So, there I was. Sitting in my old college theater, watching a show I was cast in myself some six or so years ago. Kinda soon to redo a show, I thought at first. But then, as it goes with undergrad, anyone who was even in that show has been graduated for at least a few years.
It’s a show within a show and I, oh so many years ago, played the narrator. And to abandon modesty I will say- I fucking killed it. A fun and silly play on old musicals with the whole premise just being the imagination of the older and pleasantly eccentric host coming to life as he plays the record from the show. Yes, I said record. It was one of the great joys of my young adult life. Which says a lot, as I hold heavy disdain for musical theater. ‘Twas one of my two favorite roles, the other being that of a Russian ax murderer who goes mad divulging into the morality of what he has done.
So I sat watching, remembering, occasionally getting goosebumps and all that. Thinking of the life I was living at the time. Twenty years old and cluelessly optimistic. In ways, those days held more wisdom than some later ones. In others, I have never been a greater fool. And as goes when remembering correctly, it was not all sunshine and roses. I recall tears. And not my own, but of my making. The sort of thing an ignorant man would try and forget. But for your narrator, the regret, heartbreak and sadness all blend with the glory as I watch a whole new generation perform. All while these struggles are happening unique to them. As they sing and tap dance.
Certainly a moment for reflection, though so could any moment be, if you so choose.
I even met some of the cast afterwards, at the horribly crowded and overpriced, yet sadly, only bar in the neighborhood. They hated the place, as I did when I was there. Options are limited. More so now. These poor bastards don’t even have house parties. I mean, how the hell else are you supposed to fall in love in college?
Regardless. They did a wonderful job and deserve to celebrate and cheer and even shed some tears. And I, left the bar. To go be alone, as I oft do when emotion strikes. As I did in those days and am likely to keep doing. Besides, Saturday night only exists to give me something to write about on Sunday morning.
And upon looking at the calendar, I was prompted to open the window in my personal dungeon. That way, the air could come in and snap my senses to a crisp attention. Birds going on and on over the quiet, occasional hum of a passing car. And that air, still holding to a bit of cold. Just enough to wake the wonder, maybe stoke the embers of a few long off memories, and inciting the appetite of what may come. Something about impending spring time, got me then and gets me now. As I’ve said countless times before.
Quite a day ahead of me. With inspiration served well by last night, I shall go help out a charity with a vanity contribution. Strange sort of thing to say, but it does both boost my ego and help the event. Something I should have prepared more for, but I have been saying that all my life. Besides, preparation is often pointless. The universe cares not for your plans. It likes to see you jump and dance and go through hoops. And don’t kid yourself, you like to do that too. Accidentally is one of the best ways for new things to enter one’s life. Certainly, among the most memorable.
You see, I don’t act anymore. Though it breaks my heart, it be true. However, I am still an attention addict, but not in the general way. The boring way. It is a strange thing, to crave a specific attention whilst also greatly desiring loneliness. So since I no longer act, the weight of fulfillment has fallen on another vice.
Now, were I playing with my band, I would have no worries at all. I would likely just have a drink or seven to loosen up, then play for hours upon hours if need be. No worries about how I look or sound. Because it would not be I. It would be we.
That is not what is happening today. For today, I go naked. Yes, that’s right. Just myself and my guitars, for at least a few hours. Playing old songs that I have not touched since the last (band) breakup, new songs that have not been played this style and a good few covers to which at least a few will have their words forgotten. I’ll do my darnedest, but the universe and such. So it goes.
Why? A friend and coworker runs this great charity every year. Bikers, it turns out, are very generous and caring people. Not the skin-tight suit and water bottle wielding kind. The tattoos, scars and leather vest type. Very good people. And this cat does a warm-up sort of party before the big event. He asked if the band could play. As a group, we could not. So I, without thinking, offered my solo services.
But for all the nervousness I feign, I know it will be fine. I have, though not in a while, performed solo before. And thanks to the circumstances that have found me today, I’m feeling particularly confident. Plus, after a decade and a half of playing nearly every day, I can say without waiver that I know my way around a fretboard.
So we shall see how that goes. Come by, if you’ve got nothing else to do.
Let’s wrap this up.
But how, you ask?
Well… I was hoping you might know.
So after the show last night, myself and a dear friend stood with glasses full of beer, pondering where life had been, where it is, where it might be going. His sister was in the show, hence why I went. I was invited. I don’t jive on the creepy late-20’s guy hanging around his old school looking to re-live the cool. Like high school, though nowhere near as bad, there are folks who look at college as the best years of their life and live a shit existence therefore after.
But my friend and I looked about this watering hole as it filled with beasts and discussed life. An age ago, I was some sort of mentor to him. I suppose he may see that in me still, but we are equals. Always have been. He was just younger. But he says he’s in a bit of a slump, as goes with life. I can only consider myself recently out of such a predicament, and what a trip it was to get here. He wonders where his life is going and has a more active desire for bigger change. While I, though certainly not stagnant, have ambitions in mind both near and far. And circumstances have settled where my every day never seems like an every day.
I gave the advice I could give. And though it was not ignored, it is only as good as one accepts. He even said so himself. One cannot make a change unless one wants to. And works at it. Not that he isn’t, but he knows for the changes he wants, he needs to do more. And it was admirable of him to say so.
A person whom you used to mentor becomes a peer. And one time of slump is another’s time of smooth stride. And the ensemble girls all look beautiful and interesting, but I’ll never know. Most likely. For time passes by some things. While others never go away.
And that, is just the way she goes.