You get what you deserve

Friday night I had two of my closest friends hang up on me. Did I deserve that?!?

Well… yeah, I probably did. After publishing my last post I continued drinking and needed social interaction so I started a mad rampage of drunk dialing. I called everyone I could think of. Some didn’t answer. That’s fine. That is well within their rights. Many did and I am grateful to all of them. Do I deserve to have so many people that I can call upon whenever the mood strikes me. I think so. I’m usually not asking for much and I offer everything I have.

With the friends who hung up on me I asked for more than they had to give and gave more than they wanted. ¬†That’s a common situation with the people closest to me. Thankfully, the people closest to me know how to deal with that situation. There really is no negotiating with a drunk person so the appropriate recourse is to just hang up. It’s not an easy thing to do but it’s far better than feeding into the reality of a person in an unencumbered emotional state with a highly encumbered cognitive system.

I woke the next morning feeling better than I had felt waking up in a long time. I knew I had a couple apologies to make but physically, I felt great. Did I deserve to feel so fantastic after such a full on night of poisoning my body? Probably not!

We don’t always get what we deserve. Life offers no guaranties. All we get with life is life and even that is only offered on a temporary basis. Every day that we are alive is a day to be grateful. Every day that we are alive we have the only thing that life has to offer. Everything else is gravy.

But we are human beings. We are a superior life form. Certainly we deserve more that just life. Certainly we deserve more than a single celled amoeba or a freaking banana. And of course, some human being are superior to other human beings. Some people obviously deserve more than others, right? I mean, take you and me for example. Since I’m the writer and you are just the reader, I deserve more than you.

Oh, I’m sorry. Did I lose you with that last statement?

Whenever we start comparing ourselves to others we are going to run into problems. My daughter informed me this evening that she has a more stressful life than other people. And you know what, she is not wrong. I tried to assure her that I would do everything in my power to reduce stress in her life but the fact is we all take on as much stress as we can handle. The real problem is when unexpected things happen that add stress we didn’t choose to take on. That’s when it’s probably a good idea to hang up the phone. ūüôā

The other fact is that we live in a society that is based on comparison. It’s really the only way that we can evaluate anything. This is bigger and that is smaller. This is stronger and than weaker. This is better and that is worse. Yeah, the only thing we are guaranteed is life but it is still up to us to survive. To survive, we need to be able to make these judgement calls. As a result we live in ¬†a very judgmental society.

I spent the day car shopping with a good friend of mine. Her very sensible mom car, the minivan, is on it’s last legs. It’s time for a new vehicle. ¬†Now this person is more than just a mom, she is a smart, classy, outgoing sophisticated woman who belongs in a more suitable vehicle than a minivan. This was a relief to me. I’ve bought three minivans in my life and it’s not the most exciting shopping experience. We were on our way to get a sweet ass ride!

Of course, in this society you can’t just go out and pick the car that suits you. You have to be able to afford it. Well… no you don’t. There is always credit. But you have to be able to qualify for credit and the poorer you are the more it’s going to cost you. In this society, poor people pay more for the same thing than rich people. But that’s okay. Poor people are inferior to rich people and so they deserve less.

Apparently, there is some doubt about that. There are some things that are only available to you if you are poor. I went out tonight with a friend who works for the county and we spend a lot of time talking about programs that are only available to the poor. I’m sure that these programs came into existence because of some idea that people deserve certain things out out of life but no one has to prove their worth as a person to receive them, only their financial worth. This is the system under which we live.

You can fight it, and take down the entire capitalist system, or embrace it and go get the benefits which this system has to offer. I don’t understand why people complain about those receiving government benefits but I also don’t understand why people keep giving all of their money to the rich. Both of these things seem stupid to me.

But then I think that we are all in a symbiotic relationship.

There would be no rich without poor.

There would be no writers without readers.

There can be no cops without criminals.

There can be no human beings without the amoeba and the banana.

There would be no living without those who have died.

We are all in this together and we can keep fighting for supremacy but in doing so we are fighting that which creates us.

