It's always the bad days when you wind up on the evening news.
Let me backtrack. My fella owns Beats Broke, an underground hip-hop record label. They have a new release called Progressions from Arts the Beatdoctor coming out on Tuesday, on both digital and double seven-inch vinyl. It's freakin' awesome, by the way. Steamy, smart, complex, fascinating music.
The vinyl is the issue. An internet blog is not the place to catalog the number of ways in which vendors have royally screwed up my fella's orders, but let's just say he's had to mention the words "Better Business Bureau" to more than one merchant over the last few weeks.
Also, the release party is in one week in Utrecht, the Netherlands. We are not in Utrecht, the Netherlands.
These circumstances meant that we both woke up bright and early on July 4 (me after attending a play, whose review I still need to write, on July 3) to begin stuffing records into sleeves and sleeves into envelopes along with stickers, download cards, and liner notes. Then a series of frantic phone calls to in-town merchants who will rush a shrink wrap job on July 4, to be told, "Yeah, but you need to get 'em here in half an hour" for the pleasure of having someone else run the things over with a glorified blow dryer.
Quick interlude: fireworks in Cedar Park, getting lost and briefly stuck on the %$ing toll road.
Figured out how to pack sixty double seven-inch records. (He did that. I was knitting a sock, I believe.) Woke up early this morning to get to one of the only neighborhood post offices open today, argued with the clerk that expedited shopping really is available to that postal code, finally won only to spend ten minutes puzzling over the customs forms, me without makeup and he in the clothes he slept in.
Then a news camera sets up in the lobby.
My hope at this point was that the cameraman was there to grab a few seconds of footage of the clerks stamping things. In fact, he argued with said clerks about federal restrictions on filming inside post offices, but in the end he won, and stayed.
The customs forms and various transactions meant that we both had to fetch things from different corners of the post office. We started to notice that the camera was following us from place to place. I walked over to grab some priority mail stickers; the camera followed me. It stayed trained on us as we debated how to list the price per unit in triplicate. And it didn't go away.
My only explanation is that between the two of us, the fella and I embodied an Austin archetype: the young couple out together before noon on a holiday weekend, semi-coherent, bleary-eyed, not dressed for success, and really wishing they could just go have breakfast.
Well, if anyone watched KXAN this evening at six o'clock, you might have seen us stumbling around the post office, vinyl-laden boxes in tow.
I, for one, did not watch the news.
Cross-posted at Letters from the Orchard.