Scintilla13 Day 16 (The Final Day)
We bet there was a story you wanted to tell that didn’t line up with any of the prompts. Write it anyway – and use it to write a one or two sentence prompt that others could use to tell a good story of their own. Then, share it with us, if you’re comfortable.
Most aspects of my college life were either forgettable, or something I wish I could forget. God forbid those should be the best years of my entire life, as they are for so many people.
There were, however, certain highlights of my college experience. Things that even today I miss. Some of them, like theatre, I have been able to replicate in non-college life. Others, there is just no way to replicate. At least, not without many resources that I lack.
One of those things is having a radio show. But this is not a story about radio, so hang with me.
My freshman year of college I somehow convinced myself to go to a meeting for prospective radio hosts on the tiny college campus I attended at the time. It meant talking to people and such, and getting lessons on the equipment. But I did it, and it became the highlight of each week. “Basically Music, with Ty Unglebower” aired Wednesday nights from midnight to 2AM. (I loved such a graveyard shift. I asked for it in fact.)
After a year, I left that college. A year or so later, I was starting college at what would end up as my alma mater. That too wasn’t the best of experiences, especially earlier on. But they did have a radio station, and I was able to bring “Basically Music” back on the air, all be it on a different air, at a slightly earlier time slot.
The first year I did it, loved it, and was satisfied. The mix of my own personal eclectic but softer music library, sprinkled with some commentary and random thoughts from me here and there. It was a focal point of my creative life. More important to me even than some classes.
Then came the second year of the show.
I’m guessing it was about halfway through the first semester. I was attending my dorm’s periodic open mic gatherings, where I would read some poems once in a while. Afterwards a woman who had been there came up to me, and told me she listened to my radio show. This got my attention, you see, because that had happened maybe four times ever at both colleges combined.
Yet it was also memorable because of how intelligent, witty and considerate the woman was. And the things she told me proved she did in fact listen to the show, instead of just saying she did.
Over the next few weeks, I’d see her passing in the hall, or on the mall or whatever, and she’d usually have something bright or something sarcastic to say. Some inside reference to a previous conversation. Or something about the show.
I found her deciding to eat at my table at the cafeteria a few times, where the conversations about the show would continue. (As would the theft of my french fries, which I assumed she knew I could see.)
One day she asked me to play a particular song on the show that night when she saw me. I agreed, and asked her if she had any of her own music she wanted me to play. I don’t recall the exact album,but she did bring me a CD to my room at some point. (Probably October Project, but I can’t be certain.) And I played it on the air that night.
Several weeks, requests, and dropped off CDs later, I asked her one night if she was free to actually come down to the station to see how the show went behind the scenes. She agreed, and I gave her the “grand” tour of the closest sized station. The five buttons I had to know in order to broadcast, and the little sheet of paper where I kept records of what I played. She said it was interesting. I wondered if she meant it, but I invited her back the next week, possibly to actually speak on the air. That is to say to be an actual guest of the show. She agreed.
Her first appearance went well enough, though she had to be reminded that when we conversed on the air, nodding in response to my questions was not adequate for a radio audience.
She couldn’t make it the following week, but asked if she could come back and be a guest in two weeks. I agreed, and she did. When she did, she brought her entire collection of CDs with her, and “Basically Music” that night was a mix of my collection and her own.
She did the same thing the following week. And for several weeks afterward. Eventually I actually started to leave her in charge of the station for a few moments while I left to use the bathroom. (This was a highly illegal move. Much against policy.)
“If something happens, just do something,” I told her that first time, despite her being slightly nervous about what could occur.
Nothing ever did occur though, even though I would give her the same advice, word for word every week. For you see, she showed up there with me to do the show virtually every single week for the rest of my time at college over the next two years. She was promoted from perennial guest to co-host by the end of the first year. (Also illegal, as she had not gone through the proper training to be a co-host.) Once she was even the host on her own, as I had a rehearsal for a play. (Probably the most illegal thing I let her do.)
But I trusted her. Reason being, somewhere along the way between all the shows, and the requests, and CDs, and stolen fries she had become one of the best friends I would ever have.
Or have even now. Though I haven’t seen her in person since our final college day together, her importance in my life has not at all diminished. I can see a framed picture of the two of us in the station as I type this.
We don’t agree on everything, of course. Don’t think that every moment we have known each other has been without friction or conflict. (Though none of it horrendous.) But that is one of the many lessons of her in my life…that I can not only accept and tolerate people with different value structures in a legal sense, but can sometimes embrace and love them in a spiritual sense as well.
I often joke with her even now about she was the only person ever to successfully just talk her way into my life, and insinuate herself into one of my creative endeavors without being invited. What is not a joke is that the trajectory of my life forever changed because of her arrival in it. For the better, naturally. All because I did a radio show, and she heard it one day.
My prompt: Talk about how someone other than your spouse entered your life casually, but ended up being of great significance to who and what you are.