Success for the Tired
It is often quite the most uplifting thing to follow someone's life and then when they finally do get that ovation, you are there to catch the bow. Last night she and they were there on that stage with what had to have been their 800th show in 400 days. It was starting to show on their faces.
"It was L.A. and then Santa Fe and damnit Bret if we weren't in Albuquerque...like fuckin Bugs Bunny. When I talked to you it was because we passed Winslow Arizona...you know from those awful songs that you would play when it was your turn. (even though I never ever ever played Take it Easy) We were just either gonna fuck each other, fight each other, or blow up. But when you said, 'The times that you spend toiling for what you love all comes to great fruition when you finally get to bow.' It sort of all became clear. I mean...it was just nice that someone knew that."
Last night they signed a record contract. I was telling them that I wanted to write their biography from on the road or from stories and afternoons on couches watching Water World backwards, and then forwards, and then upside down, and the entire time thinking that it was the answer to all that was life. Their crazy little paper boat in the great big sea life was often quite refreshing to me. They told me not to mention anything personal or by name anymore. So I won't. But I told them I had to write them thank you for them thanking me. Because they didn't sign with a local waste of time Baltimore label and they aren't going to be playing the back stage at Sonar anymore. They get on a plane soon to move to the west coast to make their trillions (or Water World 2). They will be missed and they won't be back; not to live here anymore anyway.
"Do you want the apartment? Wait NO! We'll give it to the homeless...it's paid through September. Maybe I'll flyer for it."
Baltimore will miss them and I will miss them. While I have always told them that "This fuckin' sucks." when they would play their music, they would just laugh at me and know that I didn't mean it, but what I meant was "This is insanely off the wall and I love it." The fact that they knew that and I didn't have to explain it to them almost made me love them. The fact that my polo shirt and khaki cargo fratastic shorts never seemed to match their corduroy with crazy yellow stained t-shirts and yet I was offered the same "grape soda" whenever I saw them, made me know that I'm not all hot air and awful like I seem to think sometimes.
We weren't and aren't going to be life long friends, but what the 5 people that are leaving did give me was a little hope, a lot of happiness, and a rebirth to the idea that "pot smoking art"; as I like to call it, is actually fucking stupid and wildly overrated and boring. True art comes from being tired. True art is what comes out of you after your 800th day of being knocked down. True good, concrete, worthwhile art is pain, toil, sweat, and blood. True art that smells authentic has to be grown in a field not written down at 4 am while sucking smoke out of a skunk headed bong. True art is what is left after you don't have time for any stimulant; just art.
To see her finally take that bow last night and to see them all jumping up and down squealing like children when their dream came to them, was like seeing my own future. When someone else succeeds in what they want, you can tell where you are in life by your natural response. If you are jealous then you'll be quite aware of what might be missing in your life. I was at the end of the room and I saw them and I beamed. I clapped my hands and then I left. I didn't want to celebrate with them. I didn't want to be a 3rd wheel. I actually just wanted to hold someone and celebrate my life with them at that moment. It was time for me to celebrate something as well. But I had no love to celebrate with. I had no one to clap for me. And I was really quite fine with that.
Hopefully my phone will ring from some plane and the person on the other line will say something really stupid like "I am going to count to 3...there will not...be...a 4." And then they'll just hang up. Because while I think I helped them a little and I know they helped me a lot, that is ultimately how this relationship has to end. That is ultimately what it was going to be between us all. You can't keep a robin in a cage (he'll put all heaven in a rage). So while I'll wait for them to request that I write their on the road memoirs, I bid them the fondest of farewells and the safest of journeys down life's road of tired.