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Epilogue 2 of 2: Nothing to Say

This week was my first at the new job.

The first two days were rough. Only because everything was new. I hate having to ask where everything is, how to do this and that. I hate feeling like a bother to my boss and coworkers. It's clear that there's a lot of work to be done around here, and interrupting others from their work annoys me just as much as it probably annoys them. Anyhow, you guys know what it's like to be the New Guy. I did the best that I could and learned a lot.

My friend Phil Sloan came out to the shop to check out horns. I was really happy to see him and meet his two sisters. We used to play together in Symphonicity, the symphony of Virginia Beach. It was good to reconnect. And Phil found a BAC horn that was a match for him! How awesome!

The next several days were busy and interesting. I learned more and more of my job functions, some of which include adding products to the website and listing vintage horns on Craigslist and Facebook Marketplace. My other big job is to help streamline the information coming into the shop, such as which school district has paid for which repairs, which instruments were brought in on consignment, and the like. This is the kind of thing that I like to do: make lists, keep track, organize. That's probably weird, but I enjoy it. And that's good, because I'll be doing a lot of it. This in addition to taking in repairs and rental returns, and assisting customers. Retail.

I came into this job with a lot of reservations. To briefly summarize my feelings on working retail, let's just say that the motto for it in my mind was "your time is never your own". In my last music retail job, I had very little freedom to work and be productive in the manner that was most efficient for me (and therefore more beneficial to the company). Here, I feel like I have more freedom to approach things that need to be done in any order I like, and learn at my own pace. That may change as the needs of the company change, but for now it allows me to get immersed and learn. I hope to be able to make a big impact here, even if little by little.

As I sit here typing this, my windows are open and I'm enjoying a cool, rain-scented breeze. It rained all last night. It is still strange to have so much space to myself. I wonder if I'll ever get used to it.

That evening I went out with my boss and a local jazz trombonist named Trevor. Over apps and drinks, we talked about all kinds of things...the circus closing, various kinds of music and trombones, local history, etc. It was a good time. I really appreciate that my boss is going out of his way to make me feel welcome here.

On Sunday I cooked some fish. In the oven. Like a normal person. It was pretty darned delicious if I do say so.

In the afternoon I hit some more thrift stores for extra dishware, because rather than doing dishes every time I eat I figure it'll save time and water to run the dishwasher. Around dinnertime I decided to go see a movie. Thus went my weekend. For those of you who insisted that I keep writing, I hope you're prepared for some pretty boring, standard days ahead.

So. On to the Topic You've All Been Waiting For. By the time you're reading this, the Blue Unit has completed their final show and the Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Circus has ceased to exist.

Not surprisingly, there has been a lot of media interest in capturing some of the emotions surrounding this unprecidented, historic event. If you'd like to cry some more, here are the final days of the circus as covered by various outlets:


NPR "Kingdom on Wheels"
NYPost (thanks for trying to inject some humor!)
NPR: All Things Considered
NPR: Morning Edition

I'm sorry for not having "insider" photos of the last days of Ringling, played out on the Blue Unit. Like many others, I watched on facebook live as the Blue Unit cast and crew took their final bows, thus ending a 146-year American icon. Being hundreds of miles away, I stopped where I was and watched until the end of the feed.

At no point in life did I ever expect that ANYTHING in this world would effect me the way that the circus has. You don't typically take a job and expect it to become a part of your heart, a part of your being, a standard for the way you live your life. But that's what happened, and that's what circus people will carry with them until the last circus on earth folds its tent. I wasn't born into it, but a part of me is and will always be "circus". And I am a better person for it.

Anyway, that's it. That's the end. I really can't find much to say. Every day, every moment in the circus was intensely real. It was life times a thousand. Everything, good and bad, seemed magnified by the history and culture of the circus. Waking up was intense because you woke up on a 1950s passenger train. Going to work was intense because you were climbing through mud and rusty nails and broken glass just to get to a normal road. Preparing for the show was intense because there would be someone juggling knives, and over there was a husband holding his wife's body twenty feet off the ground with just his teeth, and over there were the elephants rumbling to each other as they had their morning bath. And the show itself was intense, because one mistake could be the end of it all...one mistake could end a career, or a life. Circus performers did not use stage names, and there's a reason for that. It was all real.

Running away to join the circus may have been a fantasy, but it was always possible. It was always real. And tonight, that ends. There's no more magic to give, nothing left to stand between us and our final bows. Treasure your circus memories, for they are your last. And pity your children, who will never know the magic of the American three-ring circus. Maybe they can run away and join the TSA or something.


( 4 comments — Leave a comment )
May. 22nd, 2017 12:45 pm (UTC)
We watched the final show, either someone was chopping onions or it got really dusty in here at the end.

Thanks for the memories.
We'll see you down the road.
May. 22nd, 2017 01:30 pm (UTC)
I lived in Virginia Beach for awhile. How long did you live in Virginia Beach? Glad to see you are finding a pace in your new life. May it continue to be smooth for you.
May. 27th, 2017 03:32 pm (UTC)
Re: Hello
I was only there for about a year. 2011-2012.
May. 27th, 2017 01:17 pm (UTC)
If I win the Power Ball
I want to win the lotto just to bring back the magic of your crew! In life, only one thing is certain; anything can happen. Here's to never giving up hope of a revival of sorts. Best wishes! #joiningcircusnextlifetime :::hug::: ~Naysha in Florida
( 4 comments — Leave a comment )