Sunday, May 15, 2005

adventures in driving and devotion

i set out to write about my interesting drive to work this morning, and then smoothly segue into a story from my early driving years- well, technically, i wasn't driving yet- but i keep getting sidetracked. (bear with me, i'll get there eventually.)

every radio dj has at least one special listener- the one who seems to hang on their every word- calling in regularly to contribute their ideas. one of my former workplaces had an avid listener who would call the male jocks and pretend to be a naughty nurse. at another station, there was a listener who would call and demand that certain songs be played. he often got his way, as he'd threatened to sue the station before over something petty, and i think most jocks felt compelled to give in to his demands to spare the hassle of dealing with a (flimsy) lawsuit. there's a woman who calls the male djs at my station at varying times of the evening (in varying stages of sobriety) and occasionally she even slurs something they can understand. (the one phone call i was in the studio for (years ago) involved pedaling a bicycle down the street with only one leg. judging from the amount of slurring involved in the retelling of this tale, i'm guessing she had some problems keeping the bike upright.)

my devoted listener has followed me from station to station, though he has not always realized that i am, in fact, the same person.

my first time on the air in columbia, this listener was kind enough to call me in the wee hours of the evening (i was working the weekend overnight shift) to welcome me to town. in fact, he rolled out the red carpet, saying he'd be happy to show me around town. he gave me his address and phone number and said i could come over any time, day or night, and he'd be happy to set up his hammock and give me a back massage. well, somehow i lost the piece of paper i'd scribbled his phone number and address onto (or can you lose what you never actually had in the first place?), and never made it over there. the next weekend, he called, disappointed that i hadn't come over.

"i left the door unlocked every time i left the house, so you could come right in when you stopped by."

"sorry- i, uh, lost the directions to your place."

"oh- well, here they are again."

i can't quote the rest because, well, i just couldn't find anything to write them on and therefore, i didn't really feel the need to pay attention.

my special listener listened quite closely to everything i said, though he never mentioned the times i tripped over my tongue. (sometimes, i am a bit of a verbal klutz.) it seemed like he hung on every minute detail. like the time i mentioned something about teaching. remember the video for "hot for teacher", by van halen (back when diamond dave was at the helm)? well, apparently my fan was inspired by that video, because one evening, in the very wee hours, he called to share a fantasy he was having that involved me playing the role of teacher in a storyline that made that video look like a disney film. in fact, he was so overcome with.....emotion that he had to rapidly hang up and then call me back a few minutes later.

i know you're wondering why on earth i kept answering the phone. well, when one is working a day job, then babysitting, then coming in to work the midnight to 6 am shift (basically i was staying awake for 22 hours straight), one tends to feel drowsy somewhere in the ballpark of 3-4 a.m.. phone calls (and cherry flavored caffienated beverages) kept me awake.

my devoted fan was undeterred by my lack of enthusiasm. when i made a comment about being unable to reach the clock in the studio to switch over the daylight savings time, he offered to come in and reach it for me, as he was "very tall" (and felt compelled to list other "appealing attributes"). i declined.

when i was hungry and too broke to purchase a bag of overpriced chips out of the snack machine, he offered to bring a picnic lunch to share with me. (i passed.)

he told me over and over i was his favorite dj...then inquired about the state of my underwear.

later, i found out he was also calling the other weekend overnight girl in town. i don't know that their conversations were quite the same, though she was a little weirded out when he showed up at one of her appearances and presented her with a belt. i found that out after moving to her former station and one of my new coworkers walked by as i was being told by my fan- who had not figured out i was the same dj as his "favorite" on my former station- that i had the "sexiest voice [he'd] ever heard".

