I don't remember how long I worked for Remco. A couple of years, tops. But I suspect it was more like one year.
It was a blast! It was exciting! I was in my early 20's! There was a constant dangerous vibe. You never knew what would go down on a delivery or collection run.
I mentioned in previous posts that my manager, Dan, had been a Naval Aviator. a Rescue Helicopter pilot, and flight instructor.
He taught me a lot.
One of his most zen-like sayings was "There is nothing more useless than the sky above you or the ground below you".
For you and me this sounds like nonsense! They are both VERY important! But not for a pilot.
If you have the sky above you but can't get there because you can't take off, the sky is useless.
If you have the ground below you but can't land, then the ground is useless.
Life, like air combat, is a chess game. If you aren't thinking six or seven moves ahead...you are already dead.
But it is also SUPREMELY IMPORTANT to live in the NOW.
He drilled the concept of "situational awareness" into us. This is a fighter pilot skill. They need to be able to focus on friendly planes, enemy planes, altitude, speed, weapon status, radio chatter, weather conditions, fuel level, navigation and their own physical condition all at the same time at all times!
You always, always have to be aware of everything that is going on around you. You need to maintain a 360 degree focus of awareness in 4 dimensions.
You can go into any neighborhood, under any conditions, and do your job as long as you stay alert and pay attention. It's the stupid people who wake up dead. Smart people always win and always wake up alive.
These are skills that have stayed with me and probably feed my road rage. When I see drivers yacking on their fucking cell phones, or reading the newspaper, or texting, or putting on their makeup, I know that their situational awareness is compromised and that makes them a navigational hazard to me!
PUT DOWN THE FUCKING PHONE! THE LIGHT IS GREEN! MOVE YOUR FUCKING ASS! GET THE FUCK OUT OF MY WAY! DRIVE LIKE YOU ARE TRYING TO GET SOMEWHERE! IGNORANT, INCONSIDERATE, FUCKTARD! PAY ATTENTION! JESUS FUCKING CHRIST!
Breath! Calm. Go to your "Happy Place". OK. Come back now.
Honestly, Remco was my first "real job". One that paid me enough to afford a decent apartment. Well, it was the same Cimarron apartment that had the mushroom in the closet as detailed in Chapter 2, but it didn't have too many cockroaches.
I had an office. I had business cards with my name on them. I got to take my delivery van home at night and use it for personal transportation.
Dan offered me this opportunity from the drunken back seat of my Raytown taxi out of the blue. A completely random occurence. [Yes, it was random! It wasn't Divine Intervention, it wasn't my "Guardian Angel", it wasn't fate or karma. I picked up a drunk at a bar. He needed a driver who knew his way around town. Shit happens!]
In many ways, he is responsible for the path my career has taken over the past 30 years. One experience built upon another to take me from there to here.
Of course, he was also responsible for my post graduate education in Manwhorelyness. I graduated Phi Beta Goddamned Kappa from THAT class! Magna Cum Laude!
He and I eventually became roommates in a house at 65th & Oak in a house we rented from the owner of Kelly's in Westport.
I hope to have more on that later.
It's hard to tell where this will go. This was not the post I thought I would be publishing tonight. Not the one I had been composing all day. But that's OK!
Another lesson from Dan. You have to go with the flow, and most importantly, you have to know when to say "fuck it!"
Good call, Dan. Good call.