New York, 2010
Here's a little story...It was 2010 and I was living in Bed Stuy Brooklyn in New York City. I worked at a grocery store in SOHO in the produce department alongside some of the hardest working people I have ever met, who were mostly from Mexico and South America. I was the one white dude, and from New Hampshire to boot, so they got a real kick out of me, but we got along quite well. They called me "jefe" and also "Harry Potter" because of my glasses, and I would just smile and laugh and we had a good time.
The watermelon truck would come now and then, and we would all assemble outside the store and unload it while bystanders and tourists took photos and looked on at us with wonder. Physical labor is always impressive to those not involved. The driver would be up in the rack body truck and he'd throw down a melon to me, then I'd toss it to the next guy, and so on until it got to the freight elevator that came up through the sidewalk.
Everyone knew I was a musician, and I had already asked for time off for a gig once, but the second time is when the hammer came down...
"One Saturday off is fine, but two in one month? We can't have that." said the store manager, a New York man in his early 60s who was cool and calm and spoke fluent Spanish.
I seized the moment and told him that maybe I just was not the guy for the job since I was a musician first and foremost and would need time off here and there. He looked me in the eyes and said he respected that completely and then told me a story about how when he was in college back in the early 70s, he would walk by the campus radio station door and really longed to be a part of it and become a DJ. One day, the door was open so he popped in and the old timer in there almost roped him in to learn the ways, but he decided not to even though a little voice inside him wanted to do it. He went to work in the grocery business instead, but a part of him wished he had gone into radio.
We shook hands and I thanked him for his blessing, since he told me in so many words to go after what I wanted, and just like that I had given my two week notice and a decision to pursue music as a life and career was even more set in stone to me. Shortly after that two weeks I moved back home to New Hampshire. Less than a year later, I released my first solo album and went on my first tour. 18 days from New Hampshire to New Orleans and back. 5000 miles or so, to think and reflect on the life I was trying to build out of the rubble of decisions I had made in the past.