05 May 2022

Archival footage: Kind of New

In late January I finished up at the FUSD Transportation Department, where I had been asked in September 2021 to return to work temporarily as the interim Student Discipline Coordinator.  Became just kinda done-with-it for a number of reasons, mostly because of the grumpy drivers, recidivistic students, uncooperative parents, and even a few unsupportive building and district admins.  It felt really nice to have the luxury to be able to simply decide, "Nope. I don't want to fight about stuff anymore."  When I met with the director to discuss my decision to leave my interim role in his department he basically said the same thing, "Must be nice.  I'm actually a bit jealous. You did good work while you were here, thanks for your service."

Dove head-first into the whole patrol-volunteer gig after that.  Went up "to work" at Snowbowl four or five days a week, five to six hours a day, from February through the end of April.  Ended up having the best season of my life, despite the relatively meager winter. Skied almost 60 days in all, nearly 300 hours total, got to assist with any number of interesting/urgent calls-for-assistance, and loved every minute of it, doing what my ski-patroller supervisor calls, "skiing with a purpose."  

In anticipation of the end of the ski season at Snowbowl I've been mulling over for a while now other means for making a productive and satisfying use of my retired-guy time.  Lots of ideas, but the one that keeps rising to the surface is Flagstaff's lack of a legitimate new/used independent retail record store.  It vexes me that every time Record Store Day rolls around, all of us Flagstaffricans have to drive down to visit Puscifer in Jerome (a very cool store with an amazingly well-curated selection of new vinyl; you should definitely visit if you're ever there) to shop the Day's exclusive releases, simply because Flagstaff (the largest town in the region by far) doesn't actually have a store that qualifies as a dedicated, independent retailer of new music.  We have Bookmans.  Don't get me wrong, Bookmans is great!  I'm a former employee, former manager even, and a very loyal customer for the last 30 years. But it turns out, Bookmans doesn't qualify for Record Store Day because, I guess, they don't commit enough square footage of their large, mulitfacited operation to the sale of new music on vinyl.  Sure, they sell a lot of new music on vinyl. Definitely more than any other store in town.  But apparently not enough to satisfy whoever makes the decisions about which stores get to sell Record Store Day exclusives. 

So it's off to Jerome we go.

My dream would be to open a store that would qualify for Record Store Day here in Flagstaff, but I'm not the one who's going to make this happen, for lots of reasons:
  1. I don't have the money, nor do I have the inventory, to start-up such a business. 
  2. I don't feel like I want to work as hard as I expect I would have to work to start-up a successful new business in Flagstaff; I would likely have to miss out on a lot of bike riding and skiing to do so, and that doesn't sound like fun to me.
  3. I don't ever want to supervise people ever again and the thought of doing so for a small set of employees in my record store is a stultifying thought, indeed.
  4. Bookmans has always been great to me, both as an employee and as a customer; I have no desire to compete with Bookmans. 
  5. I think it's a total fool's errand to enter into any endeavor these days which will put you into direct competition with Amazon, and selling new music on vinyl would definitely do just that.
So, I decided the thing to do instead might be to just go back and work at Bookmans as a rank-and-file clerk/buyer, help them revamp, restock, and revitalize their music department, perhaps even grow it to the point where it could qualify for Record Store Day, and bring my expertise and experience to bear for the good of their well-established business model rather than assume all the risks of trying to do it on my own.  I hoped they'd be stoked to get me back as a seasoned, well-educated, experienced public educator and administrator, as well as a former employee, super loyal customer, and voracious and knowledgeable collector-of-music and reader-of-books.

But I was wrong.  I submitted my application online some time ago and have not heard a peep in reply from my local Bookmans Entertainment Exchange.  Not even an email saying, "Thanks for your application. We hired someone else."  Just nada.  

Below is the résumé I submitted with my online application, herein forever preserved as another part of my life's archival footage and nothing more.  It's a riff on the back cover of Miles Davis' seminal 1959 jazz recording Kind of Blue, a very famous record that every music collector/buyer/seller would be familiar with.  I thought it was quite the clever way to present myself in order to obtain the role I wanted within Bookmans' organization.  

I've got a feeling I'm the only one who felt that way about it. 


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May your trails be crooked, winding, lonesome, dangerous, leading to the most amazing view. -- Ed Abbey