"even better than the chick over at [former station's frequency]?"


oh my.

i've been at wnok for 3 1/2 years now, and it seems his devotion has not waned.

during one phone call, when he was talking about various physical attributes and abilities (as well as suggesting ways he could back up his claims), a male coworker wandered in to the studio. since i didn't have to talk on the air for a while (and i really needed to visit the facilities), he volunteered to take over my end of the conversation, which ended pretty quickly. (i guess he just wasn't my fan's type.) i heard nothing for nearly three months.

and then, one evening, he returned. i don't remember the particulars of the conversation, but it probably involved all sorts of suggestive remarks on his part, and a lot of one word answers on mine.

we've had (mostly one sided) conversations on topics ranging from the "6 b's every good song has" (the only parts i remember were "bodacious beats" and something about "bouncin'" and "booty") to my repeated declinations of offers to visit to women who wear too much makeup to comparing my voice to sounds of nature (i have no clue, either.) to the artistic merits of justin timberlake and his song, "rock your body", which is my listener's favorite song- ever.

his admiration is not expressed solely over the phone. last year, he sent me a birthday card. i don't recall all the particulars, but the picture had a man and a woman on it, and the only thing i really remember is that the woman had a tattoo- only because he said something on the inside of the card about how he was certain i was not the kind of girl who would have one. (i do.)

there was a follow-up call, during which he addressed me as "birthday suit girl". (did you just cringe, too?) i believe he got mad at me soon after- i didn't hear from him for a while, after i declined one of his offers, pointing out that i was happily in a relationship.

"you don't seem like the sort of girl that would let that stand in your way."

"well, i am."

"sorry to hear that." *click*

it was two whole months before he reappeared.

anyway, i was reminded of all this- well, about an hour ago now- when he called to give me helpful car advice.

you see, i am not driving my car today. instead of my semi-sporty little coupe (he wants to be a mustang when he grows up), i rushed into work in an suv. not only is the difference in center of gravity a factor in how i drive (learned that the expensive, hard way), but i'm also accustomed to driving a stick. (i'm a 5-speed girl by birth.) you guessed it- i'm driving around an automatic today. i'm sure this is not a big deal for most folks, but my left foot gets bored and tries to hang out on the brake. plus, i drive this car so frequently that i can never remember which setting it's supposed to be in. there's p, which is obviously for "park", then r for "reverse", n ("neutral", i assume), a d inside of a circle ("overdrive"?), 1 and 2. after backing out of my space, i put the car in "1", which made strange noises when i got up to my usual cruising speed, so i shifted to "2", with my left foot under the impression that the brake was the clutch, and therefore needed to be stomped on to shift gears. the car lurched ahead about a foot. after removing my foot from the brake, i drove the rest of the way to work in 2, at a much slower speed than usual.

perhaps, in my haste, i missed something. let me run out to the car and check. nope, no sign of a plain "d" for "dumbass, this is the gear you use to drive." that's a comfort.

i'll be fine- my car should be back in my possession after my leaky tire is fixed.

anyway, as i headed into work, i observed two drivers who seemed to be in a bigger rush than i. the second (listed first because i have no charming anecdote to tie in here) was a driver whose car appeared to be having an epileptic fit at the stoplight. he'd lurch forward (much as i did while "shifting" the automatic vehicle), then bounce back. perhaps if he's just located the tripwire for the stoplight and stayed on it, we would have been able to go a little sooner.

the other car that made an impression this morning displayed a normally unseen feature- the fuel door was open, and the gas cap flapped around in the breeze, which was considerable, considering the driver appeared to be honing his skills for the next nascar event.

remember when gas caps were not tethered to the cars? when i was in high school, my best friend, heather, and i would often borrow her parents' station wagon and drive around town. sometimes we had a set destination, sometimes, we participated in the age old ritual of cruising the city's main drags in search for attractive members of the opposite sex. (not that we ever actually found any- or did anything with any of the ones we found. i think it was more about the thrill of picking up a phone number- obviously proving someone found you attractive- than "hooking up". heather always got the numbers. i usually attracted the really unappealing friend who was left over while heather talked to their slightly more appealing friend.)

but i digress.

anyway, there was one evening when we borrowed the car and found ourselves filling the tank right after leaving the house. as usual, while heather filled the tank, i washed the bug guts off the windshield. so, you would think that between the two of us, we would have remembered to replace the gas cap.

we did not.

there was a large ditch next to the gas station. as soon as we saw something fly off our car, we stopped, and started frantically searching for the errant cap. after maybe five minutes, a police officer stopped by and let us borrow his flashlight, which helped.......not very much. to this day, i am certain that gas cap is buried under about ten years' worth of grass and dirt. we passed by that spot during my last trip back to kansas city.

