A Few Days in the Life (March 11, 2020)

March 11, 21:40

The Reverberation Station

It’s been an odd week. I haven’t been to work since last … what? Wednesday or so? Sounds right. I took a day off, and then thought I’d been brought down by a very stubborn bug. Rarely do these things last more than a couple of days. Three, tops. So when I couldn’t stand for nearly five days, it seemed like a good time to see the doctor. I was certain I had the flu. It was actually an ear infection. I was rather stunned.

I’ve had ear infections before. Usually there’s pain or some semblance of hearing loss to go with them. Not this time. Just a lovely buildup of fluid behind my eardrums, wreaking havoc with my equilibrium. A couple of prescriptions, and I was on my way home.

I stopped off at Planet Score on the way to get my meds. Standing and browsing for 20 minutes nearly made me violently ill. So I guess the medical staff was on to something.

One thing I was certain of: my illness had nothing to do with COVID-19. But everything else seems to these days. Talk about a persistent bug!

Sporting events are being played without fans, or being cancelled altogether. Concert tours and festivals are being postponed. Travel is being frowned upon or flat-out restricted. Everyone’s life is being affected, almost without exception.

My travel plans are in a permanent state of limbo, starting with next week’s vacation. My daughter bailed on going to Memphis with me, so I thought I’d take a quick jump to Kansas City. After all, the American Jazz Museum and the. Negro National Baseball League Museum are next door to one another. That, couple of record stores, and a good barbecue meal or two would’ve made for a good trip.

Now? Maybe not so much. I can avoid mass transit by driving. But will the museums be open when I get there? I guess I’ll wait until Monday or so, and figure it out from there.

Meanwhile, a serious writing project looms on the horizon. I’m not authorized to give details yet. But it could be very interesting indeed.

March 14, 00:38

The Reverberation Station

I’ve put most of my superstitions behind me in my middle age. So I believe I can say that as Friday the 13ths go, I had a pretty good day, all things being equal. But we can’t really call things equal, can we?

The world has, in more than a few ways, ground to a halt. Looked at from a certain point of view, this is the ideal time to be an introvert, which I usually am. But I do love my sports, and it’s more than a little odd to know I’ll have to live without them for now.

My ear infection has kept me away from work for a week. I go back for a two-day stretch tomorrow afternoon. Health experts are all about people maintaining a “social distance” between one another. Hearing this caused me to chuckle rather morosely, because such a rule flies directly in the face of what I do for a living. It’s my job to solve problems. I must interact with others to do this. Usually at fairly close range.

I’ve made a couple of jokes about taking people into custody by saying, “You’re under arrest. Would you mind putting these on, please?” And then I’ll toss them my handcuffs. I don’t see that working out all that well. Tomorrow will be a very interesting day, indeed.

I made my way to Planet Score to pick up Jeff Parker’s new album. As I have joked on Instagram, things kind of got out of hand once I got there. Between special orders and last second discoveries, I managed to come home with more than just one LP.

Oops.

Well, it will all serve a purpose in one way or another. That much I’m sure of.

During my illness, I stumbled across a Captain Kirk figure in my local Walgreens. Being the Star Trek geek I am, it only seemed natural to bring him home with me.

Normally, he would just make a home on my desk, and that would be the end of it. It for some reason, I felt the need to send the captain on an adventure or two. Like mysterious discoveries within the Sonic Sanctuary …

Or finding himself perched on my pedalboard …

No doubt he will find other adventures in the coming days. They even come with a Captain’s Log. But you’ll have to go to my socials for those adventures.

Shameless plug over.

I’ve been doing more than a little listening this evening. And while nearly all of it lends to future writing projects, none of it had been any kind of burden. If there is an upside to this Coronavirus madness, it’s that I’ll no doubt be hearing more than a little music. I’ve also been spending a little more time with The Menace, my fingers starting to race over old, familiar scales. No doubt a chunk of my vacation will be spent roaming toward the unfamiliar. I’m even part of the way through three different songs, which I work on depending on my mood. Sometimes being an introvert really does come in handy.

12:18

The Reverberation Station

Inside, relative comfort and Jeff Parker on the turntable. Outside, chill and rain. Well, of course! Because I’m m going back to work in a couple of hours! Oh, well.

It will be interesting to see what the business volume will be. My hunch is the good citizens of my district will figure out a way to keep us busy.

I’ve been told the past week has been a sneak peek at my semi-retired life. To this I say yes. And no.

Granted, I haven’t set foot in my station in a week. But I knew at some point I would have to go back. I also have plenty of reminders of the job at home. My uniform shirts sit out, waiting to go to the cleaners. The other small clues a cop lives here are still out. When they go, then we’ll know I’m done.

I have given away a few clothing items I paid for, since I don’t need them any more. I’ll start turning in some winter gear in about a month. That, most likely, is when things will start to seem real.

16:03

Afternoon Watch

My young charge is working an accident. He’s more than capable, so I’m letting him handle it.

Just read the governor of Illinois has shut down eat-in restaurants for the rest of the month to help control the Coronavirus. So any thoughts of a last-second jaunt to Chicago are out. How long before hotels are closed down, too?

Made my way to the grocery store for a few items, and dunced into a couple of things that seem like gold of late.

I’ve chosen not to hoard these items, as I don’t see the logic in such behavior at the moment. I will respect the bug by washing my hands, cleaning surfaces, and maintaining as much “social distance” as my job will allow. Running about like a maniac makes no sense.

Jazz Sunday has me enjoying the package that arrived a few days ago.

Sometimes, you just have to go with the classics.

