Monday, January 25, 2021

A day in the life.

It's Friday morning as I write this. A sparkling day. The air is cold. The sun is bright. The sea, just thirty feet beyond my windows is glistening--a white light reflecting off the low chop of the Sound. 

Moments ago, out for a walk, I heard then saw a flock of 50 geese honking overhead, flying crazy like rush-hour traffic on the Major Deegan. Honking like a cabbie just seconds before the light changes. 

I suppose given that it's 2021 and the world seems to have taken a hair's breadth step away from doom, what passes for peace has settled over my small nook in Connectinook. 

Yeah, ok, I'll quote Rodgers' and Hart. They did things better than I could do. And prettier too.

Here's Diana--since when have you ever had too much Diana? Then Blossom. Then June Allyson, a bit of Hollywood corn, but wonderful all the same.

"I'd feel so rich in a hut for two,
Two rooms, a kitchen, I'm sure would do.
Give me not a lot of just a plot of land
And thou swell, thou witty, thou grand."

I've been a solo player in the advertising multi-plex for a year now. And I'm still trying to figure out what it all means and if I at all like it. 

When you spend your life working for others, playing on a team, being inside a machine, having a company's name on your business card, you get used to it. It's what you know. It becomes part of your identity. 

You can resent certain portions of it, of course. But it's all a little bit like being on a ball-team. And working for IBM and Ogilvy was a little like putting on the pinstripes of the Yankees each day.

I'm sure a lot of Yankee players and coaches hated Steinbrenner, or hated commuting to the broken-bottled-balled-fist Bronx. But still, there was something magical about putting on the same uniform the great DiMaggio wore and sharpening your spikes and your teeth for yet another game.

That's all gone now. 

That rug was pulled out from under me. 


No amount of prescience, therapeutic or otherwise prepares you for that loss. In fact, like the warmth of sunshine off the nearby Long Island Sound, the feeling isn't just different every day, in fact, it's different every hour, or every minute, even.

GeorgeCo., a Delaware Company, LLC is doing better than I had ever imagined it would do. I have a friend and long-time colleague who helps me cope and keeps me in-line and keeps clients clienting. I have a large-handful of clients who keep me busy and seem to enjoy the spinning gears and neural connections that pass for my mind. 

Touch wood, the phone rings. I'm getting in-bound without doing out-bound. I've fought the urge to get outside writing help, though it seems I have legions of planners, producers and art-directors on stand-by.

Fortunately, I don't have to fill out timesheets, take orders or, show up smiling to the things I'd rather not show up to. I also have no petty bureaucrats who are Soviet in their love of protocol, foolish regimen and harshness. No spiritual whip welts my amplitude.

I work with people I like, for people I like and I keep telling people I believe that the golden rule even applies to advertising, at least how I'm practicing it.

Of course, I have, every day, miles to go before I sleep. I have "deliverables." "Zooms." "Iterating." And a thousand worries and points of view I have to weigh, consider and respond to.

I have confusing directions to un-ravel, eighty-one page decks to make sense of, and the convoluted wiring diagrams of old soviet nuclear subs to Rosetta-stone. Assignments are like that sometimes. Always will be.

I also have, often, an unwieldy amount of pressure. My aforementioned "two rooms, a kitchen" don't come cheap. When Rodgers and Hart wrote those words, there were no $10,000 Sub Zero refrigerators to think about and no ambitious architects seeking to turn a humble clatter of 1920s two-by-fours into an authentic-looking New England seaside cottage enhanced by all the fortitude the mid-twenty-first century can wangle from your leatherette wallet, not to mention a hungry architect with a Hawthorne-esque last name and a high-end Range Rover to assuage.

It's a lonely world for me right now. Agency-life had surrounded me with people who enjoyed me and liked spending time with me. There was never any shortage of NKO (nearby kibbitz opportunity) and that's all gone now.

It's me and my 1955 Underwood manual typewriter, clacking away.

Oh, the typewriter is quiet.

That's me clacking.

No comments: