A couple years ago a restaurant called Saggio opened in my neighborhood. It has become a favorite local place for many, a place "where everyone knows your name." Well, that isn't totally true, and this truth turned into an interesting situation.
When I walked into Saggio two nights ago to catch the end of happy hour (they have the greatest two-dollar crostini) I was greeted by the sounds of Bird playing over their Pandora station. Christiana, a bartender with warm eyes and long straight hair, came to take my drink order. "It's great to walk in and hear Charlie Parker," I told her, not sure she even knew who that was. "Oh, I love this station. I love jazz, and when things get a little busy in here it is the perfect balance with the intensity of people's voices."
My friend Ivette, also a fan of Saggio, joined me for a drink and some appetizers. Not long after she sat down she said “Listen to who’s playing.” I recognized the saxophonist playing the Mancini song Lujon. It wasn't hard to identify him - it was me! When Christina returned to bring our wine, I pointed this out to her.
"Hey, that's me!"
“What? Wait, what do you mean ‘that's you’?"
"That's me playing. The sax. It's my recording."
"Wait, what's your name?"
"YOU'RE Ted Nash?" She looked like she had seen an apparition.
"Oh, my God, this is my favorite station, the Ted Nash station. I play it all the time."
Then she had the owner come over. "This is Ted Nash."
“What? You're Ted Nash?"
“We play this station all the time. I can’t believe this - I've seen you in here a lot, but never realized YOU were Ted Nash."
To be honest with myself, I knew that they had never heard of me outside this Pandora station channel. I had become over the months this mystical figure. They had no idea who this Ted Nash was, where he played, in what country he lived. They didn’t realize I was coming into their place about once a a week for the past two years.
If you don't know how Pandora works, it is an app for free "radio" that you can personalize. Type in any artist's name and it will create a channel that plays that artist's music plus music that falls into a similar category.
Now, the reason Saggio has a Ted Nash channel can be explained: Not long after the restaurant opened I was talking Lindsey, a cute, gregarious bartender. I noticed they were playing jazz and I asked where they were getting the music.
"Pandora," she replied.
"Oh, type in this name." I gave her mine. She did, and immediately a track from one of my CDs started playing. "That's me," I said with, perhaps, a slightly manufactured sense of ingenuousness.
“What do you mean? Playing?"
"Very cool. I love jazz. I am a singer, in fact. I'm always trying to get my boyfriend to go out and hear jazz with me." (She got that fact into the conversation quick enough.)
While I dined she kept the channel on (which covered a lot of ground in "my category," by the way). When I left, I mentioned an upcoming concert I was doing with the JALC, a program of all Duke. "I LOVE Duke Ellington." Turns out she dragged her boyfriend to the concert at Rose Hall. Next time I saw her at Saggio she very enthusiastically described the concert, what a great time she had. Even her boyfriend liked it.
So, it turns out she left the station on and it had become part of Saggio's regular music programming. And I become a famous, mystical figure.