Saturday, March 19, 2011
Eight Days....On the Road...
First, let me start by saying, if you like this blog, forward it on - or hook up as a follower, and click a link or two - I don't know how else to get a shameless plug out there to eventually hook up with someone who can help me organize this into a relevant discussion about irrevalent topics, but hey, I read a ton, and based on what I see out there, this ranks up there with a least a little of Max Tucker's wit (okay, so maybe I am having delusions of grandeur, but cut me an ounce of slack, I have been at this blogging thing for a while now, and I know that even folks in Iran read it - why, I don't know, maybe their religious police are looking for poorly drawn images of the prophet or something, but they say self-advertising is the best way to increase traffic, and short of putting a you tube video of me dancing in a red sequined thong, this is what I can do).
You never quite get used to trying to do what it is you set out to do - my goal was one blog per week, sit down, write for an hour, post it, and eventually, compile 500 pages of stuff to send to some editor to put together in a crafty paperback, and see how much it would cost to self-publish. Oh well, so much for the once a week thing. It is more like once a month, and now March is just about over, so I will post one post in March (there is still a slight possibility that I may get the gumption to enforce my self-established rule that writing is good therapy, and sit down next week and try to get enough emotion together and thoughts gathered and motivation to put another few words out there - let me keep my fingers crossed) and move on to April and see if there can be 4 posts. Much like all self-imposed resolutions, this one has gone by the wayside for less deep and intense exercise, like playing Zuma Blitz or watching the earthquake coverage (which, until yesterday and the announcement of our entry into another Middle Eastern country, albeit unilaterally, was the only thing worth watching) - but once again, as I do repeatedly, I digress.
Writing is difficult. Particularly when you are writing about nothing in general. I never set out to have a moral to every story, but usually end up with one. I am not a high brow thinker, in fact, familiarization with higher levels of thinking confounds me, and I usually end up just saying to hell with it, and go and grab a beer out of the fridge and play more Zuma Blitz. Some folks are really good at putting things together in coherent sentences, and have the end in mind when they sit down to pen and paper, me, it is sort of like gas - it just happens, and usually does not leave a pleasant atmospere. Blogging is even more difficult. People start to expect regular and pertinent posts about what is going on in the world - they say to get traffic, you have to talk about things people worry about - like money and finances, and relationships, and current events - well, I don't think about those things as much as I used to, it is what it is, I have very little control over most of them, and so I don't really write about them. I read about them, and have them sometimes, but most of the time, I am more worried about what I am going to do with the kids next weekend, if the thing on my right ear really is skin cancer, and if I will get to spend a week in Seattle or St. Augustine next month. So I suppose that is what I write about. I just finished reading a book by Malcolm Gladwell for the second time about "Outliers" - and the ten year rule about becoming an expert at something - well let's just say I am about nine and a half years off that path, and am far from an expert about doing anything that may define a wider audience, create interest, or even spur a fledgling career as a professional at this hobby. Hell, now I am starting to feel bad about myself - damn it, once again, I digress.
So, I left Florida 14 days ago - the eight days - that's a Chuckanut Drive song - that band no longer exists, they broke up to pursue other opportunities (like making a living, steady work, and the pursuit of the American Mirage) and that's too bad - but that's how I felt at the end of this trip. I wish I could find a place to copy that link into here - eight days is a good song, but none the less, Back on the Tarmac is good expression of pretty much how I felt at the end of this trip...
