I make a point to listen to the radio when I’m driving around these days.
Because most of the time I’m on Spotify.
I’m listening to my own stuff.
I actually stopped checking my Discover Weekly.
It’s just crap, always.
It’s like unlistenable to these days.
My Discover Weekly has no idea what I want to hear.
Just a bunch of drivel by artists I don’t know.
I mean a lot of the music is generally passable. But totally forgettable.
There are, of course, diamonds in the rough, but it’s not worth wading through all the noise to find it.
Because if I have to do that then I might as well just find good music myself?
Anyway, the radio is nice.
It’s nice to relinquish control a little bit.
And also feel the nostalgia of the act, you know.
Takes me back to high school, which, objectively, were pretty crappy times.
There’s three main stations I keep saved.
There’s 96.9 WRRV, which is alternative rock.
I listened to that a bunch in high school, but I almost never turn to it these days.
These days, I rotate between K104, which is like, super basic, and then Z93, which is classic rock.
Of course, classic rock includes a lot of songs from the 90s now, which just makes me feel old.
But they also do the classic classics, too.
So Z93 is a great combo between the true greats plus my own first loves growing up.
But you know, I really love pop music.
I love Ed Sheeran.
I love Justin Bieber.
I love Miley!!!
‘We Can’t Stop’ was my personal anthem for a little bit.
It’s not something I talk about a lot publicly too much because some people think it’s sooooooo kewl to blast pop music.
To blast anything mainstream.
To signal to people that you’re sooooo much better than everyone else.
Lol, what a newb.
I know that person very well because that person was me for a long time growing up.
But I really got into pop music in my 20s.
Sometimes you just wanna have fun.
Sometimes you just want something easy.
Sometimes you just wanna listen to something that everyone knows so you can all connect and vibe.
I love that.
And Ed’s an incredible songwriter.
As someone who writes stuff sometimes, you really appreciate how good he is.
There’s a great NYTimes video about how they came up with Shape of You, which was like the biggest song of 2017.
These guys came in with no expectations, just met up (for the first time for one of the guys) and basically in 15 minutes came up with the biggest song of the year.
That’s how it goes.
It’s funny, the new guy, at the end is gushing like, man, that was the best 15 minute of my life.
It’s funny cuz he’s this like old, cultured badass, clearly an incredible musician in his own right, and he’s just gushing.
(This is sort of a well known fact, but if you didn’t know, Ed also wrote Love Yourself with Justin.)
Anyway, so I have breakfast this morning.
Breakfast these days consists of:
One glass of water + spoonful of apple cider vinegar.
Two fish oil capsules.
One generic Sam’s Club brand Claritin tablet.
One cup of black coffee.
Two hard-boiled eggs.
A few fingers full of almonds.
And a clementine to cleanse the palate.
I gobble that down while the car warms up.
I gotta warm up the old Land Rover because it’s a pile of junk.
It was 2 degrees this morning, and so if you don’t warm it up for a while, it won’t drive faster than 10 mph, which is pretty scary when you’re on the road.
But that’s OK, there’s nothing better than piling into a warm, toasty car on a freezing cold day.
Except that wouldn’t describe our Land Rover because the back window is stuck open.
And so I’m freezing.
I can see my breath.
And I turn on the radio.
And so the DJ has a guest with him and they’re chatting. (He’s called a DJ right? I’m not sure actually, lol.)
Her name is Luna.
She’s a fortune teller or psychic or whatever.
And so they’re taking calls.
And so people are calling in with like relationship problems, money problems.
And you know, I don’t believe in psychics or whatever.
I’ve been to one.
One time, I was walking with my girlfriend at the time around West Village, near 6th Ave.
And we walked past a little fortune teller shop.
And every time I walk past one of these shops in the city, I’m just like, HOW.
HOW DO THEY PAY THE RENT.
Because they’ll be in this primo location, right on the corner of this and that, right in the center of everything.
In Manhattan! The rent must be insane!
And yet.. there they are.
Anyway, it was $20 for a palm reading. My GF really wanted to do it.
Whatever, we were young and in love. Seemed fun.
But this fortune teller was really just going through the motions.
I could see through her act.
I mean, she was OK, but I could see through the act.
It’s like watching a magician do a card trick a little too slow.
It’s no fun if you can see the trick.
But man, this girl, Luna, on K104.
She was on point.
She was so impressive.
She just had such an immense read on all these people based on like, the tiniest details.
She always asked just the right question.
And she exuded all the right vibes.
She was quick and firm but also warm.
She told these people exactly what they wanted to hear, and in some cases what they needed to hear.
And these people just lapped it up.
You could see that they all got a bit of a boost from the exchange.
You could see how therapeutic it was for them just to talk to this woman who would tell them that everything is gonna be OK.
