Friday, December 15, 2017

"The Times, They Are A'Changin'... And I Do Not Want Them To"

I have always had trouble with transitions.

And I’m talking about good transitions.

“Your foot fell off.  You’re going to have to learn to hop.”

Nothing like that.  No “New Normals” replacing the old “Normal” you took for granted and would now kill to have back. 
“I have to breathe through my ear?  What is my nose now, a hat rack?”

I’m talking about “Good News” changes.  Graduations.  Promotions.  Milestones, celebrated with a cake and a party.  (Or for those with more rarefied tastes, “A shmoke and a pancake.”)

All transitions are difficult, explains the man about to list perceived fortuitous opportunities he consistently treated as “trouble”, his demonstrable motto:

“I like it now.”


Or as the sea captains who don’t know what homeostasis means –  “A relatively stable equilibrium” – say,

“Steady as she goes.”

I have always been chronically resistant to change.  Camper to counselor.  High school to college.  Writer to show runner.   My voice, bleating the habitual question:

“Couldn’t I stay here?”

“Sorry.  Time to move on.”


Here’s why I’m writing about this.  It came to mind, after recalling (and subsequently recounting) a remembered unpleasantness, working at the venerable CBC Radio Building.  I guess this story was next door to that in the “Brain Library.”  (The way I once told (now Senator) Al Franken his books will always be shelved next to Anne Frank’s.  I know he’s in trouble, but I’m keeping this in.) 

This is a more resonating story.  I feel the CBC Radio Building deserves that.  Why?  Because barring that unfortunate “blip”, I had great fun there.  I am not sure if it’s still standing.  If not, somebody give them a “Head’s up” in “Edifice Heaven.”

I do not know what I was doing there that particular day.  Nor do I recall how I encountered the president of CBC Radio, whom I had barely spoken to before and wound up chatting in his office.  Which is embarrassing.  So many holes in the narrative.  If this tale were a boat, it would go under in two minutes.

“What do you call your boat?”

“The Sieve.”

I do, however, remember the main thing.    And that’s all that matters.  (Claims the man who cannot recall anything else.)


I am leaving imminently for Los Angeles – my first big time Hollywood assignment.  (A Lily Tomlin special.)  I am terrified.  Because…  SEE: ABOVE… it was different.   Better, but different.  For some of us, this is upsettingly similar to “Worse but different.”  The internal jumpiness is detectably indistinguishable.

So I am sitting in his office, thinking, as I have on many previous paralleling occasions,

“Couldn’t I stay here?”

Which came out, specifically,

“Give me one reason not to go and I’ll stay.”

Do you hear what I’m saying to this guy?  I am urging the president of CBC Radio (whom I had barely spoken to before), “Give me a radio job and I won’t move to Los Angeles and write a TV show that will be seen by more people than are living in Canada.”

… is what I am beseeching a virtual stranger.

Because I was so terrified of change.

Do you know what the president of CBC Radio said to me?

“Of course not.  We weren’t there.”

(Note To Myself:  That one never works.  “You know who I saw today?”  It’s just stupid!)

Confronting this knee-shaking Hollywood neophyte, begging for a rescuing lifeline the sage president of CBC Radio replied,

“You have to go.  You’ve done everything you can in Canada.  It is time to move on, and see what you can do.”

The man shakes my hand, and I leave, feeling like last-minute Christopher Columbus saying to Isabella, “Are you sure you don’t need the ‘expedition money’ for anything else?” and hearing back, “Set sail, Christopher Columbus.  And we shall see what befalls you.”

Well, it worked out.  (For both of us.)

Though there were no guarantees. 

Sometimes, you just have to go.

When every cell in you body cries,

“Couldn’t I stay here?”


FFS said...

Maybe it is just me but over the past while I get the sense that you are preparing to go from being a blogger to being a non-blogger. Am I wrong? I hope so.

Wendy M. Grossman said...

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We would suggest that next year you consider placing your order much earlier to ensure that you - and your giftees! - don't miss out. In the meantime, could we suggest that a dozen pine cone firelighters make a very nice gift? We are well supplied with these, and more are dropping - I mean, arriving - every day.


Ed, Sr. said...

I didn't care much for the transition from youth to Geezer. I'd have rather "stayed there."