Songwriter: Andrew Farriss
Original Release: Welcome to Wherever You Are
Definitive Version: None
It seemed to me that INXS was on top of the world when this album came out, but it didn’t connect with me. I had already discovered Pearl Jam and the whole alt-rock Seattle scene, so maybe I had moved on.
Speaking of connecting, everyone has moments when something so surprisingly wonderful happens that it seems to defy explanation. These moments are the kind that happen only in the movies or on TV. You see them and think, “that would never happen in real life.” Well …
I remember the day clear as a bell. It was a Thursday in September 1992, and I went to the gym for a work out first thing in the evening after I woke up. I was invited to Dave’s for a dinner party that night. I was going to be the fifth wheel among Dave, Julie, John and his new wife. Actually, make that the sixth wheel, because Dave had just become a father the previous month. That was all right; it would be a cool, laid-back evening before I went in to work.
When I got home, I had a few messages on my answering machine. I can’t remember whether it was the first or second message—in fact, I think it was two due to uncertainty about having the right number on the first attempt—but as soon as I heard the voice, I stopped cold in my tracks, and my gym bag and jaw dropped to the floor.
It was Jenna. She called to say that she got my number from the Journal, was off work tonight and did I want to get together for a drink?
Now think of this: Not only was the hottest woman in Flint if not the world at that moment interested in me, she made the effort to call the Journal to get my home number and call ME to ask ME out. That just doesn’t happen in real life—only in the movies or on TV.
As an aside, you should know that newspapers DO NOT give out the home phone numbers of their employees. That’s standard policy, because there’s no way of knowing who the other person is on the line, and the nature of the business means that ticked-off folks trying might be trying to find you.
Well, the Sports department knew the deal between me and Jenna, so the part-timer that night assumed that delivering the sensitive piece of information was an exception to the policy. Or, perhaps he knew the absolute Hell I would have made his worthless life had I gotten into work that night only to find out … Wait a minute … WHO called? And you DIDN’T give out my number? Do you not see that plate-glass window that I’m about to throw you through?
Anyway, after I picked up my jaw off the floor and did the Yes-Yes dance wildly across the living room area of my apartment, I called Dave to unfortunately—oh DARN—back out of attending his dinner party. Yes, I did that first, because I didn’t want to sound like the little boy who suddenly got everything he always wanted for Christmas when I called Jenna back.
I must have been successful, because she didn’t change her mind when we spoke. She said she lived up in Clio, which is way the heck north of Flint, and, of course, I was in Grand Blanc, way the heck south, so we decided to meet in the middle. Her choice was a divey looking bar on Dort Highway near to I-69 that a friend had told her about and I had passed by a thousand times. Sounds great. Of course, pizza at Chucky Cheese in the middle of a kids’ birthday party would’ve sounded good to me at that moment.
As soon as I hung up, aside from an elation that I couldn’t contain—and the need to shower again, of course (don’t know if I’m clean enough from the ol’ gym, you know)—I suddenly was slapped in the face by the reality of the situation. Remember, I was going to play it close to the vest while Jenna rebounded from her recent breakup. I didn’t want to push it, because if I did, it wouldn’t work out. I was thinking the long game here: We had to go slow.
Well, that plan had just been crumpled up and consigned to the trash can of Best Laid Plans. I instinctively knew that this was bad timing. But what was I going to say, no? Not a chance of that. No, the cards had been dealt, and now I had to play them as best as I could.
We met at the bar, and I don’t remember much about it except that it had a jive DJ in the dance area—think: Deadmau5 minus the mau5 head … and the creativity, talent and cool factor. Jenna wasn’t interested in dancing, and before long, the music grated, so we left.
She might not have had to work that night, but I did, so we went to the Friday’s downtown, which I believe is now long gone, because it was quick and close to the Journal building—and I did want a little something to eat before work, since I hadn’t had anything yet that day. (One can’t live on elation alone.)
What I remember about being there—besides the fact that Jenna looked absolutely gorgeous—was that she ordered brie, which I had never had before; I picked up the check; and when we parted, she left me with the promise of a second date (U2 at the Silverdome the next week) and a kiss that had me floating on Cloud 9 all the way to work.
Heaven sent, indeed. Maybe this will work out after all …