This is an excerpt from the Ridenbaugh Press book Transition, by W. Scott Jorgensen. More will be appearing over the weeks to come. The book is available now from Ridenbaugh Press.
One day, I drove to the local branch of the employment department. Parking spots were rare, and the lot was completely packed. One eventually became available as someone else left.
The national unemployment rate was 9 percent that month. Oregon was at 9.6 percent and Portland was at 9.3 percent.
I entered my resume into the department’s computer system. After browsing the various job listings for a while, I decided to head home for lunch.
As I left, “Lost Cause” started playing on my iPod yet again.
Why did this keep happening?
I had plans one afternoon to jam with Justin, as he had just bought a bass guitar and amp cabinet. Since I didn’t have a job or any prospects, it was the least I could do to get out of the house.
Justin and I were going to be joined by another old friend, Jon. He and I had reconnected via Facebook, and it turned out he lived a few blocks from Justin.
The last time I saw Jon, I had just started working at the radio station and gotten married. We played a round of disc golf one day, but had since fallen out of touch.
Oddly enough, he and Justin had run into each other while recycling at a neighborhood store in Portland. They had lost each other’s contact information, so this would be a reunion of sorts for them as well.
Back when Justin and I were both in a band called Drunken Public, we were somewhat of a songwriting team. He would come up with decent riffs, but would be unable to remember them. I would then take those riffs and use them as the basis for songs.
Justin hadn’t played a whole lot since then. This was actually the first time he had owned a bass since pawning his equipment in early 2002. I was curious to see if Justin could recall any of our old material, so I started playing a few of those songs.
One of them, “A Woman in Washington,” had been among my favorites. It was written as a response to Congressman Gary Condit’s 2001 sex scandal involving his missing intern Chandra Levy. The song took potshots at him, Bill Clinton and Ted Kennedy.
Condit’s story had dominated the news in those seemingly innocent days before the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon.
Almost approximately 24 hours before the attacks, Condit’s political career was being discussed on a Fox News program, as they were debating whether or not he should resign. Meanwhile, on the other end of the country, I, Justin and some of our other friends were having a late night in my Talent residence. We had made it a point to try to finish a box of Franzia wine that another friend had left in my fridge at a previous party. (more…)