Perhaps one day we will stop fighting ourselves. Perhaps one day we will get what we deserve.

Advertisements

You are only as good as everything you are

An old friend of mine, someone I haven’t hung out with in far too long, someone that has been on my mind a lot lately, was fond of saying, “You’re only as good as your last record.” It’s an expression used in the music business but their are similar ones for athletes, actors, writers and I guess, just about anybody.

I’ve been aware of this sentiment for a long time. The line was used in the Bachman – Turner Overdrive song, “Rock Is My Life, and This Is My Song” off the first album I ever bought with my own money, Not Fragile.

bachmanturneroverdrive-notfragile-cover

This was not their last record but it was by far their best. To me, Bachman – Turner Overdrive will always be as good as this. Unfortunately, Randy Bachman and crew did not see it this way and by the time I actually saved up enough money to buy, Not Fragile, the band was all but done. I don’t know if it was the industry’s belief that you are only as good as your last record or that the band had bought into that bullshit.

And yes, I do consider it bullshit! When we judge people based on their last action, their most recent failure; we are not seeing the whole person as a whole person and we are fucking up.

We all fuck up so don’t freak out. But if we can’t recognize when we fuck up we can’t get better. And you know what? Getting better doesn’t happen without fucking up. I know that there are people who aren’t interested in getting better. That’s fine, I don’t always feel like getting better either. Change is scary, but change is inevitable. Getting better means admitting that we aren’t the best, and for some of us, that sucks.

Well, let me go on record as saying that you are the best YOU (at this moment, in this time) that you can be. You are a product of your successes and your failures and you are worth every one of them. You were born, you are alive, and you have the same right to be here as everyone else. YOU ARE WORTH IT.

But you are more than that; you have the capacity for change. You are also the victim of change. If you aren’t pushing for getting better, you will get worse. But even if you try to get better you might fail. If you try to get worse you actually have a better chance at success.

But, that is your choice.

There is no staying the same.

I hope that you will try to be better even if it means failure. I still have the words of Yoda ringing in my head, “Do or do not. There is no try!” I’ve been busy just doing what I do but maybe that is bullshit as well. Maybe it’s time for me to do something new. Maybe it’s time for me to boldly go where I have never gone before.

Keep buggering on

It had to end sometime. I knew I couldn’t keep going like that forever, although I¬†certainly¬†tried. One day I was going to wind up dropping. One day I would have to accept that I live with chronic illness. One day is was all going to come to a¬†screeching¬†halt.

That day was yesterday. After sleeping twelve hours I was awakened by a phone call from my bff. Even though I had gotten twice as much sleep as I usually requires, I still couldn’t move. Every inch of my body was in pain. My brain felt scrambled and I couldn’t focus on anything. Even my vision was blurry. I struggled to muster the strength to make it downstairs to the bathroom only to find that I had¬†exhausted¬†all my energy and crawled back to bed. I spend the entire day in bed only moving to use the bathroom or get food. Chewing seemed like an¬†arduous¬†task.

It’s been¬†awhile¬†since I have had a day like that but there was a time when it was my reality more often than not. It has been a long road to get here from the time I first got sick with chronic fatigue syndrome but it never really goes away. It is still common for me to have a day or two a week that are like that. The biggest change is in what I can do when I am able to move.

Last Wednesday should have done me in. I’m pretty sure that if I had gone home after delivering CityPages, it would have. ¬†Instead, I went to the Bad Waitress for dinner and then to the bar. My bff met me there and I crashed on her couch. We had brought a friend back to her place with us because he was concerned about going home to his boyfriend. It sounded like he was in a pretty abusive relationship and his boyfriend had a gun – not a good combination. He had threatened him with the gun in the past. The three of us stayed up talking into the wee hours of the morning. The plan was for the boy to spend the night but I don’t even remember falling asleep. All I know is that when I woke up he was gone. We did get a txt from him later to let us know he was okay.

My bff had the day off on Thursday but she still got up with me so we could have coffee together. After a¬†leisurely¬†cup of coffee with my best friend I was off and running… and running late. I had to stop by another best friend’s place to drop off some newspapers to help in her packing. She was moving this month.

