This is it

It’s been a roller coaster ride but I feel like it has come to an end. I’m ready to start again. My mind is clear; I have purpose and understanding. I know who I am and I’m okay with myself. I’m okay with my situation and I’m okay with whatever happens next. It’s one of those rare moments when I actually feel like I have my shit together. It’s in these moments that I realize what I have and all that I have is what I give; all that I have received has come to me through giving.

I got home late Thursday morning with the intention of just being. It was a pretty cold and gloomy day so I didn’t have high hopes. I cracked a beer and sat down to write. Before long I recieved a text message from one of my friends who is going through a breakup. I had recieved a message from her Tuesday night letting me know that her boyfriend of fourteen years was dumping her. She was now ready to talk and I was ready and able to be there for her. Normally I would have wanted to be sober to meet with her but she was going to have to accept me as I was. I knew that she was one of those friends who would be willing to do that.

When she arrived I suggested that we go to Clubhouse Jager to eat. I had been craving Aura’s food and I knew that my friend would enjoy it as well. I really can’t say enough about Aura’s cooking but I’m afraid if I do she will get swept up by some restaurant that I can’t afford. Everything she makes is seriously the best I have ever had. Thankfully nobody reads my blog so I can keep her my little secret.

After dinner we returned to my house and talked for another five hours while I polished off the six-pack in my refrigerator.

I was just there to listen and help anyway I could but in the process I received a great epiphany. I think that I have an idea for a book, or at least an article for this blog. It’s not like I have any shortage of inspiration in my life. I come up with great ideas all the time. I just want to acknowledge that they come to me when I am giving to others. I still have to figure out what to do with all of them but that’s a story for another day.

My friend Alex Velocity has been wanting me to be a guest on his online radio show BANGWAVE for quite some time. It finally happened Friday. I didn’t know what to expect. I was nervous but I had no excuse to put it off any longer. I figured I would just go and give what I had to give and see what happened. It was fun and it was inspirational. I love being part of other people’s creative endeavours. You can find the results here.

I was actually amazed that I was able to pull it off but not for the reason one might think. Sure, I have a lot of apprehension about recording my voice. I worry about embarrassing myself but so what; I can handle the embarrassment. The real challenge for me was the drive out there. I hate driving and it took me twice as long to get there as it should have because I kept freaking out and taking wrong turns and the whole time I was terrified of dying. I had a job driving for many years but not because I enjoy driving. I did it because I loved the company and it was something I could do. I had a van because I had a family and I wanted to work so I looked at what I had and I worked with what I’ve got. I loved the job but I hated the driving and that is why quit. That is why I want to get rid of my van. That, and the fact that it’s costing me money even if I don’t drive it. It’s just stupid for me to own a vehicle.

But since I have it I might as well use it to do things that I couldn’t do without it. So I drove and did the radio show. While I was there I realized that I was one third of the way to my son’s school and he was performing his first headlining show with his band 8-bit Johnson. So I drove another two hours to my son’s school. I seriously don’t know how I made it. I was terrified the entire time. I knew the way but it was dark and traveling at seventy miles an hour with other vehicles on the road just seemed like suicide… and I wasn’t feeling very suicidal. I really just wanted to make it to see my son.

I made it in time to surprise him before he went on stage. He rocked the house for a good hour and a half. I can’t tell you how proud I am because pride doesn’t even begin to explain it. What I really felt was an astounding combination of confusion and serendipity.  It was like sifting for gold in the stream to discover that the real value was in the water.  I never raised my son to be a rock star. I raised him to be a good person. Yet there he was, doing both, better than I ever could. Yeah, I came there for him but he gave me more than I could ever have hoped for.

I could have stayed in Morris but I felt my bed calling me. I’m really trying to be productive at home and I know that I’m more productive at doing “home” work when I wake up at home. Plus I was feeling rather energized after seeing my son play and I knew I could make it. The drive home was so much less terrifying. I could see the near full moon shining in the night sky above me and that gave me a sense of peace.

I got home shortly after two in the morning. I was still pretty wired from all the caffeine I had been drinking. There was a text message on my phone from the friend I was with Wednesday night. She sounded like she was having an unsettling night so I wrote her back to say that I was still up and at home if she wanted to talk.

Half an hour later I recieved a text that simply said “Xoxo”.

