still Deskins but he's gone on and come back again, and Kane was the night jock who had just come back...
Now: My GM is my GM and a lifelong friend for years now, Deskins is still Deskins, Kane is my brother and teammmate again on a bigger stage than I've ever imagined playing on...

Then: My old boss and mentor said to me as I walked him out of the building on his last day when he resigned his post with no clear future plans, “You know there will be another chapter…”

Now: I’m still writing this chapter in no small part because of him, his leadership and his friendship. And this chapter is nothing short of amazing.

Then: Isn’t it funny what happens when you let go and trust life to lead you, regardless of which paths you choose to embrace as you go?

Now: Here’s to whatever chapter you’re in on this great adventure we’re on called life.

Thanks for reading.