I really hope that I can do more to help but that may not happen. The important thing is not what we have to give, but that we give what we have. If we all pull together and do that, things will be okay.

Then next stop was picking up my daughter from school. I was twenty minutes late picking her up. Half of that was me running late, the other half was the weather. I was not alone in being late picking up my kid. There were lots of kids waiting to be picked up. We were under blizzard conditions and the roads were¬†treacherous. I was really excited to take my daughter to the Minneapolis Institute of Arts for their Third Thursday event. Unfortunately, I didn’t think that would be wise¬†considering¬†the weather. It was hard enough driving during daylight. I didn’t trust myself to be able to get her home after dark. I hate driving at night even under perfect conditions.

Instead, I just dropped her off at her mother’s and headed home. By the time I got home, I had just enough time to¬†shovel¬†my¬†sidewalk¬†(it was already covered with snow by the time I left again), take a piss, rub one out quick, take a shower and get dressed before hopping on the bus. There was no way I was driving anymore and biking seems totally out of the question but I still needed to get to the MIA. I was running on pure¬†adrenaline.

The reason why getting to the MIA was so important to me was because Lisa Germano was playing. She is the woman who borrowed my synth for South by Southwest and I was really looking forward to meeting her. As it turned out, she cancelled the gig. I guess she canceled the whole tour. I don’t know why. Her website has no¬†explanation¬†but these things happen. Kaiser Cartel also canceled and there is no info on their website either.

Oh well. My friend,¬†Savannah Smith filled in at the last minute, so it was good to see her. My bff went with me and another friend who I hadn’t seen in a while joined us as well. Back when we were all single we used to be kind of three peas in a pod. It was good to have that gang back together.

Still, I was struggling. The weather was really wearing me down. As it turned out, it was probably better that my daughter was not there as I was exhausted by the barriers that were being placed before me.

Don’t I have it hard enough?

I keep going because I am afraid to stop. I know when I stop it is really hard to get¬†going¬†again. I feel like I am running while leaning forward. The only thing that keeps me from falling on my face is that I keep moving. I am constantly falling yet constantly moving. Just like the earth is falling into the sun but keeps missing it. It’s physics.

I keep hoping that it will get easier. I keep hoping that Spring will come. I see signs of hope. I see the snow melt. I feel relief is in sight but it never comes. I just have to keep buggering on.

While at the MIA I was asked how I keep my spirits up. I just raised the beer in my hand and shrugged my shoulders.

The truth is that¬†alcohol¬†is a major part of what keeps me going – that and friends, but in my life, the two are pretty¬†intertwined. Music, writing and biking also keep me going but they don’t mean shit without people.

So I decided I would kidnap my two friends and drag them to my work party. It’s not really what you think of when you think, “work party”. I work for CityPages and they throw some of the best parties in town. This one was a roaring 20’s / bootlegger / flapper themed party. Check out some of these pictures from my friend Erik Hess. None of us were appropriately dressed but that didn’t matter. When I walked in I was told that I was dressed in the wrong decade. I responded that I am every decade. Okay, I was dressed in¬†leopard¬†print pants and probably looked straight out of the ’80 glam metal era but so fucking what.

Since I kidnapped them I figured I should pay for the cab.¬†Apparently¬†all of us had money that night because we were all fighting to pay for each other. I’m telling you, if you want to stimulate the economy; give money to poor people. We will spend it! I was fully prepared to spend the $100 I left the house with. Mostly, I just knew that it would be a challenging night and I didn’t want money to stand in the way of me getting home safe. I have no problem spending money on cabs.

As it turned out we didn’t need to take a cab back. Our friend’s girlfriend came and joined us later in the evening. It was great to have a sober ride home. Well, not home, but to the 19 bar. We were too sober to head home but plenty drunk enough to get into a snowball¬†fight – in the car! You kind of had to be there but feel free to use your imagination. I’m¬†not a good enough writer to do it justice.

