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Plus: a look at rubberneckers

Plus: a look at rubberneckers
I have two work families. There"s my NUVO family, whom I see every weekday when I"m not slacking off work, and there"s my Channel 65 family, whom I see every Sunday when I report there. I work as a master control operator at WDNI-Channel 65, running commercials and playing cool shows like Revival Temple and Victory Through Faith for people to enjoy. For the last few months, that job has frankly kind of sucked, because the TV side was still at the original location at 6270 LaPaz Trail, while the other Radio One properties (WTLC, Hoosier 96, about 50 other stations) were at their gorgeous new building at Ninth and Meridian streets. So I"d come into work and see nobody and talk to nobody for seven hours. It was strange, like working in a morgue. This past weekend, though, Dan McNeal and his crew finally got Channel 65 moved over into the new building. Master control is now at the St. Joseph Street building, although it took Dan and his workers toting the control board in a pickup truck after their rental semi broke down. Reporting to work Sunday was like escaping from prison in a way, because when I got there Sunday, not only was I in a cool new building, I was among friends again. After several months, I finally got to holler at my friend (and former TV cohost) Britney B., in my opinion the coolest radio DJ in the city, during her 2-7 shift on Hoosier 96. She has a very dry sense of humor and I"m always glad to see her. I talked with the people at WTLC, both the FM and AM stations. They were glad to see the TV operations moved, too. If you haven"t been in a radio studio in the past few years, you wouldn"t recognize it now. They used to be musty places crowded with audio cartridges, CDs and tons of paper. Now they"re spotlessly clean rooms with thin-screened computers to do all the work about 10 other machines used to do. I can"t describe the happiness I felt at finally escaping the LaPaz building, which in fact was very dusty and very musty as well as isolated, and entering the new building, with its key cards and up-to-date studio. For some reason, it went beyond working in a new building to become a metaphorical thing. After months and months alone in a dusty building, once again I am among friends when I report for my board shift. I love being more engaged in the city instead of spending all my time on the Northside or Southside, where my dad and sister live. I love this city in so many ways, even the tiniest things about it. I"ve noticed that the Rally"s at 38th and College is a small urban oasis. There aren"t a ton of places to eat around there, especially cheap places, and that place is always busy. You see every kind of person in the drive-through at Rally"s, from the yuppies in their BMWs to entire families sitting at the benches. The food is cheap and tastes OK. I remember when there was a mini-riot at 38th and College a couple years back after the community protested a certain police action. I remember being on the scene the next day, as trouble threatened to break out again. You could smell tear gas from the night before, and the police were ready to use it again. People were yelling and screaming at the cops. The cops were getting nervous. The Rally"s, however, stayed open throughout all the turmoil I saw. I recall seeing people drive through, get their food and rubberneck at the burgeoning riot. It was one of the more surreal things I"ve ever seen: a fast-food joint blithely dispensing burgers and fries to the spectators of a near-race riot. Elvis Presley has a song called "Rubbernecking," about scoping out women, but a friend of mine used to sing that song whenever he drove by the scene of an auto accident. I was at the Rally"s the other day, getting a chili dog and a large Coke, when I witnessed a car get broadsided by another car. It looked very scary but everyone got out of their cars and they appeared to be fine. That"s about the fifth or sixth major wreck I"ve seen occur this year, after many years of never seeing any. I"m always concerned, and usually stop to see if everyone"s OK, unless it"s already been handled. One of the things I hate most in the world is seeing traffic come to a halt after an accident has happened. Some people really like to rubberneck at accident scenes. I try and deliberately not look, or look just long enough to see that things are under control. But many people like to slow to a crawl and gaze at whatever"s there, whether it"s a fender-bender or a three-car pileup. It astonishes me that people like to do that and actually enjoy it. It"s disgusting. I"ve been in a few auto accidents myself, both as a driver and a passenger, and each time I stood by the side of the road afterward and watched people drive by at a snail"s pace, wondering how badly the cars were damaged and seeing if anyone was hurt. And I"ve had friends injured in serious auto accidents, too. You always feel sorry for someone when they go through something like that. I knew somebody once who was in a drunk-driving accident that seriously injured himself and a passenger in the other car. The person was arrested, and eventually ended up doing some time, but watching him/her go through that ordeal was strange. You feel sorry for them, because they"re suffering, but at the same time you"re pissed off at them, because it was their own damn fault they got drunk and hit somebody. It"s a problematic situation and one not easily solved. As usual, I have no solutions; just observations. Your results, as always, may vary.

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