Aerial View was WFMU’s first regularly-scheduled phone-in talk show. Hosted by Chris T. and on the air since 1989, the show features topical conversation, interviews and many trips down the rabbit hole. Until further notice, Aerial View is only available as a podcast, available every Tuesday morning. Subscribe to the newsletter “See You Next Tuesday!” and find tons of archives at aerialview.me.
On September 1st, 1997 at 3:08 PM I boarded the Crescent City (Amtrak #19) at Newark Penn Station bound for New Orleans. I got it in my mind the only way to leave behind a failed relationship and job was to get myself to the Big Easy, where my friends Dave and Donna had long ago decamped. I'd visited them nearly every year since 1987 and fallen in love with New Orleans. But I wasn't going just to visit them again. I was to sit down with David Freedman of WWOZ about a potential job. Word had gotten to me that he was looking to hire someone to help raise funds for the station and I was to meet him for lunch to make my case. I was seriously considering relocating, though I wasn't sure how I was going to deal with the humidity (sweating copiously is among my least favorite things).
I couldn't afford a sleeper berth but I knew a guy who knew a guy who made high-quality methamphetamine and I decided I'd snort some and stay awake for the entire twenty-eight hours it'd take to arrive. In the history of my bad ideas this is up in the top five.
I was keeping a journal at the time and I made many entires on the trip. Today, on Aerial View, I present Crazy Train: The Amtrak Journals.
Me on my first trip to New Orleans, Mardi Gras 1987. That's Dave and Donna (RIP) behind me.
Here's an entry from the OTHER journal I was keeping at the time, the digital one on my Macintosh.
9-22-97 1:20 AM
Haven’t written for more than three weeks. I don’t know what to say anymore.
My trip to New Orleans was a disaster (wrote about it in a paper journal). I’m still out of work, running low on money, without sex or love or human contact. I go along.
I’ve gone somewhere beyond sadness. Into a sort of numbness of disbelief. I can’t believe I’m thirty-five, can’t believe I’m jobless, can’t believe I’m single. It’s like someone else’s life and not mine. Doesn’t that sound ridiculous?
Mardi Gras 1987D Dancing w/Donna while Whistle Bait looks on.
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