After the 19 my bff and I headed back to her place with one of her co-workers. On the walk, we had to stop and make snow angels. It’s kind of a winter tradition for us but our first attempt this year didn’t work out so well. I never thought that we would be fulfilling this mission in April.

Snow Angel in April

I love the imprint of my studded belt.

 

The co-worker only stuck around for a little while waiting for her bus. My bff and I stayed up until at least four in the morning. It was a pretty intense night after a pretty intense day. We talked about the death of her best friend and about the significance of our friendship.

I say it all the time but I don’t know if I have ever¬†written¬†it down: this is the best friendship I have ever had – and I have some of the most amazing friendships a person could ever dream of. This woman is just so special to me that I never feel like I have¬†adequate¬†words to describe our relationship. It’s like no other relationship I have ever had. It’s like no other relationship I have ever heard of. It’s like the best parts of family combined with the best parts of friendship combined with the best parts of romance – except without the sex. That is not to say that we don’t have our problems. Our relationship may include some of the worst parts as well. All I can say is that it is amazing, unbelievable and completely unique.

We shared tears that night. We felt¬†incredibly¬†close and vulnerable. I asked if I could sleep in her bed with her. I like to snuggle. She doesn’t usually like this. She likes her freedom to move around. Also, I sometimes grab her boobs in my sleep. I can see how that might make her uncomfortable. On this night however, she was happy to have someone to sleep with.

It was hard enough for my friend to get up Friday morning. I wasn’t as much help as I could have been but I’m sure me being in her bed helped. As it was she was running late for work. I was figuring I wouldn’t be working at all. It still looked like fucking winter outside. In Minnesota, people drive pedicab all year round but even I think that is stupid. I called the pedicab company in hopes that they would tell me that there was no point in coming in. That is not what happened.

They said, “It’s Friday night, there is a big Styx, REO Speedwagon & Ted Nugent show in town and the streets have been cleared.”

Okay, I thought. I’m new at this and they know better than I. If they want me, I’m going to be there. Plus, I know that if I want to keep going I need to stay¬†consistent. ¬†Even if I have a bad night I need to keep buggering on.

I got up, did a load of dishes, went to the store to get cat litter and Drano, came back and changed the cat box, cleared the drain in the bathroom sink and did another load of dishes. Then I hopped on the bus to go home. I still needed to take a shower, shave and wash my blanket for the pedicab. I don’t remember but I’m pretty sure I took time to jack-off as well. As crazy as my life was feeling, I knew that what I was going through was nothing¬†compared¬†to the folks on¬†lockdown¬†in Boston.

Friday was a pretty shitty night; at least it started out that way. I didn’t get a single ride off the big concert at the Target Center. I started working at 8pm but I didn’t start getting rides until after midnight. It still turned out alright. Gay men and drunks are my bread and butter and they totally saved my ass. I know my people.

Saturday was a nicer day so I figured I would go in even earlier. I also wanted to make sure my pedicab was in top working form. It seemed to be but I still was having problems, I presume do to the weather. It was still too fucking cold. Anyway, Saturday was a fun night. Technically, the best night I have had to date. It was also the most exhausting. By the time I was done at 3am, I was beat, and it was snowing. I sent my bff a message to see if I could crash at her place. She lives much closer to the garage than I do and I didn’t think I could make it home. Even if I could, the bike ride in the snow would have been hell.

Sunday morning I woke up on my bff’s couch once again. She wouldn’t have to get up for another few hours but I needed coffee. I also needed a smoke and nobody likes smelling cigarette smoke while they are sleeping. I gathered my things and headed out the door. I still had no real plan.

In the entryway to her apartment building, sitting on top of the mailboxes were a pair of Roland MA-8’s. “Holy shit!”, I thought. These would be perfect for making music on my laptop. I couldn’t believe that someone would just be giving them away. I figured someone in the process of carrying things in and had just set them down. I went outside and had a smoke on the steps while I contemplated what to do. After 10 minutes, no one had come back for the speakers so I figured they were mine. Wow, sometimes the universe is so awesome!

