More travel? Yup. But this time I'm armed with an assortment of new music (Frank Turner, Iron Chic, Mixtapes, Living With Lions, Foo Fighters, Manchester Orchestra) with which to digest and ponder while I'm on the road.
For a while there, podcasts were owning my listening time. But I need to cut that shit out. As much as I enjoy the random trains of thought some of them can send my brain? I shouldn't feel compelled to listen to Chris Hardwick and his friends discussing video game music for a full hour. It's completely unnecessary.
I really am a compulsive, motherfucker. With a short-attention span. And not in a fun, cutesy "I have A.D.H.D. because I don't test well" way. No. In a "I procrastinate in the office because I can't sit still and perpetually have 5-6 different Internet Explorer screens open at once in addition to my actual work and it's not because I'm bored with my job because my job is pretty interesting and it stimulates my brain" kind of way.
At any rate: I aimed this compulsivity toward something positive as of late. I need to figure out how to focus, keep my attention on the screen, and just get to typing what I feel. I'm about 95% through a piece I started last week that's fairly lengthy and takes that whole "ladies in punk rock and emo" write-up thing that's popped up a handful of times as of late, and puts my own personal spin on the thing. It has an introduction, a body, and I know what I want to say in the conclusion, but I haven't been pleased with how it's turned out just yet.
I'm excited and nervous about posting. It's nothing earth-shattering, just a personal recollection of a relationship that was spurred on by reading an article, what I learned, etc. The whole thing is self-indulgent, really. But maybe somebody can learn from it. Or be entertained. It just felt good to have something to say, to be moved by reading something in the present and connecting it with the past and realizing: "Hey, dude? Yeah. Uh, that shit you went through? You actually did learn a lot from it. It was a good thing."
I've been in Italy for a few days now, and on the whole? This trip has far exceeded my expectations.
The food has not only been amazing, it's been different. The sights have not only been breathtaking, they've made me think. It's been nice to be thousands of miles from home, with my family and a useless cell phone. Thoughts of work, stress, loneliness, anxiety? While I'm here, they seem to have been replaced with the taste of blueberry-glazed steak sirloin, looking around me and realizing that I'm indeed within the confines of the Roman Coliseum, the architecture of Florence, and allowing my mind to ponder why the exhibits at the Roman Zoo (Bioparco di Roma) were designed the way they were in comparison to those I've visited in the States. (Sidenote: I'm a total nerd for the design of zoo exhibits. Seriously. I analyze them when I'm at any zoo--I promise, it's way more interesting than it seems!)
During the day, that's where I'm at. But at night when there's no sights to be seen and the rest of my family is sleeping? The thoughts come back. I worry. My mind races. I feel guilty. I have that urge. And, quite frankly? I don't feel as lucky as I should. Which is a bummer. But I know how to deal with it constructively. The time difference helps -- When I'm up late, everyone back home is just getting off work. I've begun listening to music and jotting down thoughts on various songs as I go. Perhaps I'll turn these into a user-submitted review upon my return. I play Scrabble, I listen to Opie & Anthony replays. And I have an iPod with a playlist labelled "Optimism" and another labelled "New Music: Must Listen." I give myself assignments, goals. Little ones. And it's been helping.
I'm a troubled soul, but I'm not hopeless. A few years back this trip would have been a disaster. I would have been miserable. Not because I'm not grateful, but because I didn't know how to deal with the world around me. Now, though? Life isn't perfect but it's a work in progress. Changes are being made and I have tools to push it all forward. As great as the wine is here, having these words on the tip of my tongue tastes even better.
Random, hypothetical question: What if (the lead singer of your favorite band) bilked you out of money while conducting illegal activities, only later to refund your money and blame it all on drugs? He/she then "recovered."
Would you burn all of their records? Would you forgive? Could you take them seriously? Would you feel comfortable enough to give them money again when they roll through your town? It's easy to spew hate on something you already loathe. Almost as easy as it is to forgive someone whose art you admire, simply because you don't want to be let down.
Charlie Sheen, Johnny Craig, whoever. Take a look at the situations and make an opinion based on the facts, not your personal tastes. Some people are assholes, some people make poor decisions.
But let's be fair when we decide who the assholes are. Play devil's advocate every now and again. Some people deserve hate, others pity, others love. Others create art that is worth your hard-earned cash.
And others are completely worthless. Except, of course, for a good laugh every now and again. But just realize that when you laugh? You're usually making them rich too.