March 17, 20:36

The Sonic Sanctuary

Even on vacation, I usually have somewhere I need to be. It is perfectly normal for me to wake up, shake off the mental cobwebs, and remind myself of what I have going for the day. This morning I woke up and there was … nothing. I haven’t left my apartment. I did consider making my very first meatloaf today, but I got busy with other things. That may wind up being tomorrow’s activity.

Yesterday was a decent day in that I got to have a lovely conversation with MoonJune Records president Leonardo Pavkovic. That chat will be a bit of a chore to transcribe, but it appears I will have more than a little time on my hands over the next few days. I was also able to slip over to a friend’s house for dinner. It was a nice way to interact with other humans for a couple of hours. Then it was back home to do some work, mostly in the form of research.

Meanwhile, I was able to edit a different interview, which I will post on Thursday, and finish a record review, which will go up tomorrow. I also hope to assemble my first batch of what I’m calling “Eighth Notes,” quick reviews of many of the albums I have in my stack that need to be handled. The forthcoming project looms, and I am already taking pre-emptive steps to make sure things flow relatively smoothly.

It has become pretty clear that my self-employed hours will mostly consist of the afternoon shift. I’ve never been particularly fond of mornings, and I often find myself working on things well past midnight, which is more than fine with me. Frankly, it has the feel of a musician’s schedule, which will no doubt come in handy.

COVID-19 is interfering with another of my major goals for this vacation. Namely, establishing a semi-retirement routine that will help make it easier to be more of a self-starter. I would like to be in a world where I can wake up, get a little exercise, have a little breakfast, and then read the music headlines for the day. That would lead to my morning social media activity.

Now here’s the wrinkle: I would like to limit my social media time to one period in the morning and one in the evening. This can be easier said than done. But there can be no denying that social media provides an enormous distraction, making it difficult to get things done. See a comment on a post, and stop to reply to said comment. It’s good to interact with followers, I’m told. But it does cut into the efficiency.

On the topic of comments, it’s time to truly embrace a universal axiom, where social media is concerned: You’ll never please everybody, and you’ll never get everybody to agree with you. So stop trying.

Regardless of how well-researched or introspective your thought process may be, someone is going to go out of his way to disagree with you, with varying degrees of nastiness. Halting my day to debate these people is an exercise in futility 98 percent of the time.

People rarely enter comments to get you to change their minds. They are much more interested in telling you how wrong you are, even if they have little to nothing to back up such a claim. Asking people to look at the bigger picture or consider the context might as well be a request to explain the laws of thermodynamics, which I’m guessing the majority of us (self included) cannot do. So, I offer myself a lifeboat: Say what you have to say, and then get out. Whatever they’re unhappy about will eventually pass. 

Back to my research.

March 21, 01:50

Home, social distancing

Five days at home.

Five days. And we’re just getting warmed up.

I suppose I should be … content. I have lots to do, even when I’m doing nothing. To be certain, my television is getting a workout. Netflix, Hulu, my DVR … I’ve had quite a bit to watch, and I’ve seen quite a bit of it.

I’ve made myself watch a variety of things. Documentaries, sci-fi, comic book movies, comedies, dramas … everything except cop shows. Those I simply CANNOT watch any more. Period.

There are a ton of cop shows out there. Some of them are even good. But I won’t watch any of them. No offense to my brethren, but I’m over it. The policy violations, the ridiculous falsehoods in procedure, the interoffice affairs, the lack of paperwork … it’s just too much now. I can only suspend so much disbelief.

Friends ask me if I watch this show or that show. Some of them are surprised by how forceful my “no” is. The sad thing is, I really want to see “Bosch” on Amazon. I just can’t right now. I get enough cop stuff at work, even if I am on vacation. And I still have two more months on the job.

Anyway, I’m not out to discourage anyone. If you want to watch, enjoy yourself. Luther and The Wire are outstanding! But I’m done for the foreseeable future.

Except for Brooklyn Nine-Nine. That show is hilarious!

March 23, 20:29

The Sonic Sanctuary 

While The Tea Club churns away beautifully in the background, I find myself mulling a bit over the future. The next couple of months should prove quite … interesting.

My vacation is over. Back to work tomorrow afternoon. Part of me wonders why I would want to return to my job in the midst of a pandemic, and “social distancing” is a literal impossibility. I have the sick time. I could just back out and call it a career. I’m done in less than two months anyway.

But nothing about that feels right. I have to finish what I started just short of 25 years ago. I take a risk every time I put that uniform on, anyway. This doesn’t feel a lot different. Take the necessary precautions and live to fight another day. It’s all I can do.

I let the cat out of the bag yesterday, and officially announced my commitment to the Bernie Worrell biography. The feedback was quite wonderful. Whether that translates into book sales is another matter altogether. And I’m a long way from worrying about that.

The announcement brought a few people out of the woodwork looking to contribute. In and of itself, that’s fine. But Worrell HQ will have a say on who gets quoted and who doesn’t. Apparently, there is more than a little bullshit floating around out there, and some people are trying to make themselves out to be more important than they actually are.

So I rely on Worrell HQ as a form of “quality control,” which should help keep me from wasting my time. I am on a deadline, after all.

It’s nice to be able to talk about this project. I’ll be using this page to document my progress. Once again, it is the sharp poke in the ribs that keeps me up a little later, makes me take care of one more detail, inches me that much closer to completion. The real work won’t start until around May 10, but I hope to have a lot of prep work done between now and then.

There’s always more to say, but I don’t particularly feel the need to say it. Sometimes, you just have to stop.

#cirdecsongs

You can follow me on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram (cirdecsongs)

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

Would you like to have your album reviewed? Contact me at cirdecsongs@gmail.com

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