A Few Days in the Life (11/20/19)

November 20, 20:53

Afternoon watch

I swear, I think I’m training a teenager.

Oh, he’s plenty mature. He just looks like he’s never seen the business end of a razor. How did I get so old so fast?

A friend pointed out that out being middle-aged makes twenty-somethings look that much younger. Sadly, she’s not wrong.

Even within our report writing room, I’m the elder with all the answers to the young officer’s questions. I believe I’ve achieved Obi-Wan Kenobi status.

I’m deeply annoyed with myself because This Will Destroy You is in town tonight, and I completely forgot about it. Maybe I could have adjusted my schedule. I guess we’ll never know now. Dammit.

November 21, 11:35

Long Day #1

A super grey day. The skies look ready to open up at any second. I’m sure I’ll be out here for it. It’s gonna be at least a 12-hour day.

As it happened, This Will Destroy You was playing in my patrol district. My probie got to go home early. I was due a break. It was the perfect storm. The guys at the venue know me, and allowed me to walk in. So I caught about 15 minutes of the show.

Apparently, This Will Destroy You has a huge dry ice budget. The air was positively thick with it, like a dense fog. I’m sure it added to the gig’s ambience, given the music. For the briefest moment, I could even make out the bassist on stage.

The music was as heavy as I thought it would be, and highly emotional. I wish I could’ve seen the whole thing. Since I wasn’t planning on seeing a concert, I didn’t have my earplugs with me. If I didn’t understand before, the point of how well that $50 investment has protected my hearing was fully driven home.

Back outside and talking post-rock, I got a couple of guys very enthusiastic about We Lost the Sea after playing “Bogatyri” via Bandcamp. Always nice to make a musical connection.


It’s funny how things work out. I keep my phone on “vibrate” mode at all times. No sound. When I go to bed, I charge it in my living room. I usually go to bed with my iPad playing, so I charge that in the bedroom.

Last night, I charged the phone in the bedroom, since I chose to read a book before bed. I wasn’t planning to get up until 9, but the phone rang at 0700, when I found out I needed to get my daughter to school. Had the phone been in its regular place, I wouldn’t have heard it. Go figure.

Everything for a reason, I guess.


Ain’t no drama like family drama. That much I know for certain. I’m not gonna go into detail, other than to say it could’ve been worse. And it nearly was.

But the ship has begun to right itself. That’s what matters.

November 24, 13:03


I’m tired. Positively drained. Yesterday’s 14-hour shift didn’t help. All I can think now is I have nothing more to give. Alas, I must make it through one more shift before my Monday/Tuesday “weekend.”

It’s Jazz Sunday, and I’m holding true to form. My concentration seems to be centered around a legend.

Funny thing: I thought I’d sneak a Branford Marsalis album in between Dizzy records. But the Branford LP seems to be a little warped. I was certain the problem was the turntable. But when I swapped out Branford for the next Diz, everything went back to normal. Message from beyond, perhaps? I’m calling it a lesson in focus.

My retirement plans are no secret. Naturally, this comes with a smattering of ball-busting from the occasional co-worker looking to convince me that I’m not leaving any time soon. Usually, I don’t care. Sometimes I find it annoying. Yesterday’s hazing, I realized today, made me a little sad. But not for myself.

I realized I was dealing with someone who had been on The Job for so long, he probably can’t conceive of the idea of life without it. He’s a lifer. He’s locked in. This is what he knows. Once this is done, that’s probably the end.

How frightening. Yet it’s not uncommon.

I’ve always aimed to make my job what I do, as opposed to who I am. Don’t get me wrong: I’ve straddled the line more than once in the past quarter century. But I’m past that now.

Not only can I conceive of a life without policing, I yearn for it! With all due respect to everyone living out their lifelong ambitions, the dream is over for me. Done. It’s time to move on. Time to get to my true dream. Time to explore who I really am.

Is it a frightening concept? Of course it is! But that’s how I know it’s the right choice.


Afternoon watch.

I wanted to watch the Bears game today. Given my midwestern location, I figured that’s what my local Fox station would go with. Alas, I got the Seahawks and the Eagles. I was about to get annoyed, but then I thought about the combined records of the Bears and the Giants, and the marked lack of playoff viability.

Conclusion: the Bears/Giants game was the ratings equivalent of a pile of hot, wet garbage. The decision not to show the game was understandable. At least the Bears won.

Trying to muscle my way through the watch. It’s a struggle, but I’ll get there. I’m keeping myself amused by giving my young trainee lessons in both basic patrol and beginning Jazz.

Sometimes, it’s good to revisit the classics.


In re-reading The Real Frank Zappa Book, I’m remembering what I loved about this autobiography. I’m also remembering what I didn’t care for.

I’m also reading this book the same way I read Miles Davis’s autobiography for the second time. I’m much more knowledgeable about the world in general and music in particular. A lot of things that I didn’t understand then make much more sense now. That makes it more enjoyable.

But Frank also comes across as even more bitter and cynical than I remember. I’m not saying his point of view is wrong. I just don’t remember it having this much bite to it.

I also remember wishing Frank had taken more time to talk about his bands, the musicians therein, and their time both in the studio and on the road. He touches on a few things like that, but doesn’t really go into depth. That’s too bad.

Then again, should I really be surprised by the lack of conventional format in a book by Frank Zappa? Probably not. The biography I’m looking for is probably out there. I’ll have to hunt it down.


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Check out my book, I Can’t Be the Only One Hearing This: A Lifetime of Music Through Eclectic Ears. It’s available from Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and other fine book dealers.

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