West Seneca, NY—Fifty-Five year old freelance Efficiency Expert, Frank Deely, has spent a lifetime observing workplace operations all over the country. While his job lands him in many diverse places there are two constants he invariably faces with each new contract, whether it’s the Nissan Plant in Smyrna,Tennessee or the loading dock of Yellow Trucking in Overland, Kansas, all of these places have radios and all of them are tuned to stations that endlessly…ceaselessly play the Eagles 1977 hit, Hotel California and the trillion times he’s endured it is draining his will to live.
A confirmed music snob, Deely never cared much for Hotel California or the Eagles and really only ever listens to classic rock anymore in public places. So, between jobs he took a day to do some errands, get his teeth cleaned and get his and his son’s cars inspected. The first spin that day came pouring from the speakers while waiting in line to get a coffee at the Ridge Road, Tim Hortons.
Mildly irritated, he turned to the guy behind him and dropped his standard Hotel California joke, “Man, I was sick of this song in ‘77.”
Sort of looking down at his phone the man said, “Like pictures on a wall you don’t see anymore this is black noise that I don’t even hear.”
Deely liked the guy’s notion of “black noise” and was almost hoping to test it out as he made stops at Home Depot and Kohl’s. It wouldn’t be till later that morning sitting in the waiting room at the dentist office that he would again hear the song on Magik 102.5. His attempt to block it failed miserably and he thought to himself, ‘Black noise, that’s probably some Zen bullshit.’
After that he heard it again at the shop where his car was being inspected coming from the local classic station 97 Rock. Not able to suffer through it for a third time, he stepped outside and for the first time in twenty-two years he thought about going to the CVS across the street and buying a pack of smokes—Marlboro reds, even. He was able to fend that strange urge off and when he got back in his car he was rewarded by The Loft on his SiriusXM radio with a set of songs about “space” by Sun Ra, Harry Nilsson, Mel Torme, The Waterboys and The Lonely Ones, Another Girl, Another Planet, which Deely loved.
His son’s 2003 Mazda 626 was not equipped with a satellite radio, but thankfully was tuned Alternative Buffalo 107.7 and was filling the air with some very cool Strokes, followed by Of Monsters and Men and then Francis and the Machine. But, like a Stockholm victim Deely hit the scan button after the Francis song and on its third stop, Jack FM, Hotel fucking California.
Looking through his work itinerary on his phone while he waited on his son’s car Deely realized he was going to be in Richmond Va. for the rest of the week, doing a follow up on the mailroom and shipping operations at Capitol One’s corporate offices. He remembered an earlier visit where he was abused by a kid in the mail room who had the volume at ten on a boom box that he scanned with a remote until he landed on the most cliched, overplayed classic rock song heard all day, every day for the last fifty fucking years. From More Than A Feeling to Carry On My Wayward Son, to yes, Hotel California. Just then, as Deely was consumed with a complete sense of dread, he realized the shop had changed the radio station to Oldies 104 and knew exactly where the deejay’s talk up was going to land: Hotel California.
Deely got up walked across the street and bought those Marlboros, then he walked two blocks down to the liquor store and got a fifth of Crown Royal. He continued with the Crown when he got home and secretly stepped out for an occasional smoke, but mostly he just sat in his chair staring straight ahead with a glazed look almost as if he was catatonic.
The next morning after brazenly lighting a smoke and pouring himself a drink he curled up in a ball on the bed he shared with his wife and informed her he was never leaving this room again.
Looking at the burning cigarette Deely’s wife gently asked, “What’s wrong? Why aren’t you going to Richmond?”
“Why?” he sat up with a crazed look, “I’ll tell you why. HOTEL FUCKING CALIFORNIA, that’s why. It’ll be on in the airport, the uber, at the deli where I go for lunch and that fucking kid in the mailroom, he’s going to beat the shit out of me with it over and over and over again.” Deely then started to cry softly and mumbled , “Don’t make me go, please. I’ll die if I hear that fucking song again. Don’t make me go.”
Deely’s wife easing him back down in the bed assured him he didn’t have to go anywhere. She sat with him for a few minutes and when he seemed comfortable, went outside the room and started to make some calls.
With the help of Lexapro and group therapy Deely should be up and around in no time.