She never saw my response but it pretty much summed up the rest of my night. I wrote, “<3 I’m pretty tired but way too sober so I’m drinking cheap beer & cheap whiskey and watching Louis CK videos on YouTube. Gonna spend the day at home tomorrow becoming a better person. At least that’s the plan.”

I think Louis CK is brilliant. We opened the BANGWAVE program with some of his comedy. I may have to do a whole post about Louis CK but here is his bit about wanting to be a better person.

You can buy the whole show for five measly dollars on his website.

I woke up Saturday ready to start back up that rollercoaster. That’s when I started this post. I had decided not drink that day and keep my head clear. The problem was it was too clear and I was flooded with thoughts that didn’t seem to give me any direction. I basically just stumbled around waiting for something to happen that was more important than me.

Then I got a text from my daughter, the one I hadn’t heard anything from in over two months. She informed me that she had an appointment with her therapist scheduled. Apparently the deal is that she doesn’t want to talk to me until she can meet with me, her mother and her therapist together. Frankly, I think that is a brilliant idea although I don’t think that the issues have to do with me and my daughter.  There may be issues that her mom has with me or that my daughter has with her mom but having an impartial third party present could help up get to the bottom of it. And if my daughter does have issues with me that she doesn’t feel comfortable talking about without her therapist, I’m open to that too. I think it’s kind of childish but she is a child. I have no idea what is going on in her brain. I’m just glad that there is a way forward and I’m willing to try anything.

The problem is that the appointment is not for another month. That means that my daughter won’t be going on the family vacation to Cabo San Lucas, Mexico next week. I tried over the next couple days to work through that issue but it is a non-starter. It is what it is but it was worth trying.

Next came a call from my friend who recently moved to California. She has epilepsy and is going through a breakup so she’s homeless at the moment. She’s got all sorts of crazy shit going on but also a lot of good things are happening.  She’s somewhat like me, somewhere in the middle; not everything is falling apart but it’s not all coming up roses either. We talked for a little over an hour until hunger got the best of me and I had to find something to eat.

With my primary need for food satisfied I returned to my quest for motivation but I kept being distracted by the thoughts in my head. The overriding one was that I still hadn’t heard anything from the friend I had recieved a text from the night before. I don’t typically get bent out of shape over these things. There are a million and one reasons why someone might not get back to me but this was unusual and so I decided to follow my instincts and tried reaching out one more time. I still got no response. It turned out that she had left her phone at a friend’s place and that I actually had nothing to worry about. Oh well, shit happens!

During this time I got a text from the friend I was with Thursday night. She was downtown at the Toad The Wet Sprocket show. She had an extra ticket and wanted to know if I could join her. Of course I could. I obviously wasn’t doing anything else and would do anything for her.

I should mention that I put Toad in a genre that I like to call lowest-common-denominator music. It’s not quite as derogatory as it may sound. It just means good music that is accessible to as many people as possible. Most musicians would consider that a good thing. It is a good thing, I guess, if that’s what you’re in to. I’m glad that people are in to it because most of the songs I write would fit into that category. It’s just not the kind of music that makes my dick hard. I like things that are new, shocking, different and blow my mind. I guess that’s why I play in Venus’ band rather than my own. Still, I respect anyone who can write and perform a good song so of course I was going to go.

That is a good song.

I was also feeling grateful that I had decided not to drink that day. Hanging out with sober people when I’ve been drinking is still awkward to me. I have no problem with drunk people when I’m sober but the other way around is weird.

Still, this was a challenge.  Being in a crowd of people is anxiety producing for me. Also standing or sitting in one spot for an hour is painful. Without alcohol, I felt all of that. Now if this had been a metal show or a rave, it might not have been so bad but this was Toad The Wet Sprocket. There was not a lot of moving around, people slamming into each other or massive amounts of drugs. So my whole body hurt, I had stabbing pains in my chest, a tightness around my throat, pain in my teeth and my right eye was twitching. It was fucking incredible!

But hey,  another day that worked out just fine. I had no direction but enough people to provide me with something meaningful to do. I’ll take that.

Sunday was good as well. I had diner at my parents so we could discuss the trip to Mexico. Then I went to Venus’ annual pre-Thanksgiving day Squid Fest party. I could say more about it but I’m getting bored with talking about my life. I’m going to end this blog post here. I have a feeling that things are about to go in a different direction.

