This afternoon the doctors are going to take my grandmother off life support and let her peacefully pass away. I am not courageous enough to be there when it happens and I have asked to not be notified of the exact moment of her passing- I will go home tomorrow and help my father with the arrangements but I lack the emotional fortitude needed for a hospital death watch . I resent my weakness but I can't feign strength I don't have. I am going to need strength later and if I am present at her death I fear I may be absent in the days and weeks after.I am afraid I will break.
I'm writing this and I can't help wondering if I'm doing the right thing. I don't know what the right thing is. Is there one? Perhaps this isn't a healthy avenue of thought. Maybe I should talk a walk. Where are my shoes? I'm looking.
The phone rings. Caller ID tells me it's a cell phone that I don't recognize. I answer on the second ring. An unfamiliar male voice asks for me by my full name. Briefly, I hope it's for a job, but deep down I know it's about my Grandma.
"Yes", I answer, "this is he."
"Are you the DJ that does the Local Show tomorrow night?"
"No", I tell him, " I have had a death in the family and I won't be on the air this weekend."
Dude, I think , this is your cue to say good-bye.
Dude doesn't take his cue.
"Well", he goes on, " who is the DJ tomorrow and how can I get in touch with them?"
The DJ in question is a long-time friend of mine and I like her too much to inflict this wiper on her- what is Dude thinking? That I will give him her phone number?
I go into 'interference' mode.
"What is this about?", I ask,"I am the Program Director for the show, you can ask me any questions you might have."
Civil, so far.
"Well, it's about the show."
"Yes. I gathered that. What specifically can I help you with?"
Almost exploding. Hold it in.
"Well, it's about my friend."
Then he stops, forcing me to ask him questions.
"She is a musician."
"And?", I prod.
"And a singer. She is a great singer.She has played two gigs at coffeehouse X."
"No", I respond coldly, "I meant 'and' as in 'what is your point?' "
"Well...I want her to be on the radio tomorrow night. Can you do that?"
I explain that when I book an artist, I try to do it at least 30 days in advance and with the consent of whichever DJ I have scheduled, that the proper thing to do is to have the artist contact me via my station email and not my home phone (big thanks to my buddy X for giving out my home phone against my wishes- you are now on my permanent shitlist.)
Two coffeehouse open-mic nights aren't going to open a lot of doors, but I don't mention that...it's all I can do to keep from launching a tirade of invective at Dude. Why doesn't he get off the phone?
Dude gets worse: "Well...on the off-chance that you can't get her on tomorrow, maybe you could have her on next week."
"Look, there is no off-chance for tomorrow. Tomorrow is out of the question. Period. Send me an email, a CD and a press kit and I will be in touch within 68 weeks."
"Well...she has another coffeehouse show and I want her to be on the radio before then..."
Fuck off. Fuck off. Fuck off.
It's a good thing that you haven't taken the time to introduce yourself or the artist you are pimping because if I knew your names I'd make sure to avoid you both. I'd make it my business to purge our airwaves of any trace of you and her.
"Look. I'm waiting for an important phone call. I need to go."
"Well...is tomorrow out, then? I want her to be on the radio tomorrow."
"Tomorrow is still out. Nothing has changed in the last 30 seconds. Goodbye."
I lied to Dude. A lot has changed in the last 30 seconds.