The temperature has dropped into the single digits. You can feel it as you walk barefoot on the 15-year-old carpet to the washroom. Time to ride the bike to work.
I don't know why, really, but when it gets really cold I like to ride the bike to work. It must be the solitude. You ride along in the bitter cold knowing that you won't run into anyone and have to nod or stop and that's really a good thing.
Radio, bike riding, solitude. That's where I'm going. There's a certain solitude of riding your bike at five in the morning when there's not a soul outside. They're all in cars, trucks, trains, houses, buildings, radio stations. It's the solitude of far off trains in the middle of the darkness, the ambient noise of 80-94 as you pedal under it, alone. Nobody bugging you.
It's a similar solitude of sitting or standing at the mixing board, laptop, turntable, in what seems like the middle of the night. There is cold and darkness in the world around you, so you start talking. Out there driving or sitting at a kitchen table or working in a warehouse is that one person listening to the really important and funny things that you have to say. It's solitude, yours and his, hers.
Anyways, on a Tuesday between the holidays when it is, as a Local 41 member would say, colder than a witch's tit and darker than six inches up a stovepipe, it's time to ride the bike to work. Ryan's off for a few days so it'll be Cristina Cortez producing. She's 17 and in high school and has been with me for a year or so already. A real talent with the machines, she says she wants to direct films one day. Quiet, competent, smart as hell. She can handle the morning show. And one day she'll no doubt handle an entire film. Don't bet against her.
Verly Suggs joins me this morning. In a text I asked what I should prepare. "No need," she wrote, "got ya covered." No kidding. Verly will come with notes and lists and citations and a whole outline of local things we should talk about. Instead of my mindless rambling it'll be competent, researched talk about important issues facing the Calumet Region. Real radio vs. JED radio.
Today, since it is New Year's Eve Eve, Verly will most likely want to hit the important stories of 2014, which will no doubt bring us to the brutal murders of Jeff Westerfield and Nick Schultz. They were both police officers ambushed in the line of duty, one in Gary and one in Merrillville. I've probably been avoiding re-talking about these but gotta do it. Thomas Vann will no doubt make the list. He's reportedly admitted to killing six or seven women around the Region and stuffing their bodies in abandoned homes in Gary. Yikes. Kinda avoiding that one, too. Verly will handle it. She always does.
.... By the way, it's about time for a little vacation. As a radio station owner slash morning host slash technology officer slash marketing account executive slash head sleeper... you sometimes think that your radio station can't run without you. You work all day and then when you're not working on radio you're thinking about it. You're constantly checking the bank account online and when there actually is enough money to pay everyone, you move on to worrying about the machines breaking down. When they're all working, then you worry about compliance, insurance, taxes, lawsuits. It doesn't stop and you think that if you're not there it'll all break down and then where would you be?
Precisely when you're as deep into these recurring worries as you could possibly be - that you have to work more and more or the whole radio world will fall apart - that's precisely when you need a vacation. Voila. So there. Maybe in February some time. Or March. Or maybe I'll just clear my mind by riding my bike to work in a 10 below windchill. That works too.