I’ve been thinking about downtime. Which isn’t a bad way to spend some of my downtime. I read once that wasted time isn’t wasted it if you enjoyed wasting it. Killing time is maybe bad, wasting time isn’t wasted, downtime will help you stay up when the time comes.
I leaned against a 7 Eleven for about 3 minutes today waiting for Heather and Kristen. If I hadn’t left my phone in the car I’d probably have texted someone, entered a thought, taken a picture… if we weren’t on the last day of our data cycle with about 200mb left I might’ve checked Facebook, Instagram, the news…. I’d have found some way for that moment to be occupied. But pleasantly, I just leaned against the wall and felt the sun on my face and listened to the traffic and my body for a moment.
High strung mariachi accordion shredding from one car, a bad muffler on another. No-one talking. The clank of gas pumps and the growl of engines. My own high strung heart pushing blood through my own high strung body as I think about the drive ahead of us. New York City this evening – an up and back which may be slightly ill-conceived but no other gigs came together for the weekend and though we’ve got the offer to stay up in Brooklyn tonight, we’ve been away from home a fair amount and I’d like to just come back and sleep in my own bed. It’s a lot of driving – seven hours if traffic treats us well – it’s a lot of tolls to take direct and doing the drive all in one day means we won’t be circumventing ANY of the tolls (including two over-ten-dollar bridges!) – and maybe I’m making a mistake not making the decision to spend the night and hang with our hosts for the night… maybe I’m sacrificing the chance to be a better member of a community…
But tomorrow we’d come home in heavy rain. Tomorrow is tomorrow. I miss home.
This week was an interesting one. Running around Virginia and playing these songwriter showcases – a lot different from most of the things I’ve been playing recently – even though I’ve been playing a LOT of these songwriter showcases the majority of them have been things I myself have been running. The difference betwixt that and being a relaxed member of the group versus the leader of it isn’t something that can be overstated. For as much as being in charge takes a slew of things off of my mind (how’s the sound going to be? Are things going to be running on time? Do I know where to park? What IS the food like?), relaxing in to the downtime of NOT being in charge and realizing that the sound’s not going to sound like I’M running it, but it’ll be okay – things will run at their own pace and that’s alright – we’ll figure out the parking thing because parking things are meant to be easy to figure out – and the food’s going to be awesome because my friends wouldn’t be booking places with crappy food… It was okay, they did, we did and it was. And I had some downtime.
Sitting at various tables in poorly-lit bars, listening to other players lay out what they’re laying out. Some are heartfelt, some are mathematically laid out, some are struggling and some are effortless. Some are political and others are politically tone deaf. I get to be aware of it and take responsibility for none of it, because at this moment this is not my circus.
Dan Magnolia continues to be one of the most genuinely supportive, enthusiastic and grateful people I’ve ever met. I’d happily bask in his aura if that were a thing. Restorative and eager, we chat about music, we chat about Star Trek, we chat about Host Shit – sound and venues and difficult open mic goers. I appreciate being able to hang out and have a conversation without simultaneously wrapping cables. I’m grateful to chat with another player without feeling they’ve got an ulterior motive because we’re not on MY turf.
Ron Goad – another fantastic host. Not an open mic tonight but a showcase. Again, support and humour, attention. Where Dan runs an open mic something like a classroom or maybe a really good support group, Ron runs his like a late night show. Charming and funny, friendly and loose with an ability to jump up on the drumkit and jam with anyone. I didn’t try him out behind my songs but was invited up to play with others and had a great time.
Playing lead for Sol Roots was terrifying but enlightening. I need to play with others more often. That’s SORT of like downtime.
A good week capped – and now we’re off to New York. You don’t have to say “City” when you’re talking about the “City”, or so I hear – Brooklyn is two hours away yet, people are playing damn fool games on the highway. My allergies are beginning to kick into high gear as genuine summer explodes into being around us. Back home it’s 80 something degrees and the air is already thickening. I’m pretending that New York will have a touch of spring still in the air.