Surviving

Feeling the warmth of the sun on a cloudy day. A glimpse into a blind billy goat's unique, ever changing perspectives.

2017 06 24 Journal Excerpt: Page 38 June 24, 2017

As some memories fade, new ones are born. I wish I could have all of my memories back, but if the unwritten rules say we have to turn over those to gather in these, then I’ll keep trying to make the best of it. Some of my childhood memories are as strong as the ones from last week. How is that possible? How can that be? Such a long time ago, but then again, a couple years ago seems at times as far away as a childhood in Little Falls. Digitally manufactured and preserved by an imagination out of control.

 

My memories of my past have come to visit so many times. Some days I just sit and think about different things. Once in a while I reel in something that I haven’t thought of for quite a while, and usually it builds a smile across my face.

 

I like those the best.

 

Go grab yourself some memories.

 

Deon

 

***

 

Page 38

Summer 2011

 

I have an amazing lady by my side. I know she isn’t happy that she’s reading about herself right now, but she is a part of my story, as she has become a part of me.

 

Thinking back, there were so many times when she went the extra distance to help me realize that my life was very much still worth living. Although my pity prone self pushed back many times, there were those times that it didn’t, and the result was a taste of a world gone by, with a pinch of a world waiting to be.

 

That summer of 2011, we bought several five gallon buckets and set off to grow some potted roma tomato plants out behind the garage. I remember every part of the experience, and that first bite of one of the tomatoes was pure heaven. The plants didn’t yield as much as our traditional garden tomatoes used to, but the smell of the vines, the taste of the fruit was unforgettable.

 

I tried to do as much with my stupid sight as I could. I joked that I could see just enough to piss me off, and it was true. So many times I would strain to see just a little bit more, and each time I did, I became dizzy as hell, almost to the point of passing out a couple of times. I dunno what was causing it, but I soon learned that I needed to accept what I had and learn to do the most with it.

 

My dreams were a trip back then. I would often dream about being able to see, and realizing in the dream that I was supposed to be blind. The dreams inserted the belief that I could see, and my blindness had somehow miraculously come to an end. Eventually, I would wake up, and again, I was reminded that I still couldn’t see. I loved the feeling that my sight loss had come to an end, and wish I could have convinced the moment of the dream to follow me back to reality. Oh how I wanted that to happen.

 

Or did it?

 

There were several mornings in those first couple years when I awoke to see something very familiar. Yes, that’s right. See. Each time the experience was the same. The images of my past, or so I thought, seemed to catch up to me for a friendly visit.

 

As I woke up, I lifted my arm off the bed and swung it into a new position. I saw it. I saw the skin color, the contours of my arm, the color of the wall, the ceiling, even the shimmering ring on my finger. I moved my arm a few times to make sure it was real, and the vision corresponded perfectly to my movement. My heart stopped in my chest, my breath couldn’t breathe, and as I stared at my arm, it stared back. I thought I must be dreaming, but knew I wasn’t.

 

The visions continued on for roughly thirty seconds, and then, slowly, the picture faded into a dull gray haze. I was shocked by what I had seen, and sad to see it go. The experience, brief as it was, sent an electric current down through me that lasted all day. These sightings happened five or six times within the course of a year or so, and to this day I can still see the skin tone of my arm. It was like an old friend had stopped by for a visit.

 

Unimaginable, unannounced, unbelievable, wonderfully unbelievable, simply unbelievable.

 

As I wrote a little earlier, Lynne kept tugging me towards new experiences that proved to be eye opening adventures. I imagine she was trying to get a piece of me back from the past, almost like planting a tomato plant in the fertilized soil, so that it would grow and become something new, something that stretched to meet the sunshine and learned how to grow towards tomorrow.

 

As the metaphors stampede my thoughts, I realize that I am the luckiest guy in the world to have the partner I have. I also realize that so many times my stupid ego has continuously gotten in the way of a good day. Pitiful, selfish, self centered child who had no clue how to recognize a golden opportunity.

 

I forgot what it was like to live, but I was comparing everything to my sighted life. I was comparing apples and oranges.

