I had an early appointment scheduled in Buffalo, Minnesota, which isn’t a bad town and not quite as badly ruined by growth as its neighbors closer to Minneapolis. The area politics spook me, though. I think that’s Minnesota’s Sixth Congressional District. That isn’t good. (cf. Michele Bachmann et al.) I always make sure I have a full tank of gas when I’m in Buffalo.
But I got up and got going, eager to get to Buffalo, when, alas, a noticed a message on my phone: Client cancelling. Funeral.
Too late. I’m on my way so I thought I would make the best of it and go to Buffalo anyway.
En route I stopped at Spurzem Lake. I like Spurzem Lake. It is a pea green mud puddle, but very calming, just as hot bowl of soup is calming. I enjoy standing out on the short dock there at the public access where I try to freak out imagining myself falling in. It is a very freaky place, however. Pretty birds and butterflies circling about take off some of the edge.
I like to leave a handful of peanuts, leftover coffee cake, or whatever else I have in the car for the few chipmunks that skitter about at Spurzem Lake.
With that done, I set off determined not to waste anymore time. In sales, unfortunately, often your time is not your own and your time will be wasted regardless of your efforts. Today would be one of those wasted days, unless you change your focus from sales to something else. I tried a little of both, with some success.
First I took care to set a few last minute appointments which were all graciously — and professionally (an increasing rarity) — set. First appointment: No show. Second appointment was just no. It went like this:
“Oh, thank you for coming in. I don’t need any of your whiz bang today, but I know how much you like to meet.”
With two bombed appointments and one stalled by a funeral, I thought I might stop in to see one of my office’s former clients. (What the hell else was I going to do?) This account dropped on a young rep who worked with us for a short time. My hunch was his inexperience blew it. I would turn it around.
The business owner didn’t have time to meet, but had a half hour to tell me why he didn’t have time to meet. (He just wasn’t happy.) When he explained that they dropped because the rep scolded him for wasting his time not showing up for meetings and meeting to tell him they didn’t want to meet, I gained a little more respect for the boy. I did my best not to hide my admiration for the young rep, set a follow up appointment, and left with smiling assurances that all would be right again soon.
I got back on the road and decided to abandon sales for the day. Let’s have fun, I thought, and I decided to find my way home by feel. What do they call it…reckoning? I looked in the direction of the city, checked the wind just for fun, and found the first road that seemed to head in toward home. Surprisingly, there are a lot of roads that seem to go home and for the most part they don’t really go anywhere. (You can read into that whatever you like.)
It was midday and I decided there must be better things to do. Pissing, for example. I love pulling off the road near overgrown meadows for breaks. In all of that grass there is a lot going on and it makes for great cover. And I ask myself: How did I end up standing in a field dressed in a suit taking a leak asking myself how all this happened?
I don’t know…is that an epistemological or ontological question? Or maybe it is a straw man argument (I certainly looked like one in that field) or perhaps a circular question begging for an answer. Let’s move on.
These questioning moments in the field are not necessarily bad. For me they are quite good. In fact because of them I have been getting a lot done which is another way of saying I haven’t been overly focused on work. The thought of getting something accomplished genuinely appeals to me. So I resolved — I hate that expression — I resolved to get home where I could read and write. I almost made it, too.
Just as I hit a familiar road my phone rings. It is a friend who needs help moving three or four pieces of fence he took down over the weekend. Ok. I always help my friends. I stop at home, change, and meet my friend only to find a couple hour’s of work waiting, not three or four pieces of fence. Heavy work, too; this was no picket fence. It was a freaking timber palisade, strong enough to earn Daniel Boone’s respect. The work felt good, though, and I didn’t mind the labor.
Finally I get home…Home at last. I sharpen a few pencils, find my Sharpies, and pull a draft of writing or two, plus for good measure I select one or two of the many books I am trying to read. That’s when Bob Mould gets in the way.
Tonight is the first night of the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte and there was a promo online or on CBS reminding me that Bob Mould was scheduled for David Letterman. I am especially interested because not so long ago — a week or two maybe — a fifty-something couple approached me while I was into my second bottle of Brunello and asked if I was Bob Mould. I said, Really? They said, Yes, you’re him, right?
Nope. You have the wrong man.
I presumed there must have been some reason they they made the mistake, but I didn’t understand it. Perhaps I was projecting Bob Mould?
Convinced and disappointed that I was telling the truth, they left. But that was kind of strange because I not long ago I picked up on Bob Mould’s recent work. I noticed that he has been getting press for things like a new book, new album, and so on. I thought, If old Bob Mould can do it, why not? So I set out to find better things to do.
I write about this because I always do. These strange confluences of thought and experience intrigue me. I think there is something to them. (Scroll through this blog to find others.) The couple approaching me shortly after I start thinking Bob Mould might be inspiring in some way is a great example. I don’t even know the Bob Mould! although I do know one of his old band mates. (Again, scroll through this blog. He’s in here.)
Even today, if you’ll trust me to be telling the truth, while humming Green Acres on country back roads, I reminded myself that people — like Bob Mould — were still at it, doing things that seemed to be a bit more fun than making small talk with cute executive assistants who only want to tell me that the boss is not in. I am thinking “farm living is the life for me” and then, oh, yeah, that Husker Du guy…and there he is on David Letterman.
I stayed up — way past my bedtime — to watch Letterman. I felt like I was waiting to see Elvis.
I remember Bob Mould being…well, kind of a nondescript guy. Kind of pudgy, if my memory is correct, and unremarkable hair. Even goofy looking.
Now, to be honest, I have seen recent photos of Bob Mould, but they never made an impression. Seeing him on stage brought it all back. I suppose if one squints and has had a few beers they might see some resemblance. I am not nearly as kinetic however. (Remember…I get my kicks standing at the end of the dock hoping I don’t fall off.)
As I get older I have nurtured a propensity to think that things floating in the chaotic cosmic order of things somehow interconnect and believe that we sometimes pick up on a thread which, if we are tuned in, we recognize and follow. I don’t like to put too much stock in outcomes, however, fate and the cosmos share a nasty sense of humor. Considering that each of the very few women I have really loved — I mean super duper really loved — seemed at the time to be one of these rare cosmic connections…well, you’d bust a gut laughing, and I guess there is nothing wrong with that. Maybe that’s what I am here for.
But I think these things exist somehow. I really do. And here is another example to prove it. Or prove me wrong.
- Bob Mould’s Silver Age continues “pop with a punch” (unfinishedperson.com)
- Music Review: Bob Mould’s ‘Silver Age’ puts Husker Du, Sugar icon back to power-pop slate (vancouverdesi.com)
- Song of the Day: Bob Mould – The Descent (kexp.org)