Today was probably one of the longest, busiest, most wonderful days I have ever experienced and I hope to capture it while the memories are still fresh.
I began by waking up around 6 am so that I could get to work before 8 o’clock. This was necessary because I needed to get my supervisor’s desk phone number for an apartment application. I threw myself out of bed, scarfed down several spoonfuls of peanut butter and chocolate chips as a weak breakfast, ran around my apartment like a crazy person gathering everything for the remainder of the day, and sprinted out the door to the T platform. When I arrived in Downtown, I decided to take the tunnel between Steel Plaza and the US Steel (not UPMC) building, which proved fortuitous because not only was it much warmer (although a bit longer) than going outside right away and crossing Sixth Ave, but there was a PNC ATM at the end of it. I needed to withdraw the cash to pay for the credit check for the apartment application (this application is becoming quite the running image!). Through the glass in the Steel (not UPMC) building, I saw a P1 sitting at the red light waiting to pull up to the stop outside and made it onto the bus in plenty of time.
Once at work, I finished my application at my desk without removing any of my outer garments, and dashed from my office building (aka converted warehouse where I sit in a dusty basement) the two blocks to the apartment management office. I had to call to find the entrance, because it was in a courtyard off the main road, but once inside, the person working the desk confirmed my complete application and I was on the way back to work. I had a number of things to check once back at my desk, but nothing overwhelming. I also got some free cookies due to today being a co-worker’s last day before moving on to UPMC. About two hours later, the rental management office called me to say my application had been accepted and the lease would be coming in the mail in a few days! (No more 50 minute commutes come May!!!)
Around 11:30 I had to dash out of the building again for the Allegheny County Transit Council executive committee meeting of which I am secretary (for those who don’t know already). We only had about half of the committee in attendance, but had a solid discussion about questions for the guest speaker at our next general meeting and projects coming up in the next six months.
After that I dashed back to work, where I made it just in time for the Send-off with Cupcakes for the departing co-worker, and I spend a large part of the rest of the day having fun conversation with many of the people in my group around the work I was getting done. But I had to leave by 4:45, because…
At 5:15 I arrived at Bar Marco in the Strip District for a Green Building Alliance: Emerging Professionals event. This evening was a group conversation with the two-person sustainability team from PNC. They told us about their career/education paths and what they do at and for PNC with questions and discussion after. It went much better than the previous GBA:EP event I had attending and I felt that I mixed better with the other attendees this time around. One of the two PNC sustainability staff is just as enthusiastic about Excel spreadsheets as I am, so we struck up a conversation about that!
Immediately after this, I went to my first MeetUp event with the Pittsburgh Gay UnScene group. It was a games night at a coffee shop two blocks away from Bar Marco (mercifully so). I played Guesstures, Left-Right-Center, and Apples to Apples with five other men of varying ages, and the crowd was about 25 LGBT (though probably mostly LG) persons between 22 and 75 years of age. Everyone I met was quite pleasant, and no one was creepy, awkward, or unnecessarily flirty. When I left, I realized I had forgotten about offering to help my cousin with Calculus, so I walked to the nearest T station in downtown and got home around 10. We got on Skype from there and worked the questions he had on his review packet for an upcoming exam. Finally I took a shower and got a bunch of thoughts out of my head about all these groups I’m now a part of. I believe this all bodes well for the rest of 2014!
Tonight another, more tangible, piece of my childhood has left. Whitney Houston has passed away.
Most people in my life know about my enjoyment of the music of female pop and soul singers and would not be surprised at this post, but Whitney was different to me than the rest.
Part of it was her amazing talent in the prime of her career. Nobody else had a voice like hers; she was just on another level that few have even come close to.
Another part was her comeback story. Only 4 years ago she divorced her husband Bobby Brown and got over her substance abuse habits. Her voice was starting to recover and her career was taking a turn for the better. Her story is inspiring and a great message and example for many people.
But neither of those are the main reason why I feel like there's a hole somewhere right now. For me, Whitney was always around. Many of the divas I like, I discovered their back catalogue and hits from the 70s, 80s, and early 90s in the mid-2000s even if I did recognize their names.
Whitney, on the other hand, was someone I knew well. As a child in elementary school, I knew she sang "Saving All My Love For You," "Greatest Love of All," "How Will I Know," "I Wanna Dance With Somebody (Who Loves Me)," "Didn't We Almost Have It All," "All The Man That I Need," "I Will Always Love You," "I Have Nothing," "I Believe in You and Me" (from The Preacher's Wife), and "When You Believe" (from The Prince of Egypt). She was also the host of Nickelodeon's Kids Choice Awards more than once, which I watched thinking they were so cool for having a show where the choices of kids mattered. She was also Brandy's fairy godmother in the remake of Cinderella.
I knew her name; I knew her songs. Her presence was just always surrounding my life. I defended Whitney to my fourth grade teacher when she spoke badly of her for getting arrested for drug possession in her car, which I researched at a later age and found to be false. Whenever her name would creep up in the news, or she'd appear somewhere on TV, I'd always pay attention because she was Whitney Houston. Even when her life was at its lowest in the mid 2000s, I never thought of her as a joke, just someone who had lost their way and I hoped she'd find it again.
I remember the morning her 2009 comeback album, I Look to You, was released. It was the first Monday of classes in my sophomore year of college. I downloaded it and synched it onto my iPod before leaving my room and walking on air around campus that she had given the world with music once more.
You will be missed Whitney, thank you for gracing us with your talent. And I Will Always Love You