Posted by: normanlgreen | October 29, 2011

Dream, October 29, 2011 Texas pirate radio

Dream, home, 5:50 am

A radio station is to be closed down, but the people who work there want to fight to keep it on the air. Whether the station is be silenced due to content or the lack of money, is not clear, but the man who owns it has made his firm decision.

During the last full day of official broadcast, there have been messages, hint, sprinkled among the public service announcements. When night falls, the station will switch to a new frequency on the AM band, and the staff will take over by force. Listeners are encouraged to show their loyalty and thus keep the station on the air, in its new anarchic format. As the light fades from the sky, tiny scoop lamps are turned on – one per room – throughout the clapboard building. I run messages around the operation and get people whatever they need.

After the first night of protest broadcast, I exit the building to find my sleeping quarters. It feels like south central Texas in the late fall, with the grass still burnt yellow, but without the oppressive heat. There is a two-story farm-house that the crew has taken along with the station building. Upstairs, a bunch of the kids have converted an attic space into their bedroom. One of the fathers is helping them to decorate the angled ceiling that shapes their walls. Glow paint and sparkly glue from a hot glue gun wielded by the dad. A visiting kid asks his dad “why can’t we decorate like that at home?” Dad answers “That this is the difference between renting and owning. An owner would never do that as he is always thinking of what he will have to do to get a house ready to sell.”

I leave by the back door, which opens onto a field that holds a handful of out-buildings and a middle-aged live oak that has been converted into a treehouse/duplex. There is a weathered sign that reads ”Ranger Search Station”. One side of the treehouse is my assigned quarters to sleep through the day.

A woman speaks behind me, further back on the dirt trail: “I’m searching for a ranger.” I suggest that based on the signage, she is in the right place and perhaps the only one who truly belongs here. I turn to face her. She is a lovely lady about 40, who wears no makeup, dressed simply in a green flannel shirt and blue jeans. We discuss where everyone is to grab their hours of sleep before their next shift. She asks: “Where am I going to put you, Norman? The living room? Or my room?” She smiles broadly with clear flirtation running through her expression. I smile back but warn her to make no mistake: “I am not single. Though I am flattered.” She shakes her head and gives me a big hug. In my arms, she feel just like my wife, but she is not.

The lady is a ranger for this park, and she leads me to a canvas tent where she teaches me to assemble cots using pre-cut boards and heavy cord. I want to do the whole thing without tying the line, just by strategically wrapping and overlapping the cord at the joints. She shows me that it will be stronger if every once in a while, I tighten it up and tie a series of hitches. To one side, a small television shows some video, shot in the kids’ attic during the previous summer. Two little boys with brush-cut hair look out the one window, under the peak of the roof. They sit on a bare mattress as they stare out the open window into the blinding light. The are tanned and so sweat-covered that I know it must be over 100 degrees outside. “I do not miss that kind of heat.” I say aloud. The kids look miserable.

It is getting dark again, so I go back to the station. Again, the scoop lamps are lit. I have de ja vu moment and wonder if this is the first time we have broadcast as pirates.


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