The Finest Worksong

I called Abbi as I stepped from the fluorescent hum of the office into the neon buzz of Times Square. It was nearly nine o’clock.

“I just don’t think I can make it over tonight. I’m plum exhausted. Plus, the guys are delivering a new fridge at eight tomorrow morning.”

The MTV was a blur. I was switching between redesign meetings, planning meetings (the best of which was a creative meeting about our forthcoming Bryan Singer interview), appraisal meetings, faxes to senators (for the Mr. Rogers doc), phone calls to organizations (same), emails to the band (to schedule recording and rehearsal), and the usual line of questioning that forms at my door.

By the time the subway dropped me at 79th Street, I decided to ride over to Abbi’s anyway. It’s not supposed to be easy. It’s supposed to be challenging. And with challenge, comes reward.

But first: more challenges. My cell phone rang. Britney had confirmed her pregnancy on Letterman. The story was already on the site, but the video tape was at the Ed Sullivan Theater. Both coasts were on ovetime. What did I want them to do?

This is my life.

I’m socked in tight for the next few weeks. In some cases, I’m double booked. There’s a lot going on. Work. The doc. The gig. The recording. Consulting on my friend’s website. And even a few social engagements.

Excepting a few amateurish originals, my high school band, Neoteric Youth, mostly performed covers by Rush and R.E.M. This odd combination of music was largely a result of the varied interest of the band’s membership. Drummer Wako Iwasaki liked Rush (And why wouldn’t he? All drummers want to play ten minute solos.). I liked R.E.M. So we did both: “The Finest Worksong” into “YYZ” into “The One I Love” into “Closer To The Heart” into “It’s The End Of The World As We Know It (And I Feel Fine).” It struck me as odd then, and still does today.

Dodging traffic on Third Avenue this morning, though, I think I figured it out: Rush and R.E.M. is what life is all about. We hurry, hurry, hurry, then we dream.

Somewhere around 89th Street, I was cut off by a double-length bus. I slipped through the center lane, past a gray Range Rover, and pulled a hard left into Central Park. The traffic and noise and danger disappeared, and I coasted a moment in the quiet. In that slipstream of silence, I heard a new song in my head. And for that instant, I could sort of see how it’s done.

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