No Filter or "That Wasn't My Outside Voice"
If you're fairly frugal, you're wise, very wise.
That's one of the few true virtues inherited from my dad, who drove his robin's-egg-blue 1976 Volkswagen Beetle until the seats were falling out of it. The latest and greatest just doesn't appeal to me, unless it's an iPhone because all of the older model iPhones start blowing chunks as soon as the new model hits the market. Funny how that planned obsolescence works, but I long ago not only drank the Apple kool-aid, but I started eating it straight from the pouch, just like you used to when you were a kid, and don't say that you never did. Everyone ate Kool-Aid right from the packet! The one that was supposed to make 2 quarts, am I right?
I'm still driving my Buster Bunny Blue 1991 Geo Metro LSi convertible with the ripped, non-functioning vinyl top and it looks a lot like early 70s-era TR7s looked to me. Smells the same too. Like amusement park water and forest trails. It runs, it works, I'll keep it. Music gear is always a danger zone with staggering leaps of technology debuting every year, yet I'm playing 8-year old pedal boards and trying to duct-tape the frizzin' thing back together all of the time. It runs, it works, I'll keep it. Wear a favorite shirt until it's SHI-NAY! Buy something once, don't buy it again. What's with all of this rebuying that's going on? It's built to break.
We're all built to break. Then, we're all broken to build and rebuild.
My old man was a solitary, though not initially by choice, I don't think. We never had those discussion, never had the chance, really. He passed long before I had the balls or the burning curiosity to really ask the big questions. But he sure loved to spend time alone and I'm the same way. It's zero-distraction time to work on a project or chill, reflect or gaze, be still and let gnosis. People ask what the soundtrack is when I'm at home and I tell them, "silence." Unless I'm writing, recording or rehearsing, there are no radios on, no televisions, no background noise, no white noise (except the nearby interstate, and I've come to appreciate that as a sort of concrete ocean roar), no clocks ticking, non!, quiet as dreaming trees.
All that stuff that's supposed to be pitiful to do alone? Going to restaurants, going to a movie on a weekend night, going to a concert, going to a theme park, that's all commonly seen as "taboo" by lots of people whom, I guess, are really concerned about what people think about them if they don't travel in pairs or more. I do it and don't think about it. Experiences come in all variety of pluralities and singularities, and I love hanging out with people, but it's by yourself that you can truly be as free as possible. You see all about yourself, know all about yourself, you can't lie to yourself, though you can try, to yourself, to lie.
When I drive, that crazy, long-term, go-the-distance marathon touring that I so often engage in, it's probably now 90% done in silence. Remaining alert, remaining aware, being thoughtful and present and responsive. Sounds very Californian, doesn't it? I don't know - it might be. Many people see me as being sort of a stereotypical Los Angeles native, kinda hippy-dippy, part beachcomber and part Hollywood weirdo and I'll wear those shoes because they totally fit, dude. But it's something that needs to be nurtured, managed and thought about. See, my dad, through genetics or example, not only taught me how to save money and be comfortable in my own skin, but he also bequeathed to me a dangerous weapon that I've battled for years to keep locked safely away from the rest of the world. He didn't know how to handle his, but I one-upped the old man on this one. I've been winning.
Now, before you think that I'm gonna lay down some jaw-dropping bit of juicy insight that'll curl your toes, it's not that big a deal in the grand scheme of things. But I've been thinking a lot about what we show and what we do not show to our fellow humans. All of this recent business with all of the movie producers, stars and other high-profile folks; I don't need to mention any names, you've all been reading about it. I don't know what-all brought this frothing into the perfect storm of late, but it's a little bit like the McCarthyism that ran rampant in the 50s with people being accused of being communists and blacklisted. Someone's name is mentioned on a public forum and there are dozens of responses, trying and convicting one of these celebrities or power players, long before any real evidence has been presented. And all the while, I'm thinking, "how many of these armchair jurors have got dead bodies in their closets?" Let he who is without sin cast the first stone, indeed.
I'm no saint, but I've gotten better. There was a time, but that time is gone. Impetuous youth and the pressures of an earlier version of this crazy world drove me deep underground, so deep that even imagining myself as a full-time musician seemed like an impossible dream (though it didn't keep me from trying.)
My dad was kind of an asshole. He was abusive, verbally, physically, mentally. He knew how to mess you up in many, many different ways. He loved in his own strange way and our relationship got better with time, but I ended up with a good case of what he had. I used to be very angry. Ballistic angry. From childhood through my twenties, lotta seething, hissing, raging complexity going on. Always said that our 30s are God's gift to us if we survive our 20s and I stumbled into 31 like it was the Shake Shack at the end of those moving-stairs-lousy fun houses at the carnival. Somewhere in my 30s; some clarity. Thoughtfulness: how do I deal with the issue? Answer: if it cannot be changed, then you must.
Compared to how I was twenty years ago, I am like The Dude from "The Big Lebowski." It's taken a lot of work, but I can finally step back and see the progress. Anyone who knows me deeper than a casual level knows about my temper. That searing orange-hot iron of rage has been deeply imbedded in me since as long as I can remember, but I manage to keep it encased in protective ice most of the time. Since I can't change it, I've changed myself instead. It takes some reinventions of logic and reason from time to time and absolutely takes a physical effort on occasion. Most of the time, these days, when something maddening happens, I laugh it off and thank God for the test. I'm worthy of being tested, which means this all means something and it's not all for nothing, right? Isn't that what we hope for?
Especially since our particular grocery baskets full of issues that we cart around the supermarket of life all tend to have at least one wheel that goes wobble-wobble-wobble while we're trying to go straight?
Okay, so maybe I don't want to go straight - straight's not in the cards, how about a right turn?
the cart wobbles to the right
Okay - to the right, I can go with that.
I've widened the parameters and kinda lowered the bar and told that supposed late-onset OCD that my doctor predicted from the ADHD to fuck off and let me stack my CDs on the table crooked.
Relax. As Captain Kirk told Scotty in "The Trouble With Tribbles", "Scotty, force yourself to relax."
So, the laid-back, chilled-out, easy-like-Sunday-morning guy that you think, maybe, I am all the time is occasionally totally a fire-breathing crazyperson, just sayin'.
I just stay focused on the change that I want to be and go to the spiritual gym with it every day. The news that I see reaches me, I react to it, it brings up emotions and concerns and I feel somewhat spun sometimes, anymore. Sometimes it's "I don't want to live on this planet anymore" and others times, I just turn everything off, pick up an instrument and go somewhere else.
It runs, it works, I'll keep it.