First Date

Ed considers this our first date:

Mind you, I was engaged at the time!

We worked at the same gas station. Shifts generally meant you worked alone, with you relieving the person before you and there being about an hour overlap, and the same again at the end of your shift. This meant there was a lot of alone time, which for us, was filled with studying and listening to the radio between helping customers.

Both of us (and the ex, who worked at another location of the gas station) got really good at winning the various 'be the 100th caller' contests put on by the three rock stations. In my tenure, I won sweat shirts, t shirts, a few albums, a few more CDs, a WNEW 'locker' filled with goodies and lots of concert tickets. As did Ed. And the ex.

One Sunday AM, while listening to Pete Fornatele's Mixed Bag, I won tickets to see Renaissance at Club Bene, a cabaret in New Jersey. As I knew it was one of Ed's favorite acts, I invited him along. Ex and another friend also wanted to go, so the four of us piled in a car and went to see this show, which ultimately was the last concert the original incarnation of the band would perform live.

A month later, Ed was one of WNEW's winners of David Bowie tickets with backstage meet and greet. As the announced opening act was one of my favorites, Squeeze, he immediately invited me to go to this concert with him. That show was sold out, so it was just us-which is why it is our 'first' date.

Meeting Bowie was kind of cool, they had about 50 contest winners in a press room, while the air talent from the big New York stations milled about. Scott Muni came in with his own bottle of Jack Daniels and two packs of Pall Malls (though I think Ed will say they were Lucky Strikes-they were something unfiltered and nasty). While we were in the meet and greet, the opening act of Lisa Lisa and Cult Jam (added to the bill and a head scratcher) played.

We got out of the meet and greet to hear Squeeze play their last song of the set, got into the arena in time to watch them walk off. Oh well!

The notable thing was that I was driving a beat up Malibu with known voltage problems, to the point that I had a volt meter clipped into the dash. The car needed to sit after any drive to restore the alternator to 12 volts. Ed, however, did not listen to me that I needed to sit there for about 3-5 minutes to get the juice up. He insisted we needed to leave NOW. The car was at 7 volts.

We came out of the concert and of course, it was dead. It took forever to get someone from Giants stadium to come give us a jump and of course, that guy was not listening to me that I needed him to give more than enough charge to start it. The car started, but there wasn't enough juice in it to power the lights properly.

Thus began the most harrowing trip out of the stadium, onto the New Jersey Turnpike, over the Goethals and Verrazano, on the Belt and Southern State parkway home. All because Ed didn't want to drive his pristine condition Ford Torino into New Jersey...


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