 

While I waded through the turmoil of existence, I did manage to keep my feet moving forward. I kept reminding myself of the promise I had made to myself to move forward, no matter what, and to never turn away from an obstacle, a challenge, a formidable wall of fear, for those things that proved to be opportunities often disguised themselves as things that I used to veer away from or ignore completely. My old character traits of complacency and laziness wanted to take me for another stroll, and many times I still gave in, until I remembered the goal of maneuvering through whatever this darkened corridor had in store.

 

To be continued…

 

2017 06 23 Journal Excerpt: Page 37 June 23, 2017

 

Our lives are full of stories that we keep with us through time. The years are filled with trends that we latch on to with a ferocity for excitement. Myself, I have what you could call an addictive personality, so the trends, the impulses, the things that latch on to me become very addictive to me, and man do they have a way of changing me. Some of these trends, as quickly as they grab hold of us, they also can just as quickly pack their bags and move on down the road, rapidly being replaced by the next trend, the next impulse.

 

This next page deals with a couple of those trends, those things in my life that had a unique way of latching on to me. Some times we don’t notice one trend being replaced by another, but often times, we do.

 

It’s Friday, and I hope you all have a great rest of your day, and weekend.

 

Deon

 

***

 

Page 37

Summer 2011

 

There were many instances of my lack of concentration getting the better of me. Through it all, I had to learn how to trust my mobility instructors, and I’m very glad I did. Gaining trust in them allowed me to focus on the most important thing of all, my relationship with my cane. I had to learn how to trust my cane along with trusting my instructors, for my cane was also an instructor. My cane talked to me. It spoke in a language that I had to study, and as I began to understand the cane, I began to figure out how to open the doors of mobility., As I walked through those doors, I learned another lesson, probably the biggest one of all. I began to learn that I lost my vision so that I might learn how to see. The mobility, the assistive technology, the additional heightened senses, the inspiration that was coming at me, that was touching me, that began to rise up from within me, all of these additions to my life were so very unexpected, and to this day I’m still learning from each and every one of them.

 

Other emotions were having their way with me as well. It had been a year since the world had grown dark around me, and through the 2011 summer, I was constantly reminded of just how much I couldn’t see. I was a stubborned blind man with a passion for hanging on to my independence. I didn’t want to let go of the past, of my life with sight, and as the days progressed, small pieces of my past life, of my independence fell through my fingers and away from the present. Every time it happened, I shuddered inside as I lay another part of my past to rest. Realizing all of the things that I couldn’t do any more was a painful task that wreaked havoc on my vulnerable soul.

 

The tears that had flowed so freely began to diminish with time, and with each incident of bitter truth, I eventually felt like a damp dish rag that had been wrung out over and again and over and again. I tried to find things to feel happy about, but the happiness didn’t last long. The smiles quickly turned to a thin lipped frown that was full of anger, resentment and fear.

 

Man, as I write this, I’m being flooded by samples of those emotions. Here it is several years later, and the heart still races, the anxiety still rushes and the doubt still creeps in.

 

That summer of 2011 also saw me say goodbye to a dear old friend. I had written about my roto-tiller that sat idle through the summer of 2010. I wrote about pushing it back to the garage through half a foot of snow in early December. I wrote about how she hollered and screamed at me for just one more chance to run through the garden. As she cried, so did I. Another part of my past was slowly coming to a sad end.

 

I ended up trading the tiller for a 12 string Fender electric acoustic guitar in the summer of 2011. Lynne posted an ad somewhere that I would like to trade the tiller, and at just about the same time, she saw another ad from a gentleman in Moscow who was looking to trade his guitar for a tiller. That’s Moscow Maine. Grin It was meant to be, and saying goodbye to my old ground chomping friend was one of the hardest things I had ever done. If not for another girl entering my life at the same time, I don’t know what I would have done. Holding that guitar in my arms as he drove away with the tiller was the worst of times, and the best of times. I could hear my tiller screaming to me as he drove away, but I also heard a sweet 12 stringed lullaby softly playing in my ear.

 

Man, the emotions that swept down through me during these times was simply amazing. I guess they played a major role in helping to build a new foundation that started to replace the one that was being slowly demolished. Is demolish a good description? I’m sure there’s a more suited word, but at times it sure felt like it was truly being demolished.

 

Life continued to come at me. It didn’t care what I was going through. It didn’t care in the least. It was only able to continue on as before.

 

No matter what.