You know, sometimes that’s all you need.
Sometimes, you just need to be reminded that it’s all good.
And then that becomes its own self-fulfilling prophecy.
I mean the most impressive part came almost rapid-fire, where they had two people call about baby issues in succession.
The first woman was asking if she was gonna have a baby.
And Luna was like, yes definitely. It’s happening.
And it turns out that the woman just had two miscarriages. Poor girl.
And Luna gives her all this advice about like, not focusing on the stress of those incidents.
And how she should pray to some baller saint, I forget the name, might have been St. Vincent.
Lol, Luna was like, St. Vincent is a G when it comes to babies, make sure you give him a shout in your prayers, LOL.
Man, it was so good, the woman lapped it up.
You could feel her tension release.
Like suddenly, the future held such promise when right before this call, all she saw was darkness.
Luna, what a champ, bringing certainty to an uncertain world.
But sometimes life is just about finding something to believe in.
Because if you believe, your choices will reflect that.
Your vibe reflects that.
And this in turn helps facilitate better things to come.
The next woman also called a baby.
She was like, “should I have a baby??”
And Luna was like, “NO.”
“DO NOT HAVE A BABY.”
And I was like, whoa. It was such a drastic shift in tone from the last baby call I was taken aback a bit.
Like I was expecting Luna to be all like, yeah!! Have a baby!! Knock yourself out!! Or, get yourself Knocked Up, rather.
But Luna was like, nope.
“I feel like there are other things in your life you need to focus on right now,” Luna said concretely.
And I was like, DAMN LUNA. THAT’S COLD.
But thinking about it like, all the clues were there.
The way she asked. How she asked. The quiver in her voice.
The first woman asked, “Will I have a baby?”
Meaning that she had already decided that she wanted one but there were things out of her control.
The second woman asked, “Should I have a baby?”
She wasn’t sure yet. She didn’t know.
There was stuff going on in her life, and maybe she thought having a baby would fix those things.
(Sorta like the last season of Girls.)
But overall, I was just really impressed.
There were a few more callers.
And Luna, like she did with the rest, told them what they needed to hear.
“You’re getting a promotion.”
“You’re going to be traveling.”
The sort of people that would call up Luna are also probably the sort of people that would most benefit from her answers. They’re looking for an answer. Any answer. Something to believe in.
And if they believe it, then suddenly, the chances of it happening are that much higher.
Luna’s the prophet, but that which fulfills is self.
A few years ago, I was hanging out in the Tenderloin in San Francisco at this trendy cocktail bar on Geary St.
And I was chatting with Marion, who is this kewl blonde German girl, who has a really badass story.
Anyway, at one point during the conversation, I was like, “so Marion, do you wanna know what the secret to life is?”
Obviously, she wanted to know.
And I’m not really sure where it came from because I hadn’t really given it much thought before.
Although I did have a couple drinks, so who knows, I was just bullshitting I guess.
But I was like, “well, the secret to life is Family, Friends Community.”
FFC, I called it.
Like, that’s the order of priority in terms of things you need to take care of life.
First, it’s family.
Then, it’s friends.
Finally, it’s your community.
That’s all that matters.
If you figure that out, if your actions reflect the values of FFC, then you’ll have a great life.
And obviously, before you can take care of your FFC, before you can take care of anyone, you gotta first take care of yourself.
I had no idea what I was talking about at the time.
I just sort of went with it.
This was like one of those Michael Scott situations, where he starts a sentence but isn’t sure where it’s going yet.
But for whatever reason, it stuck.
The idea of FFC lingered with me and stuck.
And I started talking about it all the time, with all my friends, basically anyone who would listen.
And so we would get into these deep chats about it as we fleshed out this idea.
It’s ironic of course because the moment the idea arrived was also a moment in time when I was furthest I’d ever been from my FFC.
I had literally just left my family, my friends, and my community.
I left them to strike (digital) gold out west.
Or maybe it’s not ironic at all.
Maybe that’s exactly what I needed to hear at the time.
So without knowing it, I started telling it to myself.
FFC became my mantra.
And I wouldn’t have known it at the time, but FFC also became my self-fulfilling prophecy.
Because here I am a few years later, never closer to my family, my friends, and my community.
And with all the craziness going on around me, I just think about how lucky I am to be here.
To be where I’m supposed to be with the people that matter to me the most.
It’s crazy because it just worked out that way.
I couldn’t have designed a better strategy, a better journey to arrive in a better place.
But it’s crazy because I didn’t have to.
On the drive home from the gym, a song comes on.
I kinda dug the dude’s raspy voice.
He’s signing about getting into an argument with his girl.
I Shazaam the song.
By a guy named Khalid.
The song is called Young Dumb & Broke.
I love pop music.
Top photo: bfast