The musical scene was as weird as she describes it, an unbelievable mix of country and rock and disco and pop and soul and funk still somehow inhabiting the same playlist on the same fifty thousand-watt clear-channel AM powerhouse, WPGC...but I was a couple years older than Michele, and Washington wasn't much like New York. No baseball, for one thing; no high-profile clubs like Studio 54, either. That kind of action was all up in Georgetown, and nobody paid attention to that sort of thing except for the kind of people who cared what the small band of DC socialites did with their spare time. I wasn't one of them.
My life back then revolved around work, school, Civil Air Patrol (which had lost a lot of its attraction since the great lust of my life was off in college) and the SF conventions that took up at least one weekend evey month from March (Balticon, over Easter Weekend) through August (August Party) . I was spending my paychecks from High's Dairy Stores on records, booze (all praise to the split drinking age, which allowed a mature-looking 18 year old to by rum by the half gallon!) and letting Dad carry my gas and insurance charges...it was probably the best summer of my life, and it's really irritating that I can't remember more than a few flashes of it here and there. Well, I have some pix to remind me of the good times in some of these boxes somewhere, I'm sure.
What I do remember is that I wasn't paying a whole lot of attention to the world. When you grow up in the Washington suburbs, you hear so much about the Federal government and international affairs that you either get hooked on it and become a poli-sci major with ambitions of getting into Civil Service or some other federal job, or you tune it out and get on with the important stuff in your life, like Drinking and Driving and Playing Music Really Loud.
There was nothing like the Son of Sam craziness going on in Washington, just the usual humdrum bureaucratic crazy of a city too energetic to be really Southern any more but too laid-back and lazy to really fit in with the rest of the Boston/New York/Philly axis.
I had no real clue what I was going to do with my life at that point, since all of my shots at an ROTC scholarship had fallen through (oh, the Marines had me on the standby list for PLC, but even at 17 I knew that was just "No, thanks" in a kinder tone) and in those days you couldn't get financial aid unless you were dirt poor. Which, perversely enough, we weren't. Dad had just retired from the Air Force and was barred from working with computers for a year, which meant we were getting by on his pension, disability and GI Bill payments since he was going to night school in College Park to get a BS in Accounting that he didn't really need. The bottom line was that for the tax year of 1976 we'd had a pretty decent income (E-7 over 20), good enough to bar me from student loans or any other kind of aid.
Which is how I wound up financing my year at Prince Georges Community College through the Capital Milk Producers Co-op Credit Union, one $500 loan at a time. Through PGCC I discovered D&D and my friends Richard and Mark, and the rest is history.
It occurs to me that one good reason for keeping an LJ is so I'm not looking back at today from 2031 wondering WTF I was doing and having to consult Billboard's Top 40 lists to figure out what music I was listening to...because in 2004 that would be no help at all, y'know.