The food's been digested, I've long since sobered up, and I've spent the past 112 minutes watching Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World with my parents. And while they both seemed to enjoy it, it was apparent that it hit us in different ways. They were entertained, I was moved the same way I was the first time I saw it. It makes me want to fall in love, it makes me want to feel, and it makes me want to fight. Y'know, that good kind of fighting. Fighting for what you believe in, fighting to make yourself a better person. And all that good stuff.
This is my first time coming home for the holidays. And it was a good one. I spent the day with family, drinking and eating, conversing, cracking jokes. And now? My brothers are out on the town, visiting with friends from high school, drinking heavily. And I'm sitting alone in my childhood bedroom, now a "guest" room. I have no desire to be in this town, no desire to reconnect with people I never connected with in the first place.
But I do love my family. And since that movie put me into a funk? I'm hiding in my bedroom listening to Say Anything. This will be followed by the Wonder Years. And probably some Jawbreaker. Oh, and Piebald. The Lawrence Arms? I don't know. The last time I was living in this bedroom I was sad, I was depressed, and I was trying to make things better.
Well. I'm not sad anymore. Just discontent. One step at a time, right? "Love. I shall not love. But I'll still sing about it." Or write about it. Whatever. Tomorrow's another day. Two more, then I'll be back home in Boston, preparing for yet another move, a new neighborhood. I can't wait. But every time I move, I have myself convinced that it's going to change me. I have to change myself.
And I can do that. Thanks to them, I have the ability. I have the strength. I always have.
There's a tropical storm on the way. I've begun collecting little tid-bits of writing over the past week. Material. I should throw something together. The anxiety was killing me today, I was all sorts of snarky with some people and downright harsh with others.
Why? I wrote it all out. But then I realized it sounded embarrassingly angst-ridden and made far more sense in my head. Summation? Being fully employed is a lovely, lucky thing to have. It pays the bills, it stimulates my brain, and it provides me with the occasional open bar event.
But it's not my life. It consumes a solid portion of it at five days/week, roughly 8-10 hours per day. But it's not my life. What is my life? Drinking at home, scribbling down notes in a notebook when a marginally funny thought crosses my mind, pounding the pavement until my legs feel weak, mail-ordered records, podcasts, and a slew of books to be read.
While it's nice to have all of this at my disposal? It would be nice to not drink alone, to have the balls to hit an open mic night with that one awkward story about the first time a girl touched my penis, to have a friend curious enough about music to spin a mix I make for him/her, and so on and so forth.
The running can stay. That's the one thing I feel as though I'm doing right. It's the one area the anxiety--and the real world, really--can't ever touch. And that's why I love to run.
It's mine. And nobody else's. I have full control. But that's an isolated thing. I'm a lone wolf, always have been. But fuck it. This wolf needs a haircut.
Wait, sorry. That's a Tracy Morgan line from SNL...You know what I meant to say. I really should edit this. What up, stream o' consciousness?
My vacation wasn't anywhere near the break that I had been hoping for. There was some drama of the family sort. Nothing life-changing or epic, but bad enough that I left a day early. Alcohol is the worst. Especially when it results in words zinging at you. Words that burn like hell when they hit, despite the knowledge that they're not meant or even remotely truthful. Fucking alcohol.
At the end of the day? I'm sure we'll all be better off that this went down when it did. For the time being? I needed to get away from the situation, hole myself up in my apartment, crank up the A/C, and spin a few albums.
Which is exactly what I did. Well, that and I wound up going out on a "date." Fuck, those things are awkward. Even when they go decently? Awkward. But that's part of the fun. One of these days, though, that awkwardness will pay off. You know it's right when that awkward feeling feels welcome, and the normally tense moments aren't so much tense as they are anticipatory. When that happens? Shit's gonna be awesome. Until then? I'm just wasting time.
Don't ask just how we'll meet, or when that time will be,
But I'm convinced my life's a movie and good things will come this way eventually.
Because I'm releasing the good vibes on the stereo and it's shocking.
Oh, and that Warped Tour review? I managed to draft that sucker up as well. It needs one last run-through, then I'll post it. Bam. Back to work in the AM.
I get more music in the mail than I can listen to. I'm quickly drowning in new releases that I need to catch-up with. Up next? That Bouncing Souls 7" and the new Jon Snodgrass and Austin Lucas albums.
If only I didn't feel compelled to sit down with a release and read the lyrics/liner notes along with the album. I'd get around to it much faster. Of course, without that? Most of the fun would be gone.
There's nothing better than reading along with a song and feeling the smile creep over your face when the right words in the right song hit you at just the right moment. And then you press the back button, put the needle back in the groove, whatever it is you need to do to play it again. And again. And again. And again.