Preface: Two separate installments that just happen to be connected by a thin line of subject matter. Don't read too much into ANY of these. Just what happens with too much free time and an crippling need to be self aware. Can't remember the time frame of the first part but I'm pretty sure I remember revising it on that mattress on the floor (it'll make sense later). The second part, I remember vividly. Outside of Cold Beer, New Mexico (yep) in Colfax County. Staying in some lodging provided by the bar owner. Perfect weather. Some kind of meteor shower happening. Beautiful skies with a mountain range backdrop that I will never forget. It was still the beginning of the adventure so mind and body was fresh... Hindsight dictates that we should have saved some of that energy.
Honesty, is something I have taken on, and taken to heart, in the last couple of years. Not that it was ever missing per se. But it definitely wasn't my main focus for many years. Bending the truth to justify actions was the name of the game, or so I thought. Just so you know I am twenty-seven years old. A baby in the mind of a forty year old and an ancient to college kids. My early twenties consisted of missed opportunities and decent pot. So naturally not a whole lot got accomplished. But what I gleamed from those years has shaped and formed my entire world. Being aware of your surroundings is something I developed and sharpened at Texas Tech University. Weird dorm co-habitats. Diverse student body. A passionate, oft understood and possibly intoxicated football coach we all called "The Pirate". And one mis-guided relationship coming to an end. Those were the volatile ingredients to my brief but profound mental breakdown. A loud "snap" heard only between my ears, would have undoubtedly been deafening had it not been for Skippy's really good weed two doors down and Dr. what-ever-his-name-was' knock off Xnaex.
That being said, any and all participants in the following stories will remain nameless, unless it is really funny. Like Skippy. That was his actual name. He had a girlfriend named Star Child. And a dog. Never caught the dog's name but they all lived in the dorm two doors down on the left. I can't make this stuff up.
Two years I spent wandering about Lubbock, Texas. Looking back it feels like an eternity. I grew up an hour from there, in Dickens County just east of where the Caprock Canyon breaks open. Just about the moment you think if you go any further east you will fall off of the end of the flat earth, it crumbles away into a vast gulch carved away centuries ago by massive glaciers and underground reservoirs. Moving into "town" was a bit of a shock. There were people everywhere! And no one gave a damn about you! That was the hardest part to adjust to. But adjust I did. I found like-minded people (i.e: people who liked to drink a lot of beer and go to house parties and not clubs) And then one of my best friends moved back to "town" after a failed experiment in San Angelo. I moved in with him, or more accurately, I came over one day and slept on the couch for two months until one of his other roommates finally gave up and left. Bam! There was my open mattress on the floor. High times indeed.
Strangely enough, I live with this dude still today. In a different part of the state and with a slightly larger mattress on the floor. (It's a thing, don't ask)
I'm getting ahead of myself. Back to the beer drinkers. One in particular liked to drink as much beer as me. And stay up really late. And blow off our responsibilities like they were traffic laws at four A.M. He also had a similar relationship meltdown around the same time I did. We handled it in different ways but I feel that experience kindled our friendship. Randomly, on the front porch of my apartment. Or maybe it was his. I'm not sure because we lived in the same apartment complex and spent a lot of time on both porches. Actually, I do remember it being my porch. Third floor. Hollering at freshman girls and what we decided as douche bags on motorcycles just mere hours before.. We came to a pretty mature agreement. "Lets get the hell out of Lubbock right now. Or we will never leave." Didn't matter where. Just had to go. And after a little talking to parents and promising to finish college, we were set on San Marcos.
Him and I, along with who I will call Pimp Nasty Yeah-Yeah, moved into a decent apartment on the north side of Aquarena Springs and proceeded to try and fuck our lives up any way we could. Damn near did it. Toxic relationships with girls no one else liked and whisky nearly tore the brothers three apart. But. After we all moved out and on, we became closer than ever. And still remain brothers. We took a leap of faith (thanks mom and everyone else families) and somehow landed on our feet.
