A few days before Thanksgiving in 2000, my boss called me. He told me to arrange a flight to Falmouth, Massachusetts for the Sunday following the holiday. I was going to spend the next three weeks on Cape Cod doing everything I could to save the company's ass from a date bug that was going to hit when the clock struck 2001. Sort of a delayed Y2K bug. I was going to a different company within the larger corporation.
I walked into a disaster. I had no idea what to expect. I had been to the old facility which kind of warm and welcoming and it was summer time when I went there in 1999. This time it was cold, dark, dreary and instead of training for what would become my new job as a service technician, I was being a service tech of the highest order. I had three weeks to get a couple hundred of our monitoring units up and running before I left on December 17 (four days prior to my birthday and a week before Christmas).
My previous trip was enjoyable, relaxing and it felt good to get away from the place I called home for my 26 years of existence. I was eating seafood, enjoying the local, slower paced, culture of Cape Cod. I got to see downtown Boston and get followed around by a weird hippy lady and several other people who seemed to have lost their gods somewhere along the line and wanted me to find them. I spent plenty of cash in the local record stores picking up several different CDs since I had brought none with me on that first trip. Faith No More, No Doubt, Veruca Salt, and several others. I even managed to find time to work. This time, though, was different.
I was working to keep the company in good standing with the City of Boston. I hated being that important. I liked doing the smaller work of a repair here, part replacement there. Being "the man" was not my thing. It was frustrating for the most part and then the shit hit the fan. I ended up having to go to the place where the systems were coming from because they were having an issue. We went back and forth and I tried to explain that a Centrex phone system was not suitable to test our modems, it had to be a standard line (trust me on this, there are differences. I won't bore you). I got back and I was pissed. I wanted nothing more than to go home, but first, I had to return a phone call...from my boss.
I called him that evening when I got back to the hotel. I had not eaten and only had a bottle of orange soda since lunch. Needless to say, I was not in a cordial mood. He answered the phone with a, "Hello, Jasen, how's it going?" Those were his only words for fifteen full minutes as I went off on a tirade of f-bombs, bitches, and strings of complaints that I'm sure had the family in the room two doors down saying novenas all night long. I was sure that by the time I got done I would be packing up to come home and find another job. No boss I had ever worked would ever put up with what I was saying on that phone. Finally, I finished and I waited what felt like an eternity for his response. Then he responded...
"Feel better?" He laughed. HE LAUGHED! After I had said things that I'm sure would get me thrown into a holding cell for thirty days, all he could do was laugh. Then he continued, "Now you know how I f--king feel, and our salesman, too. This has been one goddamn clusterf---k and we're just trying to fix it. Do your best, that's all I'm asking, and the way you sound, you are. Go get some dinner, get a beer (I didn't drink at the time, but I was tempted) and get a good cup of coffee in the morning." He hung up and I felt a great weight lifted off of me.
That evening I went out for a large meal of seafood and went to the record store on Main Street. Spinnaker Records, a small, hole-in-the-wall type of record store that appears in every city. I walked through the door and approached the used rack, I was looking for something specific. "You're back," said the girl behind the counter. I looked up and recognized the same, cute girl that worked there when I was on the Cape a year and a half earlier. I knew I was in there a lot, but that much? I responded and talked to her for a few minutes before I continued my search. I knew this album would help me cope with the hell that I was facing, but nobody ever sold it back.