Love Has a Nasty Habit of Disappearing Overnight

I woke up this morning with the Beatles song I’m Looking Through You (1965) in my head, in particular, the line “Love has a nasty habit of disappearing overnight.” The night before, I dreamed that I was listening to songs by REO Speedwagon. 

Yesterday, after my dream, I listened to my REO Speedwagon playlist during my daily walk. I noticed that the songs on my playlist were primarily about relationships. It’s interesting how the REO Speedwagon songs can be juxtaposed to tell a story of the stages of a relationship (similar to what I did a few years ago with Beatles songs in this blog post).

The first song in the story is Can’t Fight This Feeling (1984). It describes the wonderful feeling of newly discovered love.

I can’t fight this feeling any longer
And yet I’m still afraid to let it flow
What started out as friendship has grown stronger
I only wish I had the strength to let it show

I tell myself that I can’t hold out forever
I said there is no reason for my fear
‘Cause I feel so secure when we’re together
You give my life direction, you make everything so clear

The story continues with the song Take It On The Run (1981).

Heard it from a friend who
Heard it from a friend who
Heard it from another you been messin’ around
They say you got a boy friend
You’re up late every weekend
They’re talkin’ about you and it’s bringin’ me down

Here, the narrator has heard that his partner has been unfaithful to him. He is not sure whether he should believe it (“But I’m telling you, babe, that I don’t think it’s true, babe”) or break up with her (“If that’s the way you want it baby, then I don’t want you around”).

The story continues with Keep On Loving You (1980). Now, the narrator admits that he knows about his partner’s infidelities, but he still loves her and still wants her. 

And you know, I know all about those men
Still I don’t remember
‘Cause it was us baby, way before them
And we’re still together
And I meant every word I said
When I said that I love you
I meant that I love you forever

And I’m gonna keep on lovin’ you
‘Cause it’s the only thing I wanna do
I don’t wanna sleep
I just wanna keep on lovin’ you

Finally, the story ends with Time For Me To Fly (1978). The narrator realizes that the relationship is not working out, and it’s time to end it.

I’ve had enough of the falseness
Of a worn out relation
Enough of the jealousy
And the intoleration
Oh, I make you laugh
And you make me cry
I believe it’s time for me to fly

The question is why have I been dreaming about and waking up to songs about relationships? For myself, I retired from that endeavor long ago. My last relationship ended almost four years ago.

The answer lies in my Facebook feed. In this fresh new year of 2021, I’ve already seen four engagements announced, and it’s only three weeks into January! And three of those engagements were announced in the last three days! I call this phenomenon “The Covid Engagement”. After a disaster of the year 2020, caused by both the pandemic and increasing incivility between what people perceive as “us versus them”, wouldn’t it be great to start the new year with a fresh new hope of a wonderful life together? Happily ever after. 

Statistically, fifty percent of American marriages end in divorce, higher for second marriages. So I guess I subconsciously did the math, and that’s probably why I was thinking and dreaming of those songs. But as I sit here today, wide awake, I have a good feeling about these upcoming marriages! We all need something good to kick off 2021!

Oh, and if it’s not too late to say this, if the statute of limitations has not yet passed (watch S1E1 of Curb Your Enthusiasm for a discussion), Happy New Year!

Not Beep Beep

I was listening to Blondie yesterday, and the song Dreaming came on. I looked up the lyrics and learned something new.

“Feet feet, walking a two mile
Meet meet, meet me at the turnstile
I never met him, I’ll never forget him”

Feet feet? Meet meet? Wow. I always heard this as “Beep beep”. At least the first one.

This reminded me of the Road Runner cartoon. As a child, I always thought the Road Runner said “Beep beep.” But I later read that he was actually saying “Meep meep.” And if you Google it, you’ll find that there is some controversy about it.

Well, one thing I can be sure of is that Donna Summer said, “Toot toot, hey, beep beep.” Right?

Classic Movie Night

I decided to finally watch Marty (1955) tonight. It won Oscars for Best Picture and Best Actor, as well as Best Writing and Best Director.

1955 was a different time. When someone was explaining something, they would end their sentence with “See”. When addressing a stranger, they called him “Mac”. And perennially single Marty was told to go to the Stardust Ballroom, because it’s “loaded with tomatoes”. 

