Saturday, October 16, 2010

I didn't tell her she had an ugly baby, but it was

When I graduated college in 1990 with a bachelor’s degree in communication the staggering question was: what now? I made a few feeble attempts to get a job at my favorite FM radio station. I ended up returning to the Pizza Hut that I had worked at the previous summer. I was one of the day shift workers with many other drivers having day jobs in the military.
In August of that year I took a plane trip to visit friends as a sort of graduation present. Sitting on by the window on the DC-10 before the night flight took off the woman next to me made small talk. The she was quiet for a bit while she made like she was looking causally through her purse until she pretended to accidentally find a snapshot.
“That’s my baby,” she crooned showing me the picture. I looked. It was a picture of a white BMW Three Series convertible.
The rest of the trip was thrilling with stopping over in Chicago and flying into New York. In the time I had though I began to wonder who I was. Back at home on Oahu weeks later I was back driving pizzas around Wahiawa. I got home and chatted with friends on a computer bulletin board service. A BBS was before the internet. Then I got up and went to work. On my days off I would go to the movies or visit my old college.
My life was going no-where. Then the Pizza Hut folks started talking about training me to be a shift manager. My instant reaction was to reject it. I tried to enlist in the Army. Still wanting to work in radio I wanted to get into the Armed Forces Radio Network. I failed the physical.
I didn’t want to be rich with a car as a child. I didn’t want to define myself as a pizza dude whose greatest bragging rights were how fast he could fold and assemble pizza boxes. I quit my pizza hut job and moved back to Maui in January of 1991. I had a place to stay there and a lead on a job that turned out to be nothing. But it all felt right.
Even in my foul-mouthed, cigarette smoking state I think I was being directed by God. By March I was weekending at a radio station and in another month I was full time graveyard shift. By Christmas I was dating Prajna and among other things she gave me a bag of lollypops to help me quit smoking. I was on the right track by then.

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