 

To be continued…

 

 

2017 06 22 Journal Excerpt Page 36 June 22, 2017

Here I go again on another emotional trek. It seems that’s mostly what I did back a few years ago. I lived a little, I felt a lot. It’s pretty safe to say that a lot of what I was feeling was so different, I wouldn’t have been able to put a name with the emotion. Fact is, if faced with those same emotions today, I probably still couldn’t pin a name to it. I lived it though, and learned a great deal from it, from them.

 

This next excerpt took me back to a place that I’ll never ever have to worry about forgetting. The level that this page grabbed hold of me was unforgettable, and the lesson learned was priceless.

 

I hope you’re having a great day, and I’ll catch up with ya later on.

 

Be well.

 

Deon

 

***

 

Excerpt describes summer 2011.

 

Page 36

 

With each O&M lesson came different situations which proved to supply me with different experiences. As my written overviews detailed the lessons, they allowed me to go back and explore those experiences from my own unique perspective. So many lessons accompanied so many memorable moments.

 

One of the most memorable of the bunch was the time when I didn’t care much for where the street ended. There I was, walking my way down the sidewalk, when all of a sudden, I took three or four steps onto a lawn. I turned to face Rosemary and asked her what the hell happened, and why I was standing on grass. I imagine she was smiling as she looked at me and told me to figure it out.

 

Well, I turned a quarter turn, then another, then another, and again asked her where I was. The panic slowly subsided, only to be replaced with a level of confusion that I had rarely faced.

 

She was very determined not to help me figure it out, and so as I turned where I stood, I tried to figure it out. The audio clues continued to come at me, but I couldn’t put them to any good use. I looked up to find where the sun was, then listened again to the sounds. Cars going by, children playing, a dog barking, they all mixed into my head like a chef’s salad, and for the life of me, I couldn’t find the ranch dressing.

 

Finally, as I slowly started to remember where we were, the neighborhood, the pieces of the puzzle began falling into place. The children were out at recess at a school that was at the end of the street where I had been walking. The traffic was running back and forth, which I knew was Pleasant Street. The sun was, for the most part, in the eastern sky, for it was fairly early in the morning. The grass? The grass? Really? Now, let me think.

 

And think I did, until a smile crept across my face.

 

Rosemary asked me what I was smiling about, and I began to tell her what I thought had happened to the wandering goat.

 

I had reached the end of School Street, which had the school on my right as I approached the street corner, the School Street and Pleasant Street corner. This particular street corner was not raised up from the street, but was flush with the street level, which explains why I didn’t detect it with my cane. I swept right past the tactile mat at the corner, not hitting it with my cane, and proceeded to walk right across the street without knowing it. Rosemary had walked up beside me as I approached the corner to make sure there was no traffic coming along Pleasant Street. There wasn’t, so she let me walk across the street, through the opposite sidewalk, which was also level with the street, and up onto the lawn of an apartment building, where I finally realized something was wrong and stopped.

 

This was one of the most awakening moments of my mobility experiences. I will never forget it, and as I write about it right now, those same emotions came rolling in. Remembering back, I am pretty sure that I had become completely caught off guard, mostly because my concentration had been broken. The sounds of the children outside playing at recess picked me up and carried me away. This was the second time we had been around that same block that morning, and I guess you could say I was feeling a little cocky. I was so self assured that there would be no problems to think through, no obstacles to work through, no dilemmas to have to problem solve through. It was just me, my cane, and my misplaced ego against the great big beautiful visual world.

 

Man how 8 seconds can change your attitude.

 

To be continued…

 

 

2017 06 21 Journal Excerpt Page 35 June 21, 2017

Emotions come, and emotions go. The distance between coming and going can feel like a lifetime, but it consists of all the things that life is made of. A recipe of living, breathing, experiencing, discovering, welcoming, and yes, veering away from. Millions of steps towards a sunset, along a sunrise, away from the rain and towards a familiar face, it all brings us to that certain spot where, for some reason, we’re meant to be.

 

And here we go again.

 

Deon

 

***

 

Page 35

 

Through the rest of summer 2011 I did manage to stick with the two groups, and as the writing assignments piled up, so too did my confidence in writing overall. I had started writing short stories and poems about my experience of losing my sight, and as I almost forgot to tell you, late spring 2011 I started my blog. I can’t really remember how I got pointed in that direction, but as I write this entry now, late spring 2017, I am still writing and posting to my blog, which is entitled, Surviving.

