Homelessness Marathon blog

... ending homelessness isn't a matter of charity, but a matter of changing the way our society is structured. -- Homelessness Marathon founder, Jeremy Weir Alderson, aka Nobody.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

In Detroit for the Broadcast

We are in the thick of it now.   As always, the final stages of preparation for the broadcast are very intense.  We arrived at the broadcast site to find that the phone block was of a type we were unfamiliar with.  So there was some immediate panic and a quick call to the phone company to make sure they could send a repairman out to install the jacks for us.  But after a while, we figured it out, and in the process of doing so, realized we couldn't find two of the lines we had ordered.  So it's a good thing the repair guy is coming, even if we don't need him for the jacks.  But the point is that, in that moment, we were confronted with something that could take down the entire broadcast.  It didn't, but for me, at least, it's a shock to the system, like hearing that the plane your uncle is on might just have crashed and then hearing an hour later that no, it was another plane.
          Immediately after that, my e-mail account crashed, and of course it would only do that right when I am awaiting e-mail confirmation as to whether or not the City of Detroit will send representatives for an on-the-air dialog with the homeless people on site.  The answer to that turned out to be yes, but I only got the e-mail after frantically calling people at my very good ISP until finally the boss took care of it.
          In other words, it's just one shock after another, and I think any event planner will recognize this as a more-or-less normal kind of scenario, although other planners may have a higher percentage of routine events than we ever seem to be able to pull off.  But for all of that, I've been enjoying myself immensely.
          My son, Michael, is our chief engineer.  He has been involved with every broadcast, sleeping outside on the pavement in sympathy with the first one, when he was just thirteen.  Oh well, you know, tomorrow who knows what will be with any of us, but so far, it's been a blast being with him, and I feel like a lucky father to have this event that we can share.
          The people at Cass Community Social Services are incredibly nice, really all of them.  I have kind of given up trying to be something other than a gorilla, at times, but I am striving these days to be a gorilla who can stay in the social preserve. And one of the nice things about being at Cass Community, is that whenever I look my wildest, they have a kindly glint in their eyes like they saw sixteen worse cases before breakfast.
          And I've been having a lot of singular experiences.  Driving to Detroit, for example, I was interviewed twice on one of our affiliates, WRFG in Atlanta.  It wasn't really the most advantageous time for interviews, the first for half an hour and the second for a full hour, but they were trying to help promote the broadcast, I certainly wanted to help them with that, and Michael drove while I was talking on the cell phone.
           As it turned out, the two interviews went extremely well, and for the second one, I was interviewed by three people at once, or maybe there was a fourth, and they really seemed to like the things I was saying, and I really enjoyed talking with them.  What made this more than just a good interview was that WRFG is a community station for a community that is largely African-American.  So it resonated with my performance at the COTS shelter, and it just seemed so funny to me to think of myself as someone who's really down with black people.  I wouldn't describe myself that way in any case, but the thing of it is that I am so pathetically unhip that the mere thought that I might have any appeal to a black audience just about makes me giggle.  I have to add, though, that, if it turned out to be true, I would just think that was great.  Who wouldn't?

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