About 12 years ago, I piled my car full of stuff and moved out to San Francisco for a job with an interesting tech startup company. I left a few things with my friend Brendan who was moving out to Sacramento at the same time (we actually caravaned our way out west together), but most of my stuff was left packed up in my car. I figured it wouldn’t take too long to find an apartment, but I didn’t know how difficult the Bay Area housing market was. Vacancies were few and far between. Craigslist would average about 30 new listings per day for just about the whole area. The few available apartments were regularly bid up from the original asking price. I went to an open house that was scheduled to run from 1-2:30. Unfortunately I didn’t get there until 1:05, by which time 75 people had shown up to see the apartment. They weren’t taking any more applicants.
Fortunately, my company had short-term housing arrangements for the people they were recruiting from all across the country. For two months, I lived in a hotel room, spending every free moment plotting new ways to find a residence and scouring the area for new listings. It was arduous and no fun at all. To top it all off, my stereo was still packed away and inaccessible. This was the first time I was really separated from my music for an extended period of time and I could tell that the absence only exacerbated an already bad situation. This was when I realized how much music meant to me.
Of course, I wasn’t completely cut off. I could still listen to some tunes when I was driving around the area. A small portion of my CD collection was available (I made sure that was going to be the case when I packed the car originally), but for reasons I still don’t really remember, I spent a good portion of those two months listening to the radio. The radio station I was usually tuned in to was really, really big on Sting’s 1999 album, Brand New Day. I mean, they played “After the Rain has Fallen”, “Desert Rose” and the title track to such an extent that I don’t actually remember hearing anything else on the radio, save for these three songs. All Sting, all the time.
After a little more than two months of searching, I finally found an apartment and could get settled in my new hometown. With my stereo back in action, I felt a lot more “back to normal”, even when my roommates complained about it every night. Living just 12 blocks from the greatest record store anywhere was nice too (for the ears, if not the pocketbook). Between the rough apartment search, the awful roommates, a terrible job and several other things, the San Francisco experience was just about an unmitigated disaster for me, but I suppose the Sting wasn’t all bad.
Brand New Day – Sting