See you tomorrow with something new…

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Unforgettable days

Six days ago I finally wrote about my day which occurred twelve days ago. I still have not written about the day which followed, the Sunday, the day that is now eleven days history. I have not been putting it off because I am reluctant to write about that day. I have put it off because as time goes by I am worried more about losing the memories of the recent past. That day will forever be etched in my memory. It doesn’t matter when I write about it, it will feel as fresh as yesterday.

You see, that was the day I saved a best friend’s life.

The day before had been spent helping her move into her boyfriends house. It was a big day, an emotional day, an exhausting day. At the end she went to bed but the rest of us stayed up partying. At six or so in the morning she woke up to find us all still awake and hanging out in the kitchen.

She was understandably pretty annoyed with this. I can’t speak to her exact state of mind but I have a feeling she was upset with her boyfriend for inviting people back to his parent’s house and for not going to bed with her.

I wasn’t paying much attention to her arrival at the party but then she collapsed  She has epilepsy and was having a seizure. Her boyfriend and I rushed in to help her safely to the ground where she lay motionless in his lap.  A couple minutes past and she was not showing any signs of coming out of it. I have probably seen her have more seizures than anyone and I could tell this one was different.

I asked someone to call 911, someone who knew where the home phone was, or at least someone with a local number. The ambulance arrived in fairly short order and I met them at the door. I explained the situation and they went to work. The standard protocol is to administer a heavy dose of diazepam. I assume that they did that but it wasn’t working. I heard them say, “We are loosing her”. They cleared everyone out of the kitchen and I broke into tears.

People die from seizures.  In fact, as many people die each year from seizure disorders as from breast cancer. We had already lost one friend with epilepsy in the past year, I could not bare losing another, especially not one of my very best friends.

They loaded her into the ambulance to get her to the hospital. My adrenaline was racing. One of the party guests was pregnant and wasn’t drinking. We made plans to drive her boyfriend and me to the hospital.

—-

They next thing I knew I was waking up on the couch in the living room. My energy had finally given out and I had collapsed.  I had no recollection of falling asleep and now I was alone in this huge house out in the woods. I was alone, trying to get a hold of anyone I could but to no avail. I was alone in a state of panic for two hours before the boyfriend and his mother returned.

The boyfriend had not slept at all and was wiped out. I helped him move my friend’s couch into the basement and then his mother drove me back to my van. I got in my van and headed to the hospital to see my friend, but realizing that this would take me past my friend Scott Harold’s house, I gave him a call.

Scott Harold is the founder and CEO of the non-profit I will forever be tied to called, Rock The Cause. For the longest time I was considered the “moral compass” of the organization. I saw my role as that of preventing the organization from “selling out” to corporate interests. As the organization grew, their need for corporate collaboration became inevitable. I saw my role as an anchor turn into just a drag. I still have my doubts about some of the partnerships that have been made but I have no doubts about the good work they are doing.

For the past many months, Rock The Cause have been working with Zach Sobiech, a 17 year old singer/songwriter who is dying of osteosarcoma, a rare form of cancer that is expected to take his life within months. His story and his music are so incredibly; it moved me to tears to hear Scott tell me about him. I’m in tears now as I am writing about this. If his life does not embody the meaning of “Life Sucks, So What?” then I don’t know what does.

And then on to the hospital to see my friend who nearly died from epilepsy. I was grateful to find her no longer nearly dying. In fact, she was bitching about the food and how this hospital sucked compared to her last one. This may not have been any comfort to her in the moment but it was of great comfort to me. She was actually a pretty difficult patient but I wanted her to know that I still loved her. After spending a good hour or so with her I offered to buy her a coffee and told her that I would check in with her the next day.

Then I needed to get a drink. I had potential plans with this guy but he was not available so I called the woman I had not bought a drink for earlier in the week. She met me at the 19 bar. I explained how not buying her a drink went against my core values. We talked about honesty. We talked about lying. We talked about sex. We talked about all sorts of things until my bff showed up.

After bar close we went back to my bff’s place. We all got comfortable and after some heated discussions about poverty my bff passed out in her bed. My other friend and I were left alone on her couch. We began exploring each other’s bodies. There is much excitement to be found in another person’s body. That is something I haven’t had enough of lately. I just can’t tell you how much I missed feeling a cock in my mouth.

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