As the pandemic dwindled enough to get in our car with dogs, SiriusXM, and our children in the rear view mirror, we drove to South Carolina. Tina had endured the last year and almost another half while her mother languished with aging pets, her husband in a facility, and eventually his death. As the miles melted away, we alternated between MSNBC, the Beatles channel, and a mixtape of soul, Steely Dan, and Bill Withers.
For years, we’d dreamed of a way to live from anywhere, and now the pandemic had made our reality a shared one. We’ll see how much this sticks as companies try to find a way to mix this digital acceleration with some semblance of business life as we knew it. But as we reached the driveway in Charleston, we were tired enough to not care much how the captains of industry would work things out.
We’d calculated the journey to leave on a Monday and arrive on a Thursday, three 16 hour days and then a day to rest before recording the next Gang session. Instead we left on Tuesday and arrived the night before the session. Surprisingly, the combination. of a three hour time zone shift and the ease of recording on Zoom, two M1 Macs, and enough WiFi to get away with it added up to a relaxed session. I’ve been using blur mode on Zoom for some months now, so everything felt just about normal. I even got to joke with a few of the guys who could not quite tell which coast we were on.
The dogs locked in to their summer digs with alacrity, roaming the fenced in back yard for a quick check and then settling into strategic spots surrounding us on our bed. Our daughters heated up the Facetime video link with tales of boyfriends and babies (our oldest is in her six month) and extended life seemed possible. When reality intruded, it somehow arrived with a gentleness we hope to get used to. Dinner with our youngest’s godparents was careful — no masks but no hugs either— as we ease our way into the new next.
Our first show here was followed by a train wreck of dueling agendas and uncomfortable management parries. The show started in a jocular fashion as Brent Leary tried to apologize (sort of) for his comments on one of his shows about the Gillmor Gang. It seems, he joked, that our show was rudderless and frequently a good opportunity to nap on air.
But then Brent said he hoped neither Tina nor I was watching this unspooling in realtime, which of course I was. Now I was both pissed off and actually more amused. Brent’s instincts fall somewhere between Harpo Marx’s brilliant silence and an unerring ability to bat back a question designed to prove he wasn’t engaged with a comment that proved not only that he was but that he chose not to say anything. Brilliant, devastating, and kind all at once. So I seized the moment to call him and say of course I was watching.
The next Gang recording session featured Brent’s repeated attempts at an apology or at least an explanation, but I kept interrupting him. The result was a funny but diffuse beginning to the show that devolved into a debate about social media and the First Amendment that we often can’t seem to avoid. As usual, no light was shed, and the show remains unreleased.