Many years ago, when my red Pontiac Sunbird hit the 80,000-mile mark, the car decided to start eating cassette tapes. It would hold on to one for a while, and no matter how many times I hit the eject button, refuse to release it. Then, randomly, some day, the tape would spit out.
Maybe I was desperate to listen to some non-radio music one day, but for whatever reason, I braved fate and put in a co-worker's debut album for his band, 6 Feet Over. The album, "Another Day Like Today," was the last one the car ever ate.
My car REALLY liked the album. For the next 20,000 miles or so, every time I started the engine, I'd hear "Another Day Like Today" whether I wanted to or not. It drove my husband crazy. Fortunately, there was a trick to bypass the tape player: Hit eject three times, and magically, the radio would play.
I haven't heard "Another Day Like Today" since late 2000 when my Sunbird went to the great car auction in the sky, and the cassette went with it. I don't think the album is even available any more.
I've long-since left journalism and the co-worker, Don Hammontree, has moved on to a copyediting job at a newspaper on the East Coast. We haven't talked in ages. Then, last month, I checked my email, and there was a message: "To my old boss." It had to be from Don -- he was the only person who ever called me "boss."
He said that out of the blue he wondered if I'd finished my book, so he Googled me and found my web site. I know the Internet is an extremely public place and I am out here to build a name and following for my writing career, but I still had a weird feeling in my gut when I read his email -- someone I know actually read what I've been writing.
It was fun to read about Don's accomplishments since I last saw him. He has his own blog here on Blogspot, Driving to Oahu, which is named for one of his original compositions on "Another Day Like Today". Six Feet Over may have long since broken up, but he's still recording music under his name. His most recent release is Mount Hope Days. He's reworking a novel he wrote many years ago, which you can read about on Baptized in Formaldehyde, and he's starting a new novel yet to be named.
I wonder if I should brave the stereo gods and try to download one of his new songs from iTunes. What are the odds of Don's music jamming my iPod like his cassette jammed my tape player?