These days I seem to be nothing more than a contradiction to myself. I’m happy to be so far from where I grew up, yet I miss some of the familiar faces and places that were there. I want to play out live again, but I don’t want to go through the trouble of promoting a show and finding an audience. I like my job a lot, but I feel so trapped inside of this cubicle that I can barely sit still. I’m excited to have another baby on the way but all I can think about are the giant hospital bills that will soon be pouring in.
So covering the first point, I once again find myself not missing the place I grew up and spent the majority of my adult life but I’m missing the people. Mainly a handful of people. My brother is there, and my former bandmates, as well as some people I jammed with frequently. With my brother I’m just frustrated because after a very long falling out with him, we finally started talking again just in time for me to move. Now he’s in the grips of a very tough time emotionally and I’m too far away to really help him. Also, he and I are so similar that our conversations always seem to just flow and are always amusing.
With my bandmates, I just miss making good music with other people. Even though we did have our fair share of dramatic moments and there were some rough feelings there when all was said and done, I still miss those guys, and still feel as though I have never/will never be that close with any other guys.
A similar note describes the people I used to jam with. My garage served as a sort of meeting place for several of us who had no other desire than to play music and have a good time. Few beers, little smoke here and there, acoustic guitars, and our ideas. Sounds like a hippie jam circle but it was really great. Songs lasted forever and never got old. None of it was probably anything spectacular but it felt spectacular to be a part of it and that’s all that matters. No one was there to stroke their own ego. I would see amazing guitarist come and play drums, or keys, or sing, or just play some simple rhythm. I’d see great vocalists sit back and let someone else take the “mic” (although it was all done without mics or amplification). I was a drummer, playing guitar and it forced me out of my circle of comfort behind the kit. Forced me to belt out notes and play on an instrument I wasn’t familiar with in the least. I found my voice (love it or hate it) in those jam sessions. Up until then I was really only mimicking what I thought my voice should sound like. Those jam sessions let me see that there were no rules and no expectations. I just did whatever came out of me and it was great.
It’s been two years almost to the day since I’ve experienced anything like that. Now I’m left to sit alone in my studio, playing all the instruments myself using overdubs and software instruments. The feel is gone, the electricity is gone, the buzz is gone. Because of my own stupid insecurities I haven’t reached out to anyone here to try to start a similar thing up here. Back in the garage/basement days I was comfortable/intoxicated enough to do whatever I felt like in front of whomever. Wasn’t a big deal. Now I’m sober, a stranger, and very much aware of myself and my deficiencies. I’ve lived here 2 years and still don’t have anyone I feel that comfortable with, except for my wife.
My wife and I have come to the agreement that our qualifications for the title “friend” are maybe too strict. Most people I meet just throw that word around like it’s going out of style. It seems like anyone that they’ve ever hung out with more than once is considered a “friend.” I can’t say I’ve ever sat down and tried to come up with a hard and fast set of rules for my dishing out of the word friend but basically I just want to be around people who have opinions and thoughts. They don’t have to mirror my own but they have to have some, and be willing to discuss them in an intelligent way. That same rule carries over into their significant others. If they’ve made a choice in that regard that I disagree with, they must be open to discussion about that. They can’t be overly defensive. If, in the end, they say that they are happy with the decision they’ve made then I will leave it alone (as I’ve done many times in the past) but they must be open to discussion. I’ve had people on several occasions ask me why I was with my wife, or how we fit together, and I never got offended. I just answered the questions as best as I could. So there’s my qualification, they need to be open, and be willing to debate intelligently and defend bold, hard and fast statements, assuming they make any.
That sounded like a personal ad in the paper. Anyway, I’m feeling restless inside the cube, and feeling a bit alone in this town. What to do, what to do. I’m in an odd situation out here. At the company I work for people usually leave after a few years and move on to other careers and usually other cities. This makes it a little hard to create any lasting friendships. Knowing that people may be gone next year or in a couple of years kind of leaves me with a “why bother?” attitude. I already went through saying goodbye to friends 2 years ago and don’t really want to do it again, let alone every few years. I want to spend my time building relationships with permanent fixtures in my life. My wife is one of those, my daughter the other. Everyone else seems to be at some stage of the revolving door. As always, I have no resolutions, only questions, and confusion.