Oh, did I enjoy the film? Yes. Sweet touching story. Good acting. Nice movie to watch by yourself on a Saturday night. And I think a lot of us can identify with the two protagonists.

That Day

I was the quiet one
Invisible to everybody
Watching the world go by
But nobody ever noticed me

I walked and walked
Then something made me turn around
And there you were smiling
I was not alone!

Now many years later
In quarantine-induced solitude
Memories of that day
Turn sadness into smiles

More Than A Woman

I was listening to the radio in the car on the long drive home from LA to Orange County on the 405, and a cover version of More Than A Woman came on. I’m not sure who the artist was, but this might be it. 

It wasn’t terrible, but it made me want to listen to the real Bee Gees singing it. So I switched to The Bee Gees playlist that I have on my phone. 

The first song that came on was To Love Somebody. I’ve recently started to listen more closely to lyrics of songs I’ve heard before hundreds of times. So I listened intently. 

You don’t know what it’s like
You don’t know what it’s like
To love somebody
To love somebody
The way I love you

Sounds like it’s about unrequited love. And the twist is that it’s being sung directly to the woman who doesn’t love him back. Interesting! And sad.

The next song on my playlist started. 

When the feeling’s gone and you can’t go on
It’s tragedy
When the morning cries and you don’t know why
It’s hard to bear
With no one to love you
You’re goin’ nowhere

Another really sad song! The Bee Gees had a number of sad songs in their repertoire! Or at least the playlist I created included a number of sad songs. 

Let’s see what comes next. Any guesses?

How can you mend this broken man?
How can a loser ever win?
Please help me mend my broken heart
And let me live again”

Three for three in the sad song department.

One more Bee Gees song before I reached home.

When you reach out for me
Yeah, and the feelin’ is right
Then I get night fever

If Night Fever were about the coronavirus, those lines would give new meaning to the words “more than a woman”. 

After Life

I’ve started watching a new series on Netflix. It’s called “After Life”. It stars Ricky Gervais as Tony, a man who just lost his wife to cancer and becomes depressed and suicidal and tries to plod onward as best he can. 

The first episode was indeed depressing. But I somehow already started developing an attachment to the character, so I watched episode two. I’m glad I did. Episode two was better. The humor started coming out, some of it laugh out loud funny, and characters started forming relationships, and it’s now the show that I most look forward to watching every day. 

I won’t say too much more about the show. You can try it and see if it is for you. I imagine it’s not for everyone. But one last thing I want to mention regards one of the differences between US and English society. (The show takes place in England.)

Here in the states, when you want to get out of a conversation, it’s often uncomfortable and awkward. You say something like this. “Well, it’s been really nice talking with you, but I have to go. I have a thing.” You know, the THING! Or if you are at a party and are not leaving, you have to come up with something else. “I need to get some food.” That does not always work, because the person who doesn’t stop talking to you might follow you to the food table. So maybe you tell them you have to use the restroom. But sometimes they don’t take the hint, and they follow you there too. Ugh! Annoying. 

In England, as I’ve learned, it’s very easy. You just say “Cheers” and walk away. Nice and simple and short and sweet. Works every time. 


My Crossroads

The year was 1983. I was about to graduate from college in Philadelphia, and I had some choices to make. As I saw it, there were two directions my life could take. I could get a permanent job, or I could continue on to graduate school. 

At the time, I actually had a job, in my field, which I did not necessarily consider permanent, as I was working to simultaneously complete two bachelor’s degrees. I’ve always been a multitasker. 

I had an interview with RCA, in Moorestown, New Jersey. That’s Moorestown, not to be confused with Morristown, which is another town in New Jersey. This was explained to me, so I didn’t drive to the wrong part of New Jersey! Oh, and also not to be confused with Morristown Pennsylvania, or Morrisville, Pennsylvania. Got it?

I remember the person who was interviewing me at RCA told me before the interview was over that I would be receiving an offer. Job hunting was so easy, I thought! A few days later, I got a letter in the mail from RCA with an offer for a full time job paying $25,000 a year. 

