Thursday, August 6, 2020

Storms. And calms.

On Tuesday night, the furious edge of hurricane Isaias ran straight into the quiet little middle-Connecticut hamlet where my wife decided we would ride out the Covid storm.

Since about 5PM Tuesday night we've been without power and without air-conditioning and without refrigeration. The last without is pretty severe. My wife knows how to pack a refrigerator. I'm pretty sure we could have ridden out the Nazi's 900-day siege of Leningrad and we would still have had bagels to toast, chicken dinners to defrost and if she were feeling somewhat positively disposed toward me, enough ice-cream to last the duration.

All that food is ruined now. And I don't even want to think about the monetary loss. I should have bought a generator--but buying a house in need of repairs was enough and I didn't want to spring for even more.

Tuesday night, I was to teach my last class at AdHouse and of course I had to postpone. You can't teach over Zoom if you have no computer power and no wifi.

Wednesday morning--still without the appurtenances common in the "First World," I had a major client presentation, my first with this client--a division of the World Bank.

I drove early to a local hotel with my wife and enough power source cordage to stretch from Connecticut to Upper Lower Lompoc, a distance of approximately 2,500 miles.

We got online and we charged our various Apple machines. I dropped my wife off at home, walked and swam and shampoo'd Whiskey, showered in cold-water and headed back to the hotel for my presentation. 

Though fucking Verizon spends $1.5 billion on trumpeting the reliability of their fucking network, it never fails except every time you need it. In my home, I get 1/2 a bar. In the hotel I was crashing, four.

I can't wait until Verizon and the other bionic monopolies like AT&T finally roll out 5G-spot. And we'll surely get faster dropped calls and speedier unreliability for more money with less recourse for complaint because, well, we're dealing with monopolies who graft senators and congressmen to the tune of hundreds of millions of dollars a year. We pay for that via their extortionate monthly rates and additional hidden gouging.

It ain't easy being a solo pilot in the advertising world. Along the way you have no one to reassure you as you go through the pain of reading and understanding a brief and birthing your creative, putting together a presentation, a set of reasons why and a rationale for what you've done.

There's no infrastructure to support you. No planners, no account people. No wise and hard-working partner to reassure you and/or carry you. There's not even a nearby and nearly soporific CCO to mumble something encouraging or nearly encouraging whichever comes second.

I enlisted a long-time friend, an account person from my long-ago past to help me with this one.

As you might imagine in dealing with an organization as complex and unwieldy as an international monetary body, there was a shit load to read. Even the paperwork to become an approved vendor required an attention to minutia that I simply don't possess. I needed "support." 

Thankfully, I found the right person to provide it. As I said, a brilliant ex-Ogilvy account person who is steady, smart and personally winsome. 

I drove back to the hotel and as I pulled my 1966 Simca 1500 into the parking lot, I notice a single parking spot in the shade, against the 91-degree heat. Like a veteran cop, I chucked the Simca, without coming to a complete stop into reverse and backed the old sedan into the single space.

In short order I was able to get Verizon's vaunted reception--four bars and Microsoft meeting across four continents to present five manifestos and fourteen "provocations," headlines passing as thought starters, in an era when mentioning the word print could get you pilloried and kicked out of what's left of the once noble ad community.

Sitting in my car, the windows rolled down, the slightest breeze, I presented my obliquity off. And thank god, my work, if not my obliquity was well-received.

We smiled and we laughed at the conclusion. We applauded the work. We talked about next steps and steps after next steps.

Along the way my friend and support texted me.

"George, you did great." She wrote, even including the requisite comma most people these days elide.

A lot has changed in the seven months since I was booted out of Ogilvy--since I was deemed disposable, despite having spent ten years there, coming through on the most-pressured assignments in the holding company.

That punctures you, I'll be honest.

And seeing the heralding of new CCOs, who I suspect can't do what I do and never will be able to, rubs my goat the wrong way. Sure they're great, perfect, surpassing, keyed into culture and all that chazarai.

That angers you, I'll be honest.

But in the meantime, me, just me, presented a giant amount of work to the World Freaking Bank. I did it with the help of an old and trusted friend, but essentially alone, from the back of my 1966 Simca, in the dark.

The rest of you?

You can go fuck yourselves.

And I say that in the nicest possible way. 

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