 

I started the blog on Google’s Blogspot platform, and with the help of my then assistive tech tutor, Mike Adams, figured out how to do it. We spent a few sessions going over the ins and outs of blogging, but time and time again I was met head on with issues with the blog site’s accessibility features, or lack there of. Before I knew it, the moderator of the second writer’s group told me about WordPress, which was another blogging platform that, from what Jacki told me, was far more responsive to the needs of those like me who used screen readers.

 

I switched over to WordPress, and am still using their website today. I think I’m hovering around 400 or so posts to my blog, and am right now in the process of posting a series of entries containing this journal that I’m writing in right now. I posted page 25 today, that’s 25 posts, 25 days in a row, and I still have a few to go, especially seeing as how I am lengthening the size of the journal as I write. Grin

 

 

Turning back a couple months, Rosemary and I started back with O&M early spring 2011, and although I didn’t look forward to the mobility lessons, I knew that I needed them greatly.

 

Our favorite stomping grounds were in the city of Waterville, and away I went, following my white cane with a blonde haired woman ten steps behind me. She didn’t have me do any more lessons with blindfolds on, which was a reason for me to jump for joy. What little sight I had was lending me a hand, as it was giving me the opportunity to find and identify landmarks, as blurred and dull as they were. Contrasted items proved to be the most benefit for me, especially with snow on the ground. Bare pavement, parked cars, telephone poles, buildings against the sky, they all soon became my best friends. I learned very quickly though just how many tricks my poor, limited vision could play on me. I remember once sighting what I thought was a telephone pole between the road and I. I soon found out that the pole wasn’t next to me, but across the road on that sidewalk. Things like that really spun me around and smacked me upside the head. A reality check supreme.

 

Our excursions around downtown Waterville usually included a stop into a small Main Street sandwich shop, where we both usually ordered bagels and a coffee. I fell in love with their asiago cheese bagel. As we sat and consumed our drinks and foods, we usually discussed the lesson. I was able to go over issues that I was encountering, and how they were affecting my ability to maneuver behind the cane. Rosemary began asking me to write up overviews of the lessons, which turned into assignments that I emailed to her upon completion. At the end of our time together, I compiled the documents into one single manuscript, which I sent to her as well. I should turn that into a book some time in the future.

 

The lessons over those next few months were a constant reminder of my blindness, but they also helped to open my eyes to what might be in store for me. Rosemary kept telling me that besides feeling vulnerable, frightened, scared, angry, frustrated, inept, uncoordinated and mad as hell, I exuded a level of confidence with the way I carried myself as I maneuvered down the sidewalks of Waterville. She kept telling me that I stood tall as I walked behind my cane, and that people were always noticing me. I was fairly certain that the reason they were noticing me was because I was a very unusual sight. She continued to disagree, and kept telling me that whatever I was feeling inside, it didn’t show on the outside.

 

There were occasions where my mobility lessons ended up being a learning experience extraordinaire. I shrug these incidents off as extreme lessons, and believe me, the emotions that accompanied these instances were very, very extreme. ,

 

To be continued…

 

 

2017 06 20 Journal Excerpt Page 34 June 20, 2017

Filed under: Uncategorized — DP Lyons @ 11:56 am

A writing we will go.

 

To find something that you are passionate about is a joy to behold. Being able to do it quite often expands the joy, and being able to turn it into a career is, well, in a perfect world, right?

 

I have always loved to write. This fact is true. I never paid much attention to whether people thought I was good at it. All I knew was that it was a lot of fun. It wasn’t until these recent years that I really started paying attention to what folks were telling me. If I was as good at it as they were telling me, maybe I should stick with it and see what happens.

 

So, I did, and here I am, writing some more.

 

Thanks for all the kind words, and here we go with more of what I write about.

 

Take care.

 

Deon

 

***

 

Page 34

 

Written, June 11, 2017

Describing, Late spring, early summer, 2011.

 

Where the hell am I? Have I blasted into the future? This looks like 2017. Could it be?

 

Yes, it’s true. I am in the future, writing about the past, once again, but this time, the time from here to then is a little longer.

 

Back in spring 2011, many things were going on in my life that completely gobbled up most of my time. Yes, I was pulled out of the first employability skills workshop, but as I wrote, the experience was priceless. I learned many things, and took away an emotional extravaganza that you just can’t find anywhere.

 

Late that spring, my VRC, Leona, retired from DBVI. I was shocked and upset and confused and angry. The first thing I thought was, “How could she do this to me!”, and it was a few days before I could climb down from that ladder of selfishness to fully understand what was happening. Plain and simple, it was change. The same change that I wrote about in my page 25 submission.

 

Change is gonna come. Change will do you good. So many metaphors climbed in and out of my head. So many things, so little time, so much for change.

 

Like many blind people, the obstacles that accompany accessibility weighed in on Leona’s decision to retire, and looking back on it now, I fully understand. Each day, it seems I come in contact with an issue with my computer, or areas of the internet that just don’t seem to click. I realize that so many things need to interact perfectly for the experience of assistive technology to work, but I also realize how much we depend on those things to work correctly, for without them, our computers, cell phones, tablets, iPads, iPhones and any other thing that works with zeroes and ones goes silent, thus bringing our experience to a sudden halt.

 

Like I said, Leona resigned her position to the next person in line, who out of a necessity for temporary fixes, turned out to be her past VRC, Carolyn Bebee.

 

I didn’t know Carolyn. I had never met her, never heard of her, and before I knew it, I got a phone call from her. We set up an appointment for her to come to the house, and after talking to her for a few minutes, I could plainly understand what Leona meant when she told me that I would be in good hands. This woman completely caught me off guard with her knowledge, her drive, her ability to communicate, it was all so pleasing and soothing to a pair of ears that needed exactly what she brought to the table.

 

One thing that Carolyn did was take an interest in my growing passion for writing, and she jumped all over it. Within a few days, she had given me contact info for a writer’s group that was comprised entirely of writer’s with disabilities. I contacted a local lady who was a member of the group. Her name was Bobbi LaChance, who lived nearby in Auburn. After calling and talking to Bobbi, I quickly joined the group, Behind Our Eyes, and am still writing with them today.

 

Bobbi LaChance was a very inspirational woman who had such a calming tone. I felt instantly at home while talking to her, and was inspired to write and write and write and here I am, six years later, hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of pages of words later to tell you that I owe so much to her, to Carolyn, to Leona, and to all the writers of the group.

 

Bobbi LaChance passed away a few weeks ago from a prolonged bout with cancer. Her spirit will live on forever through the writers of Behind Our Eyes, and her uniquely crafted talent will continue to inspire me, and many others, forever and a day. Thank you Bobbi, and May God always keep you safe.

 

I did also join another writer’s group that summer, and was introduced to another stable full of creative writers. These uniquely diverse word crafters taught me a little more about creative writing, which seemed to be the style that best suited me. The more I wrote, the more I wanted to write, and write I did. Poems and essays and short stories and prompts and before I knew it, the saved word documents were piling up.

 

Working with the second writer’s group taught me quite a bit about internet access as well. The group met online every Saturday, and I had to learn how to use an online chat program called Team Talk. This program caused me fits the first month or so, but with much trial and error, I finally got it tweaked and adjusted enough to make heads or tails out of it. I know I drove the members crazy the first few times, as when I came into their chat room, the volume was blazing, the squelch was squalking, and by the sounds of it, their patience was growing a little thin. I almost said to hell with it and quit the group, but something told me to stick around and give it another go, and go I did.

 

Between the two groups, I was having a little difficulty figuring out which group was which, and which writers belonged to what group. It was all a blurred writing assignment that caused me to search through all of the possibilities that might turn into a story, or an essay, or a poem, or perhaps a book?

 

To be continued…

 

2017 06 19 Journal Excerpt Page 33 June 19, 2017

Filed under: Uncategorized — DP Lyons @ 1:34 pm

Pity is a very strong emotion. We want people to feel sorry for us, so we strive to cause them to feel sorry for us. We cry, stomp around, suck our thumbs and pick our noses and all the while, we look out the corner of our eyes to check on the situation with our sad puppy dog eyes and lowered head. Pitiful? Oh you betcha. Have I went on a mission to gather in as much pity as possible? Oh you betcha. Did it do me any good? Not in the least. Matter of fact, it was a complete waste of time, because in the end, I hadn’t managed one step forward. Matter of fact, I didn’t even stagger sideways!

