For the past two weeks, I've been waiting to arrange a coffee meet-and-greet with Linda, a woman who contacted me after reading one of my columns. She works in my building, tracked my number down, and left a voicemail. I always reply to correspondence I receive from people who actually take the time to read my almost-weekly ramblings. I called Linda back, and it turns out that she marched back in the '60s and wanted to catch up and see "How the young kids do it these days." She went to a few shows this year and also wanted to just chat about programming between different corps.
Last week we were supposed to meet for coffee at 6 p.m., but at 5 I had to call and cancel because my boss gave me a project that I knew wouldn't be done until at least 7. I left that night at 8:30. We rescheduled for last night, again at 6. Everything looked good to go until 5:45, when the same project that held me late last week came up again. I tried to call but Linda had already left. I met her in the lobby to apologize and give her my 2004 member DVD to watch. She graciously printed out the ESPN 2 posters to make sure I had seen them. Of course I had, but now that they're printed out, I decided to hang them up in my cube. As soon as Linda and I can reschedule, you'll hear more about my adventure with her. When becoming involved in this activity you suddenly amass a network of friends who live all over the U.S., if not the world. As we all know, hurricane Katrina blew through the gulf region. Since then, I've been trying to think of anyone I know personally who might have been affected by the flood that Katrina left behind. I was stumped until this morning, when I started thinking about people I met last summer in my quest to branch out and meet new people. Beau, a horn player from the Cavaliers, immediately came to mind, and I knew that some of his hometown/college friends marched with him. I went to the Cavaliers Web site, and from what I understand, they believe that he is OK, but have yet to hear from him. There are a few new Bluecoats that were from down South as well that haven't been heard from. We can only hope that they evacuated and have not had internet access to communicate with everyone. This weekend NBC and MTV will both produce a telethon similar to the tsunami telethon that aired to raise money. I know not everyone can contribute monetarily, but since I work in the advertising world where ratings are vital, I hope everyone can take some time out of their day just to watch for 30 minutes. That's enough time to let the network computers know that people are watching and not just flipping through programming. This is only the beginning of the lasting effects of Katrina. The effects will be felt not only next summer, with the obvious dent in the summer music games, which once included Mississippi, Louisiana, and Alabama, but starting now when hopefuls begin to make travel arrangements or even start thinking about marching. Katrina has proved once again that everything can change with the blink of an eye. Becky Novac currently lives in Hoboken, N.J., and works for Universal McCann in New York City as an assistant media planner. She is 22 years old and a recent graduate from Penn State University, where she majored in journalism and psychology. Becky marched with the Bluecoats in 2000, 2002 and 2004 as a member of the color guard.