"hey heather- remember when......"
...... but the old station wagon is long gone, so we kept right on driving.


Online Dating said...

you may not be rich & famous yet, but you're beautiful.

duff said...

so, i'm feeling like an idiot. i just asked....

"so, which gear was i supposed to be in?"


"the one in the circle? i thought that was 'overdrive' and i wasn't supposed to use it."

"no! that's 'd' for 'drive'!"


Larry said...

At least you can drive a stick. There are quite a few people I know who cannot. I can't wait to get my new car cause i am ordering a stick and have not driven on in about 7 years.

My friend Tony used to be a dj in "the Lou" now he is a music director or program director. Next time I talk to him I will have to see if he had a stalker.

duff said...

interesting coincidence- the program director of one of our stations moved here from st. louis.

which cluster does your friend tony work for?

Larry said...

I dont know the company but he was a dj for the Point and the Mall which is now Red 104.1 and last time I talked to him he was a director of some sort there.

duff said...

the point? isn't that the alternative station that carries howard stern in the mornings?

Larry said...

yep. love the station. Howard, though, bores me. I listen to Bob and Tom

duff said...

howard's more of a novelty to me, since we don't get him here in columbia. when i drive out to kansas city, i usually wind up driving back through st. louis during howard's show. sometimes i listen, sometimes i channel surf.

freewriter said...

it seems to be an in thing to be "stalked" these days [as long as it is not dangerous stalking], so consider yourself hip!

sojourning crow said...

"...but i'm also accustomed to driving a stick. (i'm a 5-speed girl by birth.)"
Right On!!

" guessed it- i'm driving around an automatic today.
Sell out!!

Don't worry about Heather. She get numbers, she gets busy, she gets's a cycle, anyway..i digress..

I used to do radio in college. We would get requests from the local prison all the time. Felt good that someone was listening, though scary. "This is a collect call from a Federal Corrections Institution from, "Play Ozzy Osborne Crazy Train"
Absurd, yet fun.

Also I hear stories about guys being persistant and winning the girl and then I hear about stalking and going to jail. It's a fine fine line that I have never jumped over nor approached.

Thanks for visiting. Come again.

da sister said...

Um, that's creepy with the stalker.
There were guys in high school that thought you were cute, you just kind of intimated a few of them. There were many times when I'd walk through the halls, and have to suffer through the,"Hey you're duff's sister, aren't you?" This was sometimes followed by, "your sister's cute."
I bet you weren't ever asked, "hey, you're diana's sister, aren't you?"

Look at it this way though, you did have a way of attracting the ladies. Our wires must have somehow been crossed on that bit.

duff said...

crow: i didn't sell out- i had to swap cars so i could get to work. (nothing like a rapidly deflating tire to hamper my plan to get to work quickly in my own wheels.)

heather got the numbers, but i don't think any of them went any further than that. looking back, most of the guys were pretty creepy.

we used to get calls from folks on both sides of the law when dames and i worked at a different station. i'd get mostly police officers in the evening, and she'd rack up the convicts, no matter what shift she was on.

i actually met a listener once. nice guy, but i still couldn't get out of there fast enough. he left flowers on my car the next time i worked, which would've actually been romantic, had they come from...well....just about anyone else.

thank you for stopping by.

diana: why did i not hear of any of these inquiries before now?

and, for the record, i'm not intimidating.

bricotrout said...

we have very similar writing styles, do you have severe adult ADD too?
i was a dj as well a time back and recall the first time i was regognized off the air by my voice, i thought i had 'made'it!
look at me now.

duff said...

no ADD that i know of- i just get sidetracked a bit (too much multitasking for my own good) and i've always digressed in my scribblings.