I had another interview with TRW, in Redondo Beach, CA. They flew me out, and they gave me a rental car, a 1983 Toyota Corolla. Orange. I remember how fun it was to be on my own, driving a car in a new city. Being from Philadelphia, I assumed the hot spot was downtown, so I drove to downtown Los Angeles. Mistake! First, I was quickly introduced to the jammed 405 and the jammed 10 and jammed 110 freeways. Second, there was nothing of interest in downtown LA in 1983! Realizing that I made a mistake, I drove back to Redondo Beach and parked near the beach. That looked like a cool place. I liked it! I imagined myself living in a house near the beach, growing mother nature in my back yard. Hey, I was only 21.

I don’t remember this very clearly, but I’m pretty sure that TRW also offered me a job, and they offered a bit more than RCA. Maybe $27,000. I turned this down right away. I wasn’t ready to permanently move across the country just yet.

I had a third interview with the Naval Air Development Center (NADC), in Warminster, Pennsylvania. I still remember the man who interviewed me. He had curly hair and was wearing wire framed glasses. He also told me I would be receiving an offer, and he even tried to sell me on the job. He said the government pays less than private industry, but it has benefits, namely, you don’t have to work hard, you’ll never get laid off, and when you retire, you’ll get a pension.

A few days later, I received the official offer in the mail from NADC, a full-time job paying $17,000 a year. He wasn’t kidding that government jobs paid less, but I remembered his pitch.

After I received my diploma, I told my boss, at the software job I didn’t necessarily consider permanent, that I had received another offer from RCA for $25,000. He had been paying me minimum wage, since I had not yet received my degree. When he found out that I got an offer from a real company for $25k, without hesitation, he said he’d counter the offer with $28k.

I thought about this for a while, and I ended up accepting the counteroffer. My recollection over the years was that I accepted this offer, rather than taking the job at NADC, because money NOW was more important to me at age 21 than a stable job with a pension at retirement. I also was still considering going to graduate school in the fall.

As late summer approached, I was accepted to graduate schools. First New York University, then Berkeley, then UCLA. Remembering my fun couple of days at the TRW interview, I decided to take the offer from UCLA.

I obtained my Master’s degree in 1986. It took me three years, because I was also working simultaneously, from the second year onward. Still multitasking! Along the way, I bought my first car, a 1984 Orange Toyota Corolla. I kept that job for seven years, and then went on to the job that would define my adult career, which kept me employed for 29 years.

As I had friends who worked for the government and had either retired and were receiving pensions, or had plans to stay at their government jobs until they were vested in their pensions, I asked myself if I had made a mistake turning down that job at NADC. And the memory that was still with me was that I foolishly turned down the job at NADC because it did not pay enough.

As my 29 year career at my last company came to an abrupt end this year (thank you very much Covid economy!) I was again thinking back on my decision not to accept the offer at NADC. If I had accepted that offer, I could be receiving a pension now, instead of applying for unemployment benefits for the first time in my life.

So here I am at another crossroads. And it’s the first time ever in my life that I’m not working or in school or doing SOMETHING, with the exception of one or two summers in my early teens when I was too old to go to summer camp and not old enough yet to work. And this free time, off the treadmill I’ve been on for so many years, gave me time to think. 

With thinking came some newfound clarity, and I had an amazing revelation. The reason I turned down the job at NADC was NOT because of the lower salary. I suddenly remembered this very clearly. I did not want to work for the Navy! I did not want a job that contributed to killing people.

When I realized this, I also realized that I had a new blog post that I would have to write. I started typing it into my phone, and about ten minutes later, I switched over to my computer to finish it. I Googled to verify what NADC stood for. I knew N was for Navy, A was for Air, and C was for Center. I thought D was probably for Development, but I wanted to be sure. And yes, NADC did stand for Naval Air Development Center. 

But I also found some other things. First, the facility closed in 1996, and some of its operations were transferred to a facility in San Diego. But a few years before it closed, the base was renamed NAWC, which stood for Naval Air Warfare Center. Warfare! OMG. So glad I didn’t take that job!

Also, and I can’t believe I never noticed this before, the NADC facility was in Warminster, Pennsylvania. That’s WAR-minster. I had to look up the history of Warminster to see if there was a military significance to the name. Apparently, it was named after Warminster, England, which was originally called Worgemynstre. And it turns out, Warminster, England was the site of some battles in the English Civil War.


The Baader-Meinhof phenomenon strikes again

I learned a new acronym today. HOG.

I was watching Jeopardy. It was Wednesday’s episode, which was “from the vault”. It was originally broadcast as Million Dollar Masters in 2002.

