This One’s Gonna’ Bruise

The alarm goes off. I hit snooze. I hit snooze again. I hit snooze a third time. I slide out of bed slowly, creeped out from dreams I don’t remember.

My back aches in a new place, way down low at the base of my spine. I do my Masters and Cobras. Still hurts.

I pull on my biking clothes, and walk downstairs. My tires need air. I fill them, throw the bike on my shoulder, and ascend five flights to the street. The air is sticky already, and the sun’s not even up. I climb on the bike and pedal towards the park. My breaks squeal horrendously at the first stop.

I ride around the park, iTunes in my ear. I rock out to Switchfoot’s “Stars” and The Damnwells’ “Kiss Catastrophe.” I race down the big hill, then charge back up, remembering my first ride in Central Park over ten years ago. For a second, all is well.

I grab coffee at Starbucks, walk home, then fry an egg. I watch Katie and Matt for a second. My mood sours.

I try and juggle The MTV with booking The Broken Hearts Acoustic Revue. I whip up a quick BHAR web site. Friends write from Boston, Charlotte, and Iowa City and ask, “When are you coming? Where are you playing?” They suggest their favorite venues, unaware, presumably, that a peon like me won’t get booked there without a major label deal and tons of radio exposure. I’m just as likely to play Madison Square Garden. Meanwhile, I’ve scarcely printed out CD art or duplicated the CDs themselves. I surf the web for venues, enlisting Chris and Wynn’s help. At worst, I figure, we’ll play some shows in New York, and maybe a few elsewhere.

I cancel a supervisee’s vacation in lieu of a broadband show about a second rate film. I attend meetings on RSS, Sundance, and daily news. I am humorless. Colleagues pop into my office, each one leading with, “Can I ask you a quick question?” None of their questions are quick.

Chris calls. He has to work late. Jen has to attend an open house at her school. I offer to baby-sit Ethan. “Can you be there by six o’clock?”

“No problem,” I say. “My boss loves Ethan.”

The day passes. I can’t get the CD covers to print right. I can’t weed out my inbox. I can’t crack a smile.

At 5:30, the CEO of MTV Digital IMs me. “How long ’til Britney’s live?”

“What’s your source?” I ask.

At 6:05, Britney’s Baby’s Breaking News on the site, I walk into my boss’ office. “I have to run. My cell’s in my pocket, my Blackberry’s in my bag, and my laptop is WiFi.” His eyes widen. He is not happy. I spend five minutes explaining contingency plans for my brief absence. “Tell you what,” I say, “I’ll take a cab as not to ever be offline.”

I call Jen at ten after six. The street is crowded with post-matinee tourists. I grab a cab — the slowest, it seems, in all of New York City. I call Jen again at 6:17 from 79th Street. “I’ll meet you on the corner of 83d and West End in one minute. I’ll take Ethan, you take the cab.”

“Don’t worry about it,” she says. “I cancelled.”

I step out of the cab and walk home. I log on, and email about Britney for an hour.

Meanwhile, I try and wrestle the “Heartland” files from a DVD-R. The CD drive on my laptop is broken, and my hard disk is full. So I’ve carried an extra laptop from work. I install Pro Tools, but can’t find the seriel number. Ten minutes and seven phone calls later, Mike at DigiDesign tells me my software isn’t registered. I wipe six gigs of audio files from my laptop, copy six more from the other laptop onto an external drive, then from the hard drive onto my busted laptop.

I order dinner at 8:00. I watch a PBS special on the assassination of JFK. Dinner arrives at 8:51, by which time I’ve eaten enough tortilla chips to not be hungry. I eat anyway.

Back upstairs, I open the drawer of my bedside table and pull the handle clear off. I sit on the floor for fifteen minutes training to nail it back in place with my bare hands.

I begin to tackle edits on “Heartland.” Plug-ins are missing, so all of the affects are gone from Jon’s mixes. I whittle away at the tracks, bumping up certain parts, deleting others. In the middle of mixing “Harder To Believe” I notice Mike Butterworth and Paul Wright’s background vocals. For the first time all day, I smile. Then I turn it up.

Four songs in, I am overwhelmed by how much I have left to do, and dizzy from mixing. The headphones are crushing my ears. I can’t hear anything anymore. So I go to bed.

I’ll try again tomorrow.

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