Experience the unexpected

Expect the unexpected because things rarely go as planned. That was the case last night. It was my plan to be done driving pedicab for the season after Halloween but there I was, working the Vikings game. This guy, Chris, had called up a week ago to see if I would be working. I had given him and his family a ride over the summer and they had so much fun that they wanted to do it again when they were in town for the game. How could I say “no”?

Well that didn’t go as planned either. I tried, I tried, I really did try, but in the end we never did meet up. It still wound up being a good night for me. I hope Chris and his family still had a good night. I’m pretty sure they did. They got to see what will probably be the only game the Vikings win in the United States this season. I wish that I could have been part of their night but that is not the way it played out.

On the way home I stopped in at Club Jager for last call. I had no idea what to expect but as it turned out it was Buttrock night – hard rock and hair metal on vinyl! As I walked in, this song was playing:

Man, I remember when that album came out. I was blown away! I usually don’t pay attention to new music, especially from bands I’ve never heard of but this one caught me off guard. Most of the time I don’t discover new music or new artists until they have been around for a year or more, sometimes decades.

So I got to thinking. What other debut albums did I experience in the moment they were new that blew me away?

Poison - Look What the Cat Dragged In (front)I remember buying this album based on the cover alone! I knew nothing about the band or their music. I just thought they were so pretty! That probably explains a few things about me.

Pretty fucking great album though!

But I think my biggest thrill in discovering new music was when Van Halen released their debut album. I was eleven years old and it only took thirty-two seconds of this song to realize that my life had been changed forever.

There have been numerous seminal debut albums to come out over the years but for most of them, I was either too young or just not paying attention to experience that joy of hearing something brand new. To experience the unexpected is one of the greatest joys in life. It hasn’t all come at the hands of ’80’s hair metal however. It continue to this day but as I’m experiencing nostalgia, here is some of the new music that blew me in the years that followed my buttrock days.

From the debut album, Shooting Rubberbands at the Stars

From the debut album, Bigger, Better, Faster, More?

And from the man who finally got me over my crush on Eddie Van Halen:

From the debut album, Let Love Rule

It just dawned on me that what happened between Guns ‘n’ Roses and Edie Brickell had nothing to do with changes in the music industry. What happened during that time was a very major change in my life. That was the year I suffered a near fatal car accident and the loss of my right eye. It was a very unexpected time to say the least.

I hope you have enjoyed my trip down memory lane. I would love to hear about your experiences with the unexpected. Tell me about a brand new discover that you had which almost made you pee your pants.

Moving connections

I’ve been struggling all week trying to write about what happened last weekend. It finally dawned on me that I was making it way more difficult than I needed to. I wanted to capture the transformative nature of the weekend but that is not really necessary  The nature of transformation is that it sticks with you and it continues to change. In other words, there will be plenty of time to write about all that.

What I need to capture is just the events as they occurred and my feelings, thoughts and state of mind in that moment.

If I just gave you the events, it would sound something like this:

I spent Saturday afternoon helping one of my closest friends move out of Minneapolis into her boyfriend’s house in Oakdale. It took two trips filling my van and a pickup each time.

Afterwards we had diner at The Green Room in Stillwater and drank wine from a vineyard the couple had visited in SLO California when they were there over new years.

After that we went to meet the boyfriend’s dad at a karaoke bar across the river. We drank beer, eat peanuts and talked about everything under the sun. The boyfriend did an amazing job singing The Piano has been Drinking by Tom Waits.

After the bar closed a group of us returned to the boyfriend’s parents house to hang out. We drank and talked, I played the piano for a bit, and we partied ’til the sun came up.

Boring! I mean the day was in no way boring but what made it exciting was not the things I did, it was the connections with other people that made it meaningful. The events alone make it no different than any weekend in my life. What makes my life special are the people involved.

I was so grateful to be asked to participate in this move. I love helping people move and I’m pretty damn good at it by now. Moving is a major life change and I feel very privileged to be part of these monumental events. As I was helping my friend move I hearkened back to the last time I helped someone with a move out of this residence. That was a much more solemn life change filled with negativity and destruction. This time had it’s share of negativity but it felt like a move forward. It felt like growth and new opportunity.

What was so special about being asked this time was that they didn’t need to ask. I’m not talking about not needing to ask because I would help regardless, like I already had it on my calendar – which I did. No, I mean not needing to ask because they didn’t really need my help. I’m sure that the boyfriend could have just hired movers and have been done with it but he didn’t. They took the risk and asked for help. I find that noble.

My brother-in-law once said, “any problem that can be solved with money is not a problem”. I like that. I believe that. By the way, I think that poverty is a problem that can be solved with money, but that is clearly outside the scope of what I am trying to accomplish with this entry.

My point is that the boyfriend could have simply solved this problem with money. I’m sure he’s got it. He drives a brand new Lexus, works for his dad’s company which from what I could tell is doing perfectly well. His parent’s house reminded me a lot of my dream house which I have created in my head just in case I wind up rich. Their’s might actually might be a little bit bigger and I’m sure it’s not their only house. Surface it to say, they have more money than most of my artist friends.

… but not all. I feel very fortunate to have friends at all levels of the socioeconomic scale. It’s all part of my love of diversity thing. I believe it takes all types to make the world go round. I just don’t like it when some people are valued more than others. I grew up in a middle-class family that struggled financially at times. Nowadays, my parents could be considered rich I guess. Saturday I was asked how I define rich and I responded, “if you have so much money that you need to pay someone to spend it for you, I would consider you rich”. My parents do that on occasion.

Me? I’m pretty fucking poor. Most of my friends are poor. It might just be that our economy is totally fucked up. I mean most people are pretty poor and this is the richest nation in the world, right? Per capita, we are number seven but again, I’m getting beyond the scope of this post.

What I am saying is, regardless of your income, race, sex, disability or any other way we want to categorize people, we are all human. We all have the same human limitations. We all need to eat, sleep and shit. We are all constrained by only having 24 hours to each day. We all get older and we will all one day die. In that, we are all the same.

Money cannot buy friendship, not real friendship, certainly not my friendship. That’s why I was asked to help with the move; to build friendship. I was asked to be part of a meaningful life event not because my help was necessary, but because I was wanted. That means the fucking world to me!

They didn’t get off cheap either. I think I only bought one beer all night and I can drink! The boyfriend covered my gas and took me out for a really nice diner. You know what? Hiring movers would probably have been cheaper.

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