A couple days ago I posted how I’d found these videotapes . . . ones I’d stolen from an old TV station. For the record again, I would and never have done anything like this again and the so-called crime was far from criminal because the station was prepping to dispose of them all. Dispose of them meaning they were throwing them out.
Look up at those two clips . . . two flickering moments from the stacks of videotapes I found these in. They may not seem like much, two minor Entertainment segments with seemingly no value other than their glimpse into the pop culture news of the day. But I see major events of my life, two massive ones, that are flowing below the surface. I’ve written about them both before…
Obviously, the anchor for these segments is my wife, Andrea. She wasn’t my wife during these times, though. The two segments I’ve hand picked just for today’s blog have pretty high significance for me.
The first, which you see there, is actually a segment that was edited and aired after the event. I had arrived at work, angry at the world, pissed about life, not sure why. Maybe the cute red-haired girl in the back of the classroom had rejected me, maybe I was mad I had to work, but I was early for work. She was late to get to a preview screening of a movie for her segment. I ran into her in the parking lot of Your News 17 in Council Bluffs, Iowa. I said the typical ‘how’s it going’ or something and she stopped right in front of me. I remember vivid details. She had a black and white polka-dot blazer on. She had a t-shirt that showed just a little cleavage. She wore silk pants that just caught my eye. Not sure why they did, but I had to force myself not to look at her legs or behind or I’d get caught looking at her legs and behind.
She stopped dead in front of me and said “I’m late to go review a movie.” Then she got this look, a smile and twinkle that literally paralyzed me. I could see the gears turning in her head and she asked “want to come along?”
She hated doing things like this alone. I hated shirking my duties for preproduction. I was shy, lanky, horrified, and of course I said “yes.”
The first segment . . . she was reviewing the Marrying Man . I had to watch this segment to get an idea of what the movie was about. I watched her the whole film, not the movie. We got back and I don’t even remember punching the pre-production for that segment. I was in a daze.
But I didn’t ask her out. It was months before I did anything.
Which brings me to segment two up there. Again, strangely I remember the outfit. I’m not a clothes hound nor am I fashionable. But she had style – and it was just past the late ’80s. I remember thinking I was clever and being the kid who makes fun of the girl he likes. I called it her Kermit jacket because it was the kermit/Kelley green. That segment is April 19th, 1991. I know, because it’s the day the George Foreman/Evander Holyfield fight took place. I remember, because it seemed she’d moved he attentions to someone else.
By the end of that night . . . and we must have done the segment semi-live because I remember the jacket . . . she walked up to another person on the crew, not me, and said they were going out for drinks later that night and if he wanted to stop by it would be grand. Somebody else.
Have you ever had that bout of jealousy where you aren’t depressed and shy you get angry? That was me. I don’t remember what I said but I do remember being kind of mean to her on headsets . . . which I’m embarrassed to say wasn’t new for me anyway. I was a nasty director. I wasn’t mad at my friend and colleague I was mad at her. But the response was the same . . . you see, I remember the day because that same friend and I were working late voluntarily because we got to watch the pay-per-view fight for free since we worked for a cable company. We did ad insertion for some sporting event and watched the fight.
Foreman lost, but we got to the later rounds and the newsroom phone rang. Normally nobody would be there, not even the community at large bothered to call after 6:30pm because even they knew the station would be a ghost town after 6:30 since we had no other newscasts. I answered the phone and on the other end was noise . . . loud, shouting bar noise.
“It’s Andrea!” was the answer from the other end. “Who’s this?”
“It’s Dave,” I said and asked if she wanted me to pass the phone to our friend.
“Why? I’m talking to you!” was her answer. “We’re at the Bluejay. I was checking if you were coming over.”
She blew off the fact she’d asked someone else, she simply said “the more the merrier.”
I looked at him, asking if we should go, and he probably didn’t want to. But he relented and said . . .”ok, the fight’s slowing down anyway.”
We walked into the bar, and it’s about as college a hangout as you’ll ever find. The wood floors are worn wood with the varnish between the slats now blackened from the beer, food and whatever else spilled all over the floor. They served beer in plastic cups not glasses and pitchers of .32 beer were plentiful. I’ll be honest, it was April 1991, so I was 20. Nobody even checked ID on the way in so it was no big deal – and for the record I was that stick in the mud who didn’t have a fake ID.
I remember the green jacket because it came out of the crowd and came straight toward us. She gave our friend a hug but then hooked her arm in mine and pulled me into the fray. I honestly don’t remember if he stayed until close like I did or if he left. I do remember that I offered her a ride home and she said she’d come with friends and needed to get them home. She walked up, though, and gave me a huge hug and kissed me on the cheek. When she pulled back she took her thumb and rubbed her red lipstick off my cheek.
I gave her crap after we started dating about that night. “You didn’t invite me to the bar that night,” I would tell her. “You asked somebody else.”
“You wouldn’t get off your ass and ask me out,” she said, “and I gave YOU a hug and kiss . . . nobody else. You think that was an accident?”
She had that mischievous grin again.
Two events . . . one the aftermath of her coming onto my radar. The other . . . the events leading up to the moment I couldn’t let her go. I remember walking up not long after that night at the Bluejay and saying “I had fun…” and having her say the same. She was getting ready to go on air and that awkward, young silence that overcomes you had me walking away from her.
I got maybe two steps when she asked “so when are we going to do it again?”
I know you think I have to have embellished these stories, and maybe I did . . . a little. But she was a force of nature. There wasn’t much to embellish, and when I fell…I fell hard.
So when I see those segments, now twenty-one years later, I finally can smile a little because I can see what you’re not seeing on video in my mind’s eye.