393. Pop Song ’89

In the morning, it was seven days until Ziggy’s thirty were up. Jonathan had a meeting, so he got up, somewhat bleary from a hangover, and I got up with him, somewhat bleary from staying up too late. But I wanted to do some shopping and so I drove him to the meeting and dropped him off, then took the SUV to do errands.

I was buying a computer like the one I had at home, so I could hook it up to Remo’s DX7 and get my email. I didn’t go crazy with spending money, but I figured Remo could use it and it was the least I could do for letting us stay.

I did some record shopping after that, after getting some recommendations from the guy in the computer store on where to go, and bought a bunch of CDs at some smaller shops, before ending up in Tower. I couldn’t bring myself to buy anything in Tower, but it was kind of fun to look around. I even found Sarah Rogue’s indie album in the “folk” section. Absolutely no one acted like they recognized me, but I didn’t actually interact with anyone in there. I imagined a parallel universe where this was the Tower where I had worked.

Imagine if Remo had taken me with him all those years ago. And I had… I dunno… lied about my age and got a job here. I would’ve learned to drive a lot sooner, that’s for sure. Remo probably would’ve been charged with kidnapping, though. Well, maybe not. Who was going to complain, my mother? Doubtful.

I hadn’t thought about that in a long time. There was no realistic way it could have worked. I knew that. But it was one of those scabs I used to pick at when I felt like I was going nowhere.

And where are you going now? said that ugly little voice of doubt in the back of my head. Your career is dead in the water without Ziggy…

I reminded myself I hadn’t eaten since the half of an English muffin I’d had in the car on the way into town. I took that as a cue to go to the deli where I was supposed to meet Jonathan.

He wasn’t there yet, but it was the sort of place that wouldn’t care if I took up a table for a while, or so J. had surmised when we had picked it as our rendesvous point. “If you get there first, it’s fine, because you’re famous.”

“What if you get there first?” I asked.

“I’ve got my laptop, I’ll get some work done, and if they give me a hard time I’ll explain I’m waiting for someone famous.”


I got into a discussion with a waitress that went sort of like this:

Me: Okay, so I’m kind of craving roast beef because I’m hungry, but isn’t roast beef kind of bland?
Her: Put mustard on it?
Me: Not a huge fan of mustard.
Her: What about corned beef instead? Or pastrami?
Me: What’s pastrami? I mean, I know it’s a sandwich thing, I just never thought about it before.
Her: It’s kind of like corned beef. Only spicier. Sounds like just the thing, doesn’t it?
Me: Huh, it does. Can I get it with cheese?
Her: What kind of cheese do you like? We’ve got swiss, cheddar, provolone…
Me: I’ve never really like swiss, cheddar eh, provolone doesn’t really taste like anything, does it?
Her: American then?
Me: No. I feel like I’ve outgrown American.
Her: What, you want like goat cheese or something? We’ve got the spreadable kind. It’s like cream cheese.
Me: Heyyyy. What about cream cheese?
Her: You know, I never thought of having cream cheese and pastrami, but now that I think about it, it sounds kind of good.
Me: It does?
Her: Yeah. Lettuce and tomato?
Me: Um, good question.
Her: You know, to give it some crunch.
Me: I’ve never been a big lettuce fan.
Her: How about cucumber?
Me: Will that work?
Her: Cucumber sandwiches are an English thing. But it should work.
Me: Okay, sure.
Her: What kind of bread?
Me: Isn’t it supposed to be pastrami on rye?
Her: Rye it is. You want that grilled?
Me: Uh…
Her: Grilled it is.

So that’s how I ended up with a grilled sandwich of pastrami, cream cheese, and cucumber and damn it was good.

I was licking hot cream cheese off my face when J. came in. “What are you eating?”

“Don’t ask,” I said. “How was your meeting?”

“Long.” He waved down the waitress, ordered a cheeseburger, and then looked at me again. “No really, what are you eating?”

So I explained that I had started out trying to order roast beef and had ended up with pastrami, cream cheese, and cucumber, grilled, and that it was good enough I was considering ordering a second one. “But seriously, how was the meeting?”

He sighed. “Good, I guess. Every day they don’t throw me out for being a fraud I consider a moral victory, at least.”

He didn’t seem inclined to say much more about it. I figured if he wanted to talk about the details, he would. He switched the subject to my day, and I showed him the CDs I’d bought.

“Hey, which reminds me to ask you,” I said, “what’s the story with Sarah Rogue?”

“She was at the party last night, right?”

“She’s a client of Digger’s now, apparently.”

“Ah, interesting. She got some college radio play last year but I don’t really know more than that.”

“I found her record in the folk bin today but I’m pretty sure that’s just industry-speak for ‘acoustic.” She didn’t look much like a folk artist last night. I get the feeling they’re trying to jazz up her image.”

“And she isn’t jazz, either,” Jonathan joked.

After we ate, we drove home, which meant we sat in a bunch of traffic, but that’s just how it is around there. After we got in, J. went to do his daily typing while I went into the studio to set up the Mac. I ended up having to go back out to a Radio Shack to get a phone cord long enough to run from the main part of the house to the modem, since there wasn’t a phone jack in the studio. Fortunately there are malls open until nine. Insert obligatory “Valley Girl” reference here.

I didn’t know very many people with email so once I had caught up on that, I played around with music until I got hungry. Sometime around midnight Jonathan and I met in the kitchen and split a big can of Dinty Moore Beef Stew I found in the cabinets, and then we were going to watch a movie and ended up having sex instead.

(Warning for nudity in this video…)

(Here’s a work safe acoustic version…)


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