 

I still hop on top of the pity pot from time to time, and I would imagine it must be a sad sight to see. Could it be old habits dying hard? Ya, probably, but it’s probably like old habits hardly dying.

 

Ok, that’s it. Here’s another dose of my past, and do me a favor, ok? Please don’t waste your time feeling sorry for me. It ain’t doing me any good.

 

Take it easy.

 

Deon

 

***

 

Page 33

 

I was able to attend another employment skills workshop in early June in Augusta. It was held at a motel, and the Division put up myself and the other six takers of the workshop at the motel all week. It was quite the experience for me, and I learned a great deal of patience and ability to adapt.

 

The workshop started on a Sunday, and by Monday night, I was so frustrated with the whole thing that I wanted to go home. The program relied on a lot of computer and internet interaction. I was not able to do any of the interaction participation due to an accessibility problem. The laptop that was assigned to me was supposed to be able to be tied in with the state website, and their main program that had links to the Jaws program. None of the facilitators of the workshop had any knowledge of Jaws, and really didn’t know their way around the State’s main site to help me get logged on with Jaws. I spent two days trying to use my own laptop with the material that everyone else was going through. I was slowly and surely being left behind through it all. I had only been using Jaws for a couple months, and was not really good with the program yet. Needless to say that along with my anxiety with it all, it was a disaster, and I really felt as though I did not get anywhere near as much information out of the program as the other participants did. The other 6 participants of the workshop were able to use a screen magnifier, so they were all able to follow along with the daily work. I was asked a couple times to leave the room with one of the facilitators to try and go over some of the material in a one on one fashion. I did not like this, and along with everything else, I was left with a feeling of complete inadequacy. I realize now that most of it was just my anxious nature taking control of the situation. I did not handle it very well, and was disheartened with it all.

 

The main goal of the workshop was to get me prepared to be able to look for, find, and go after a job prospect. this included being able to get a chance at an interview, and taking advantage of all that I was able to retain from the workshop.

 

No matter how hard I try, I still get incredibly over run with anxiety from time to time, usually over silly things. I let the obstacles of the workshop get the best of me, and was not able to fully take in all that the workshop had to offer me. I did let the Division know about my short comings with the workshop, but I also let them know that overall, the workshop was done in a very professional manner, with a lot of hard work and preparations involved. There was only one other thing about the workshop that didn’t set right with me. On the last day, we were supposed to take part in mock interviews, and these were supposed to be video taped for ourselves to have a copy of. During my weeks prep, I never really settled on a career to focus on, seeing how I was never able to do the class work with the rest of the participants. This caused me to head into the interview with no real goal in mind for a career, therefore I was not really prepared for the interview, as far as what type of job I was interviewing for. I had stated that maybe I would do well in a career such as customer support, or sales tele-marketing, given my past sales experience, but it was never fully planned or discussed that this would be what I should focus on to prepare for the interview. Once again, I felt left out, and completely unprepared heading into the room for the interview.

 

The interview was a disaster, as the video taping held up the process, due to a malfunctioning video camera. There I was, unprepared, and held up half way through the interview because of a faulty camera.

 

The interview was called off half way through, and I was left with an unreachable goal of a successful interview, which was supposed to be the cherry on top of the week long hot fudge sundae.

 

Although I walked away from the workshop confused and frustrated, I must be fully aware that the knowledge that I obtained should always be looked at as completely outweighing the negatives of the experience.

 

I found myself in my usual train of thought, which was to feel sorry for myself, and waiting for everyone else to notice poor old me, and like usual, it wouldn’t have done me one damn bit of good.

 

To be continued…

 

2017 06 18 Journal Excerpt Page 32 June 18, 2017

Filed under: Uncategorized,Writing — DP Lyons @ 6:11 pm

 

There have been many learning experiences these past seven years, and none any better than back in 2011, when a naïve blind ridge goat embarked on a continuing career of gullability. My trusting soul got the better of me, as you’ll read in this next excerpt.

 

As we live, we learn, and as we learn, we wake up to live another day. I’ve learned today that this WordPress website has funked out on me once again. The battle between JAWS and the internet continues, and once again, the learning comes at me with both barrels blazing.

