It’s summertime and I’ve got to admit I’m feeling kind of reflective. No, wait scratch that; I’m feeling downright melancholy. Y’see I’ve been thinking back to when I spent my summers working with some really cool folks.
Back when I lived in Baltimore I worked at the Cheesecake Factory. Now that place was a madhouse in the summer. It’s located right on the Inner Harbor, which meant tourists galore. Basically it was insanely busy as soon as the weather was “nice” outside.
And for a minute there was a really cool “family” vibe going on with the employees. We actually enjoyed working with each other, and looked forward to it. It was a dope ass time.
Some of these “coworkers” actually elevated themselves to “friends” in my book. Since we all worded at the Front Desk, camaraderie seemed natural. We’d hang out, share stories and give and take advice.
Of course that period of time, like every period of time, eventually passed. Each of us went our separate ways, some on better terms than others. I’ll always remember the good times. And when I hear specific artists or songs my mind is instantly transported back to our time together.
What follows is the who, what, and why.
Dee– Dee was the one that I eventually got the closest to. I’ll admit in the beginning she was a bit gruff. She was my direct superior and she didn’t tolerate any garbage. She was kind of intimidating.
But eventually we clicked. It started because we hated the same coworkers and grew from there. We’d always talk about music. Sometimes we’d go to The Soundgarden before work. I had an easier time finding music to buy because whereas Public Enemy was my touchstone, Dee was Dana Dane, and not even Soundgarden carries an extensive selection of Hip Hop from that era.
She also had a thing for 80’s R&B, which I found odd, but humored her. Fortunately she could usually find some of that in stock.
We had a lot of good times together. She helped me through some rough times, and I was always there to provide an ear for her. To this day, whenever I hear Alexander O’neal or Dana Dane (which is even less often than you’d imagine) Dee is the first thought that pops into my head.
Emily – Emily was a tortured romantic, which probably explains why she loved Jeff Buckley so much. She always seemed to be in love with the wrong guy or with the wrong guy. And whenever she talked about finding someone nice, you almost wanted to hold your breath and wait for the other shoe to drop.
But she was the one who convinced me that Jeff Buckley was more than just Last Goodbye. She’s the one who sold me beauty of his lyrics and the vulnerability in his voice. I appreciated that if only for the fact that she paid attention for words and sensitivity. So in my mind Emily is synonymous with Jeff Buckley.
Heather – I will never forget Heather enthusiastically trying to sell me on some band called Queens of the Stone Age. She was standing at the front desk trying to explain the rawkness of “Feel Good Hit of the Summer” and I just wasn’t buying it. I could not believe that a band with the word “queens” could possibly rock.
In the Cheesecake/family scenario, Heather and I would have been twins. We were hired at the same time and rose through the ranks together. She was the definition of “peer.” We’d compete at work (in things far to mundane to go into detail) but then we’d wax nostalgic about how great Everlong sounds acoustic.
(Eventually I did discover Queens of the Stone Age, and I so got what she was getting at.) Whenever I hear “Feel Good Hit of the Summer”, in my mind I “see” Heather trying her best to convey it to me.
We’ve all gone our separate ways, and I’ve lost touch with all of them. But whenever I hear those songs, chords or cues it’s like everything’s returned to how it was.
And there you have it. That’s what I’m feeling this week. Next week will be better. Trust me.
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