Hell, since you have no idea what I am doing, I will go try and find the song on you tube, gimme a minute. No dice. You have to buy the song for yourself, but just trust me on this one, it is worth the .99 cents on iTunes. Anyway, here's another freebee they have posted out there, and this one is pretty good too
Okay, so let's get back to where I started to go with this thing. Fourteen days on the road is a long damn time. That's how I am digesting my life these days, fourteen day spurts of activity followed by three days of inactivity, to be repeated over and over and over again (if the past twenty years is any indication) - and at the end of those fourteen day spurts, it is good to get back to the overpriced storage unit I invested in a few years ago, and walk in, and be pleasantly surprised that I turned off all of the water, I med my bed with fresh sheets, I did laundry, and actually had a few canned goods left over from the last three day stay. This trip was particularly exhausting. Ten hour days in conference rooms actually using my brain to comprehend (and anyone who knows me would be the first to volunteer me for a study in Adult Attention Defecit Disorder) and prior to that, a week in LA working on a new job with new challenges and new people - I did get to make a run to Temeculah and go to a winery and an Indian Casino and have some barbeque at Sweet Lumpy's, and have a few beers and listen to a good Southern Rock band. There was some sort of Low Rider or Hot Rod festival going on, and it was fun to stroll through the town and look at all the cars and the people that went along with the cars. It was also good to get somewhere that the sun worked, versus New Jersey, where there was a constant supply of snow, and it was good to spend a relaxing, if not short, three days with Cadence giggling, sleeping by the pool, and holding hands. Still, all positives aside, the suitcase was a little heavier this trip, it was harder to load in the car, it was even more so by the end of it - almost like the floor of my condo had a magnetic attraction to it and wanted the suitcase and its owner to hang out for a little while, play the drums, goof around on the keyboard, use the microwave once or twice. Perhaps that is why it was a long trip this time - I wanted to stay and enjoy the eighty degree days and sixty degree nights of the Florida spring, not fly that way to over there to fly another way to the middle to fly back. I write about this often, and I get asked by folks - what is it you want to do - and therein lies the rub, the image of me sitting behind the same desk, everyday, doing similar things, everyday gives me the need to run. Even now, just typing that out, a wave of fear came over me - and if I believed in ghosts or religious spectacle, I would define it as divine intervention or a message from God, but I am challenged in that arena, so I am just going to say that my gut instincts tell me that me in once place for too long is a really really really bad idea. Who knows, I have never really tried it, and when I did, my marriage fell apart, my family life was non-existent, and I had little concept of self - maybe now it would be different. I doubt it, but maybe it would be.
The road life is a pretty good one - I get to shop for dinner at Trader Joe's, and my nightstand is littered with nifty snacks and Doubletree cookies, and there is always a Burger King close by. I don't have to make my bed, clean my bathroom, or worry about taking exceedingly long hot showers. I can open the windows and run the air conditioner at the same time, and never have to drive after going to the bar for a drink or two. I don't have to worry about checking the mail, mowing the grass, missing doctors appointments, or sitting in traffic. I just don't have to worry about those things that folks who have normal day jobs worry about. I do miss alot - everytime I get home, my kids have grown two inches (or it seems like they have), I don't get to go to recitals, I miss their birthday parties and soccer practices and having dinner with them. I don't establish long term local friendships with folks, more so acquaintances that I run into at the Irish Pub or the grocery, but nothing more, nothing less. I guess in a sense, I lose out on being connected to the world around me - a flight away from whatever it is that I might have done and a flight back to a fresh new world every two weeks. Being connected is a good way to describe it - by not being connected, I get to cherish my lowered emotional intelligence, get to back out quickly when it gets a little too close, and come back when things have cooled a bit. Psychologists probably have a diagnosis for that, and if I actually saw one, I would write about it, but I am pretty sure that some folks like being ultra connected, and some folks just have a really hard time with it. I do get to be connected in a way that other folks don't - with the cities and towns and little places I have visited. I am pretty sure that there is a bartender in Portland, Maine or Edmonds, Washington or Lexington, Kentucky that would smile the minute I walked into the place, offer me a cold drink and a welcome back, and probably even an invite to dinner. That's enough connectivity for me, I think, maybe?
You have to admit, to some folks, it is pretty glamorous and fun - and I would agree - it is fun. Everything about what I do is a challenge - and the brain that I have been given does well with challenges, not very well with routine - that's why I do it, and the fact that the pay is good, and the folks are nice are added bonuses. I also have to admit that it probably is not sustainable - (catch phrase of the year) - and that one of these days, my back is going to give out from airplane seats, my willingness to go is going to stop, and my need to be connected is going to grow roots, and I am going to just say no more - perhaps that was the feeling this trip - the need to stop for a bit, don't worry, I worked through it, and found myself singing Johnny Cash at another Karoake Bar in the midwest, after long days...
Eight Days on the road, that's about what it comes down to. Eight days, repeated, but for me, that is good enough for now.
I hope to get another one out there before the end of March - hell, I have a long Sean Lennon story to tell - and how he sounds horrible, has used too many drugs, and has followed in the musical footsteps of Yoko, and seems to have missed the musical ability to make music that is tolerable when not using illicit drugs - (really folks, I have been to a lot of rock shows, and I have to admit, that the Sean Lennon show with his band that is named something about Tigers or whatever, was more like walking into a tribute show or to a prayer temple and listening to craftily designed songs that make the listeners stomach ache just a little bit, all the while being entertained by witty banter and stories that don't have endings, just uncomfortable silence at the end...)
Maybe next time.