Round one.
Category: Mind Your Own Business
Clue: This motorcycle manufacturer sponsors an owners group called HOG.
Question: What is Harley Davidson?

Hmm. I’d never heard of HOG before. A useless tidbit of information, I thought.

When Jeopardy was over, I tuned to Netflix to watch the final episode of season 6 of Grace and Frankie. In this episode (SPOILER ALERT!), Sol buys himself a Harley. Robert laments that they are short on money, partly because Sol is now “a HOG man”!

Wow. I just learned a new word, and not even 30 minutes later, I see it in use! There must be a word for this phenomenon!

Coincidentally, I also felt a sense of deja vu, as if I had written about this before! Yep, in my blog post from 2018, I wrote about learning the word “bibelot”, and then seeing it again five minutes later!

But wait, there’s more. Earlier in the evening, I was reading a Reader’s Digest article that came up in my Facebook feed. The title of the article was “Only English Majors Will Know These 26 Words from the Thesaurus”.
The second word mentioned in the article was “bibelot”!

That Girl and the Coronavirus

I was reading the news yesterday, and I came across the word “awry”. Whenever I see that word, I think of an episode of That Girl. In the episode, Ann’s father, Lou, pronounces the word incorrectly as AWW-ree, and Don corrects him and says it’s pronounced uh-RYE. And so starts a series-long rivalry between Don and Lou.

I did a Google search to find out which episode that was, and I found that all five seasons of That Girl are available to stream for free on Amazon Prime Video. Yay!

I used to watch That Girl back in the day, and I’ve seen all the episodes, some, multiple times. I remember my grandmother was a fan of the show, and this was something she and I bonded over.

As I was browsing the episodes in the Amazon app, I naturally went to Season 5, which originally aired in 1970-1971. I was old enough to watch that season as it originally aired on Friday nights, on our black and white Zenith TV. What immediately caught my eye was S5E19, Chef’s Night Out. Here is a description of that episode, which was not about COVID-19.

“Running her father’s restaurant is tough for Ann and Don when the staff comes down with a virus.”

I rewatched the episode today. First the maitre d catches the virus. Then the chef becomes infected. And then some customers. I couldn’t help but notice the crowded room full of customers in the restaurant sitting less than six feet apart with no masks. It made me nostalgic. For February!

There is another episode of That Girl that has been on my mind recently. It’s S3E3, titled Eleven Angry Men and That Girl. In the episode, Ann is assigned to a jury. The case is about a man who is accused of hitting his wife with an ashtray, bruising her face and knocking out two teeth. The jury votes, and it is 11 to 1, with Ann being the only juror voting not guilty.

As Ann is unable to convince the jury that there is reasonable doubt, the jury is sequestered in a hotel overnight. The next morning in the jury room, Ann comes up with a convincing argument. She says that the defendant was right-handed. She has another juror help her reenact the alleged crime scene. She argues that if he had hit her, as alleged, the left side of her face would be bruised, since he was right-handed and she was facing him. But the bruise and missing teeth were on the right side of her face, consistent with the husband’s account of her falling and hitting her face on the side of the chair, which was on her right.

After hearing this, the jury votes again, and it is 12-0 to acquit. Back in the courtroom, the foreman reads the verdict: not guilty. Upon hearing the verdict, the wife cries out. Then she and the husband get into an argument, and before long, he picks up an ashtray with his right hand and hits her on the right side of her face. Backhanded! Aha!

Why has this episode been on my mind? Ann’s argument, and the jurors’ acceptance of it, show a superficial look at the evidence. A little thought would raise the possibility that the man could have swung the ashtray in either direction, either forehandedly or backhandedly. Similarly, many people today argue that children should be sent back to school with no masks and no social distancing. They argue that children generally do not get severe cases of the coronavirus. But a little thought would raise the possibility that older teachers, parents, or grandparents of the infected children could catch the virus and become very sick or die. The old backhand!

Finally, curiosity was getting to me about the “awry” episode. I didn’t remember the context of the discussion, so I Googled and found that it happened in S2E18, titled “The Rivals”, which aired in January 1968. Ann and Don stay overnight at her parents’ house. In the morning, Lou brings in the newspaper and starts reading it. Then he states, “Well, I see we made it through another day without the world going awry.” It seems a lot has changed since 1968!