Imagine you’re working fulltime for minimum wage and the cost of living in Manhattan is so low, you actually save money. You tuck $3,000 away in a passbook savings account and by the end of …
Imagine you’re working fulltime for minimum wage and the cost of living in Manhattan is so low, you actually save money. You tuck $3,000 away in a passbook savings account and by the end of ’79, without adding a penny of your own money, you have $3,336.00.
The bank awarded you interest in an amount that nearly equals your month’s net salary of $352. Imagine that!
Imagine there’s no internet; no online profiles. You meet people mostly in person at work, parties, or clubs. Some people place ads in the newspaper looking for companions, but pictures are not included; only words.
This ad, single Jewish male, 28, who enjoys life and having fun, but also takes life seriously, is looking for that special female to share life and its pleasures…, would inspire a friend of yours, little-known songwriter Rupert Holmes, to eventually pen the hit single “The Pina Colada Song”.
Imagine you’re still friends with him and he also writes a song called, Him. Imagine you’re out and about, and it’s impossible to check your phone because everyone’s phone, including yours, is back at their residence attached by an actual wire to the wall.
When you speak on said phone, you cannot move around unless you’ve installed a twenty-five foot coiled cord, which then allows you to chat and clean your entire studio apartment (rent $165/mo) at the same time. You dance with the cord as you move about juggling dishes and mops, the receiver pressed ardently between ear and neck.
At the end of the day, you need a massage, but you don’t dare get one because you’ve heard massages can be sordid. The idea of a therapeutic massage would come along later and still you’d be afraid.
Imagine you’re not at home and someone calls your number, and you never know about it until they call you back to tell you they’ve been trying to reach you. When you do finally connect, your friend asks if you know the name of the scientist who invented crop rotation, and you don’t.
Imagine, that’s where the conversation ends and both of you move on from there unless one of you has something called an encyclopedia or time to go to the library. (It was George Washington Carver).
Imagine, one of your friends begs you to buy a device called an answering machine. You resist. You can’t see the point. They’ll call back, you say. “But you might miss an important call,” insists your friend. Imagine, you don’t comprehend how missing a call would even matter. You know that everyone calls back until they get you.
Finally after months of harassment, you buy the damn machine. It has two mini-cassette tapes; one for recording incoming messages and the other for delivering a greeting a/k/a outgoing message. You decide to sing the outgoing in a jazzy style; something you don’t do very well, but you do it anyway. And it goes like this: You’ve reached 874-6738 Leave your message baby, don’t hesitate If you’re lookin’ for Ramona Leave your name and number and she’ll phone ya.’
Imagine on the very first day it’s hooked up, you leave your apartment with, as usual, nary a thought as to who might call. Upon your return, the red light on the machine is blinking indicating that someone actually left a message. You are truly perplexed.
You play the message. It’s Hilly Kristal from CBGB’s. He wants your band, Comateens, to play his club at 2am on a Tuesday. You’re ecstatic and your friend was right. Who knows if a person as important as Hilly Kristal would have bothered to call again. There are so many bands in NYC.
Imagine you accept the gig and from that point forward play all the cool clubs in NYC. Based on my early years in NY.
To be continued…
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