 

Take care, and God bless all of ya’s.

 

Deon

 

***

 

Page 32

 

In the spring, I began an unfortunate learning experience with Brandon H, a twenty year old spoiled brat of a rich kid from Long Island that I had met at the Carroll Center. He asked me if I would like to do some marketing for his new radio web site. I, at first, was more than apprehensive, but remembered what I had told myself, that I would not turn away from any challenge, or opportunity.

 

It was the middle of April, and I had no idea what in hell I was doing, but I was going to do it anyway. I got some help from Lynne on how to try and get organized, so that I could try to manipulate a good days work. I did a lot of web browsing at first, searching for contact info of businesses, colleges, and different organizations to try and market the radio station. I did write several cover letters to send to different places, trying to market the station. I really took pride in some of the letters I had written, and was backing up and sending along all of my work to Brandon to let him know what I was doing. I was able to market the station as I saw fit, and through it all, I built a contacts list of info for all of the places that I was calling, emailing or trying to get hold of.

 

After several weeks of this type work, I was noticing that I was not getting any bites on any of it. The only responses I was receiving were letters from a few of the sports teams asking if our station was a non profit station, and they would look at a donation if we provided our non profit information. We were not a non profit station, and from then on I realized that I was banging my head against the wall, and that this sort of business was not a good avenue of advertisement for anyone, due to the indirect nature of our audience. We didn’t have a general area of interest that would entice businesses to advertise with us. I perfectly understood their concerns, and by the first of June, I eased back on my approach to the marketing of the station.

 

During all of these weeks, Brandon kept on trying to trick me into believing that the phone calls from prospected customers that I was receiving were legit. They were not legit. They were Brandon trying to fool me with his pathetic voice impersonations. He did this continuously, and with the help of his waste of skin, Chico, the crap infested Connecticut Puerto Rican. Between the two of them, I think that I was entertaining them. It was very apparent that they were both just wasting the time of day with this foolish mentality, and when I confronted Brandon with it, he admitted that he had been testing me. I asked him if I passed the test, and he said I did. The foolishness continued though, and along with it, other things that he started doing, such as impersonating different people that he had asked to join and work for the station, such as a lawyer from New York City, another tech guru who was a woman, and a couple others. He even tried impersonating someone who was announcing bus station arrivals and departures. It really was pitifully childish, and it made me realize that I had pretty much wasted a couple months on the marketing campaign.

 

during all of this, Brandon kept asking me if I wanted to do a show on the station. He knew that I had a ton of music, and that I loved the thought of being able to do a show myself. I jumped at the chance, and was able to put on a couple shows with his help, as I was tethered through his pc. I was having some issues with my pc, and when I tried to do the show from my pc, it seemed to lock up the program that we used to broadcast to the internet.

 

after the first two or three shows, I got an uneasy feeling. He abruptly ended a couple of the shows by telling me that someone had emailed the show to request a song. The song was either a fifteen minute song, or a compilation of songs that would end up taking us through the last half hour of the show without me being able to do any more of the show..

 

I caught him on this lie by staying logged on to the internet feed, and listening to see if he played all of the said requests. After a couple minutes when he thought I was logged off and gone, he went back to the automated player. I called him on the phone and asked why he wasn’t playing the whole request, and he said it was a malfunction in the program.

 

Well, after that, he kept telling me that I would be able to do a show at a certain time, so I kept emailing everyone and telling them the day and time of the next show. The next show never came, as he kept either cancelling the show, or just didn’t show up online.

 

Our relationship finally ended in September. I had emailed him a couple times asking him what the hell was going on, and reminded him how much work I had done for his station, with no pay, or no acknowledgement.

 

The young man has his head up his ass, and Chachi’s is right behind it. He is such a bright kid, I just wish he would pull away from chachie, who I firmly believe will end up stealing the life out of Long Island Brandon.

 

Just my opinion. I am still a little bitter about it all, but realize that I learned so much in the time I spent doing the marketing. Another learning opportunity that I believe I made the most of.

 

I don’t want to hold any resentments from it all, because I really don’t have any room for anything like that in my life any more. I lived it, and I learned from it, and I wish Brandon the best.

 

To be continued