My point is. We thought that if we could just change our location then things would get better. Something I see people upset about that all of the time. It's just not true. Happiness isn't in a zip-code or on a beach. It comes with being content with where your mental maturation is. Maybe starting with self-awareness is a good idea but you get the idea. It's a cliche but so true. You gotta be happy with yourself before you are ever happy with anyone or anything else.
What is a destination? Is it a finished product or coordinates on a map? As I sit in north-eastern New Mexico with my band and cohorts, smiling and drinking among the grasshoppers and coyotes and horse flies. It dawns on me, not for the first time, that we all have different ideas of what success is. The stark landscape and pressured circumstances of the group to do something that will last, weighs heavily on my mind. As sure as the Sun rises in the east, this very thought is rolling around in the minds of the people around me.
So destination actualy is an important question. Other than the one-room beer-joint that we will be playing music in tomorrow, and the land owners that let us stay in their bunk house, there isn't much around. Somewhere with a covered roof seems like a destination enough. No hotel room or dark guest bedroom could ever fufill the same desire to ramble around quite like a Ford Passenger Van, with an ice cooler stocked with lunch meet and vegetables and beer. With gigs lined up for the next few weeks, the desire to return home, to normalcy, slowly subsides. Ether that's a good thing or not is lost on me. Do I want to see my loved ones? Absolutely. Do I miss my girl? More than I ever thought I would. Do I want to return to a job that while fun and stress-free, offers little to nothing as far as advancement and creative outlets go? I'll ask around.. Local Cowboys from the watering hole offer warnings and admiration for the land. Desolate, would be the word. But beautiful. They have little more thought on the subject of life. Choosing not to pontificate with strangers and accepting it as an evident truth. That's how people survive a slowly disappearing way of life. Limited phone service and basically dial-up internet connections still separate some parts of the country from the modern word. But that's not the issue. No one from those parts even factor in that they might be missing out on something. FOMO(fear of missing out) is not a thing to them. Only what is right in front of you. Rationale is the name of the game in this land. Oh, but that homemade hay bale pew church inside the Quonset hay barn. Still wondering what that's all about.
We search for the answer but with new life and old questions surrounding us we may never know. Happiness. Seems to be the prevailing factor in all of this. And who doesn't want to be happy? Oftentimes it is I. For whatever reason, a good situation makes me uncomfortable. And don't think I take for granted being where I am. Friends and family. A angel of a girlfriend and sidekick (I don't know how I would make it without you) And a badass band. Something that has been on my list for many years to have. Or better yet, be a part of.
There is plenty of time for basking in the glorious "now" whilst vigilant for the next best thing... If you are a sailor. But we are musicians and lovers. The right now is the only thing that matters. We can plan, and plan well. But not being built for longevity is a constant battle. The Romanticist's Curse allows that some of us are happy being gypsies. And some of us are just searching for a purpose no matter what the cost.
So who makes out better of the two in this situation? Is it the live off the land Cowboy who cares not for culture and modern things? Or the bohemian wanna be's? Driving at just below the speed limit every where that will have them just to feel loved. Being a child of excatly both of these two examples, the Cowboy is more equipped to last and build things with their bare hands that will last the test of time. But are typically a sadden, morose bunch. Finding solace in the little things like "we actually have water" or "didn't have to bury anything today". While the ones who live like they don't care about anything, actually care more deeply about everything. Usually a manic bunch, the high times can produce an incredible energy that allows magical things to happen. Musically or just in everyday experiences. But the lows... The lows are worse than any kind of sad story can portray. Intense self-doubt and loathing start as little brown bed bugs that slowly eat away at the happiness and confidence until they are writhing green monsters in the corner of a dimly lit bedroom. Drooling through their fangs at the first taste of being "ok" with being weird. So which one do I think has it better? I know what I have chosen to take with me from both sides. That's all I can allow on the subject.
I don't think I'll be as heavy in the next installment. Hoping that there actually is a "next installment". Either way, it is what it is.
It is what it is.