2006-04-27 - 11:42 a.m.

Today is brought to you by the year 1986.

First let me warn you that I will not find comments such as "I wasn't born yet" or "My favorite song was wheels on the bus cause I was 3" even remotely amusing.

Driving in today I was listening to a complilation cd I made that had this live version of Jewel's Foolish Games on it. There was a line from it that made me think of the very first time I spoke to Jeff.

You remember Jeff, Jefferson William White...I just have to throw his name out there randomly from time to time because I know sooner or later either he's going to google himself, or that wife of his (ex wife by now?) will and maybe they'll find this and comment and I can track him down and find out how in the hell he's doing...I digress:

I got the most vivid flash of the day I spoke to him for the first time. It was broadcasting school and life was spectacular. I was 100% at the top of my game.

We were having "lab" which I think now is a hysterical way of saying we were doing a mock radio show for 3 hours (lab has such a different context in my life now).

For these "labs" which we had every wed afternoon one student in our class would be chosen by the teacher (a radio professional) to be the program director and one would be chosen as news director.

(This has nothing to do with the story but I've not walked down this particular memory lane in years so indulge me, or skim, whatever)

Every student got a turn at both director jobs. They would be told at least a week in advance of their day to run the show and they would be expected to "hire talent" or dj's and news casters from the class and develop both a vibe for the station (rock, r&b, talk - which no one ever chose,) and the daily log- the sheet that said what time commercial breaks and PSA's would be and which ones they were and whether they were carted or live...all that junk.

I loved these afternoon shows. Each PD would choose 3 dj's, each got an hour to play whatever they wanted and just essentially do a real show that was broadcast into the classroom. You only had to come if you were in the show.

I think there may have been one week I wasn't chosen as talent. In retrospect it was bad for students who really wanted to get in there and work on their stuff but the pd wanted a good grade so they chose the better announcers.

I was good at this. Understand, I'm not bragging. I was shocked, I had never been good at anything in my life. I had been a miserable student, I didn't have many friends in high school, I never got the lead in the school play (actually, as I reread this, that's a lie, I had the lead in the first school play I did freshman year but it was method acting, I was playing a brat) and I never got the boy.

At broadcasting school I finally found something that ignited my passion and I was the class star. I was confident in my ability and studied like a crazy person to know exactly what I wanted and how I was going to get it.

I would frequently sit, much to our teacher Bill's chagrin, in the window of our classroom. Our school was a 4 story brownstone in Boston's Back Bay. It was an old place, beautiful but crumbling. Our classroom was on the fourth floor and I would sit in the only window with my feet dangling out, with no fear of falling. I could sit there all day and just listen to the music and get lost in watching the city.

Enter Pam. Pam was the class alcholic and this day's news director.
Pam kept a full size bottle of rum in her purse at all times and never came back from lunch break sober enough to stand without swaying.

I was sitting in my window and watched Pam stumble up the front stairs of the building. Soon she made her way to the fourth floor and approached me in the window,
"You're really good at this shit y'know? If I was half as good as you I'd quit drinking. Tell me how you're so good at this?"

Assfaced. She decided she was going to be just like me and this included crawling into the window with me.

I was considerably smaller then, Pam was not. This window was not meant for one person, certainly it would not hold two. When I felt myself start to slip out I instead pushed in and looked for somewhere to escape Pam's questions.

I did what no one ever did back then. I entered the studio. This studio was the size of a shower stall. This was early enough on in our time at school that you didn't know everyone's name, even though there were less than 20 of you, and you never EVER entered a studio someone else was in. We were all too embarassed about the headphones, about looking like an idiot, don't watch me do this, I don't even want you HEARING me do this.

I didn't even know who was "on the air" I just wanted away from Pam.

I closed the door behind me and turned. BAM. Hot boy.

The first time I noticed him was the first day of class. Down in the basement classroom which will live forever in my memory as the place where I first kissed the man who will always be my first true love.

I get ahead of myself.

I saw him, I had an actual chest pain. I didn't breath for long seconds and then my head said, "He's too beautiful. He has a girl, and even if he doesn't, he doesn't want you."

And like that I forgot he existed.

Until I was faced with having invaded his studio, in a rather noisy fashion at that.

"I'm sorry. Pam is out of control, almost pushed me out of my window."

"It's okay. Don't worry about it. She's nuts."

"I'm sorry, I don't know your name." I have no idea what prompted me to tell him that. It was true, I didn't know it, but it's not like I needed it at that moment, it's not like he wouldn't have said it at some point in his show...what made me tell him I didn't know his name?

Something did, because it got a response that may mean nothing to you but to this day I recall exactly the way in which he said it:

"Well I know yours," and he proceeded to tell me my name. Not the first name that everyone calls me, not just the real first name, not even the real first and last name.

This boy recited to me my real first name, which I never EVER use, my middle name, my confirmation name, and my last name.

I was blown away.

And then he told me that I amazed him.

We went out for coffee after lab that day at a Brighams in the Prudential towers that I am sad to say is long gone. It might be for the best because if it were still there I might be like Lola at the Copa, sitting, faded feathers in my hair, reliving the glory days still.

In that afternon he told me that he knew my full name because on the very first day of speech class we were asked to stand and talk about ourselves for 3 full minutes (try it, in front of strangers, at 19 or 20. you'd be shocked how little you have to say). The first thing I did was introduce myself with my full name, I made a joke of it, but I didn't even remember doing it when Jeff told me, let alone now, all these years later.

We sat in the Brighams for 4 hours. I barely spoke a word the entire time. He told me everything about his life. About his crazy mother, his drug selling brother, his messed up sister, his father whom he idolized. He laid his soul bare and was the most intense and intersting creature I could imagine.

As we walked to the subway he told me, "I've just told you things I've never told anyone."

I didn't know then how poinant that was, but as I grew to know him better I found what an amazing gift it was to be the one person he felt safe enough to share all of himself with.

I didn't mean to go that far into the story, I only meant to say that I'm feeling nostalgic and looking to wallow.

I'm hunting down as many songs as I can remember from then. He was big into R&B and dragged me into it with him, though my music ran more to the Kate Bush, Siouxsie and the Banshees and Til Tuesday.

Now I want all the R&B stuff I associate so closely with him. LaVert, Surface, Regina Bell...I know some of you can help me with this, even if it's not what you remember your supersluething online should be of some use here.

Also, if you weren't an embryo, tell me about your life circa 1986.

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