I had been tempted to just head home but after that I figured I should just keep buggering on and see where this day takes me. I love Sundays and I love drinking with people who drink on Sundays. I’m not saying that it was the brightest decision in the world but you are free to judge for yourself.

Here is what happened:

  • CC Club for breakfast – coffee, 2 screwdrivers and a veggie¬†omelet.
  • Conversation on the patio with a¬†conservative¬†about the smoking ¬†ban. We actually agreed on somethings.
  • Two beer.
  • Played darts with a friend and his buddy. They were celebrating my friend getting fired. I won at darts.
  • Started my bike ride home stopping off at the Saloon, a gay bar downtown.
  • $3 gin and tonics. Gay bar strong. Must have had 3. I was pretty drunk.
  • Sat down with a pretty 22 year old college student who didn’t look like she should be drinking alone. This was true. Even her friend who was txting her hoped that she wasn’t drinking alone. She took a liking to me. Started making out with me at the bar. I’m not one to complain about a hot college co-ed wanting to makeout with me but this was a gay bar and I do have a reputation to maintain.
  • I literally¬†poured¬†her into a cab. The cab driver insisted that I come with – not really his job to take care of her. I agreed. There was no telling where this would lead. She was all over me – biting me – I like biting. My judgement was a bit off but I would never have sex with someone that drunk. Still, there is a lot of fun that can be had that falls short of sex.
  • I get her to her destination and the cab takes off. The woman also makes it clear that she is done for the night. Luckily, I took that cab drivers number. He comes back and returns me to the Saloon where my bike is locked up.
  • From there I head to my friend Doug Anderson’s new bar for a drink. It’s called the Belmore/New Skyway Lounge. I hadn’t been there yet and I wanted to check it out. Call it reconnaissance, not just for the band but as a pedicab driver as well. It’s a great space and the bartender was awesome. Unfortunately, we were the only two people there the entire time. I sincerely hope that he does better on the weekends. I’m sure he does.
  • It’s still early so I thought I would hit Bunker’s and catch one of my favorite bands, Dr. Mambo’s Combo. I pulled up to the door on my bike and the bouncer told me to keep moving. Okay, I thought. I’m pretty drunk, maybe I should just go home. I got about a block away and realized that he did not have enough interaction with me to make that assessment. He had no idea who I was, so I headed back to talk to him. This was not cool. His mind was made up. He didn’t care who I was. He was being a prick and he was sticking to it. Fair enough.
  • Next attempt was BJ’s, a strip club. They had me pegged as someone to not let in off of their¬†surveillance¬†cameras. Seriously, they judged me solely on the fact that I was riding a bike and had an overstuffed¬†backpack.¬† I even had a nice conversation with the bouncer but there was nothing he could do.
  • At this point I was¬†determined¬†to get another drink. I stopped in at Halak’s. No bouncer, no security¬†camera, no problem. I had a beer there and then headed out for a smoke. I decided that it was time to move on but headed back in to hand the¬†bartender¬†another $5 for not judging me. He said I was no problem and was welcome there anytime. This is why I love dive bars!
  • The queen of all dive bars is the T-shop in my neighborhood. I don’t go there very often because they are usually closed by the time I get home. They are a beer-only bar and usually close by midnight. This night I was getting home well before midnight. I really do love this bar. I love Debbie the bartender. Also sitting at the bar was another famous musician in town. He’s the lead singer in a Tom Petty¬†cover band.¬† We are both talented musicians and songwriters who make our way in the world playing other people’s music. We had a great conversation about that.

Judge me however you want but there was a movie in that night. Maybe I should have just gone home and had my day of doing nothing on Sunday but I wouldn’t have missed that day for anything. Sure, maybe I would have been able to move on Monday if I had, but Monday would never have been as exciting as that.

There is a saying, “Don’t judge me until you have walked a mile in my shoes.” Fuck, I don’t give a shit if anyone walks in my shoes. Judge me all you want. I just hope that you will take the time to walk a mile in your own shoes. Most people don’t even do that!

%d bloggers like this: