When Chandler finally did get to sleep, he had the worst DJ nightmare ever. He dreamt that there was a bad air shift at the station. Thus nothing, absolutely nothing, but dead air could be heard during his entire show. That nightmare was worse than the one about him tuning into every competitor’s station in the city and hearing them play new songs that they’d beaten him to.
As a result of tossing and turning all night, Chandler woke up extra sleepy the next morning. He also woke up late. Thirty whole minutes late.
Not bothering to make up his bed, he rushed through his shower, and then quickly dressed in a pair of jeans and a green and white Boston Celtics throwback jersey. He drove to work wrinkled and hungry because he didn’t have time to iron or eat. Yet he made time to pray on the way.
Chandler needed prayer more than ever today. He was battling discouragement in a major way. Blame it on that suitcase of disappointment that he still carried around in his heart due to Inaya’s rejection. It was proving harder than he thought to unpack and unload that heavy burden.
“Help me…make it…through this day, Lord,” he said, praying around a yawn. Still so new in his Christian walk, he didn’t know anything more elaborate to pray. He just prayed what was on his heart.
When Chandler finished praying, he started to recite the alphabet, using his voice to stay awake as he often did when driving to work. When he grew tired of that, he turned on the car radio to distract himself even more and to drown out the lull of the soothing rain upon his jeep top.
He could tell what time it was without hearing it announced. His station, like most radio stations, had something called a ‘format clock’ where each hour was divided into sections and certain events happened at specific times. Newer songs were played at certain points, older songs at others. Commercials and promos were played throughout, but always strategically in order to capture the most listeners.
DJ Treat was playing a few old schools songs for the early risers among their parents’ age group, which meant that it was now 6:15am. That also meant that Chandler was making better time than he thought. He thanked God for all green lights and no cops on the road.
Becoming more alert by the minute, he turned the radio to another station to see what they were doing. He always took time to check out the competition. He knew exactly which mile marker would bring them all in or out depending on which direction he was currently driving in. Driving north would give him a clearer reception of WBFK 96.6 FM. Driving south would bring in WDCM 108.7 FM and WCRX 103.9 FM.
Pulling up to the red brick building that he worked in for five hours a day, Chandler suddenly became wide awake. He smiled and momentarily forgot about his disappointment concerning Inaya. Although some stations could be found in skyscrapers, strip malls, and other locations based on financial reasons or geographic considerations, his station was housed in its own building. It even had beautifully landscaped trees and shrubs aligning the property.
Chandler usually smiled when he saw this building. It had brought him a lot of personal and professional satisfaction over the years. Yes, his job was very competitive, sometimes required him to work crazy hours and holidays, and didn’t have the highest salary in the world. And so what if he sometimes forgot what kind of music he really liked due to overexposure. So what if he only liked certain songs because they sounded good after a jingle. All jobs came with occupational hazards.
Being on the radio was not only fulfilling, it also gave him a chance to positively impact the masses. Plus, like many other DJ’s, Chandler enjoyed a certain amount of celebrity that came along with his job. The fact that it gave him access to people and places that ordinary jobs wouldn’t be privy to was an added bonus.
To offset the job’s financial shortfalls, Chandler put the money he earned to work for him by becoming a silent partner in his brother’s thriving towing company, generating even more income for himself. He also earned extra money on the side through his voiceover work and the occasional free-lance reporting job. Thus he was able to create quite a nest egg for his future.
As Chandler opened the glass door that led to the main offices, he saw Loretta Steepleton, the heavyset program director, whose hair was the color of a ginger biscuit. Once again, she greeted him before quickly looking away with guilt swimming in her eyes.
What is that look really about? he wondered for the umpteenth time.
Although having a timid personality, Loretta was one of the sweetest people anyone could ever want to meet. She always did her job well and added to the smooth running of the station like no one else could. So what could she possibly have to feel guilty about?
Help her get over whatever’s eating her about me or about herself, Lord, Chandler prayed, determined not to make too big of a deal about it as he shook out his umbrella in the doorway and then proceeded to walk toward the studio area.
After seeing Loretta shy away from direct confrontation with others on several occasions, he knew that she would either deny that a problem existed or completely push it in the background. Since he didn’t want to cause her to do either or aggravate the situation even more, he would continue to watch his steps around her until she got past whatever was bothering her.
For now Chandler had to get to work. He could almost hear his lively theme music playing right now. Soon all thoughts of any woman were promptly put on the back burner. The fact that he could still mentally compartmentalize his personal life in his subconscious meant that Inaya had not gotten under his skin as much as he originally thought.
Thank God for that, he mused, glad that he wasn’t a lost cause in love…yet.
© 2014 by Suprina Frazier