In 2007 I hit the road with Indigo Girls. Thrilling to say the least as they are one of my all time favorite bands and I viewed this opportunity as a peak moment in my career. And besides, who doesn’t love swinging merch on the road? And the road with IG was sublime. Two of the most down to earth people you will ever meet. And it was a small crew, just 7 of us. One bus, one family.
One of our stops on that tour was in Las Vegas for the True Colors Tour. It was organized by Cyndi Lauper and benefited various orgs such as the Human Rights Campaign and PFLAG. On shows like that I didn’t actually sell the merchandise because the big arena people did it. All I had to do was deliver inventory and pick it up at the end of the night so it was a virtual day off for me. I hit the catering area close to lunch to get some writing done. It was a big show and the room was packed. I looked around and grabbed the last empty table. In that fleeting moment of surveying the room I thought of high school for all the obvious reasons. And then I felt relieved because this wasn’t it. So I sit down thinking I’ll hold the table for my crew as they were on the way. So I’m sitting and I’m eating and I’m writing….and I look up and I see Cyndi Lauper enter the room. Of course my heart jumped in a holy shit it’s Cyndi Lauper!! kind of way. She gets her food then I see her look around. Aaaah, all of the tables are full I think to myself. Then in what I can only describe as some sort of slow motion rock n roll fantasy I realize that Cyndi Lauper is walkkkking riiiiight towarrddd meeeee. Then whoooosh, there she is. “Is this seat taken?”, asked Cyndi Lauper. “No!”, I replied, closing my journal and hoping my inner dork didn’t just reveal itself. So, she sat down. We start talking and she’s totally friendly and nice and her accent was amazing and holy shit with the MTV again.
I must say I was holding my own and keeping my composure. At that point I had a lot of practice meeting famous people so I could at least keep my act together on the outside. I also have one eye on the door looking out for the IG crew because I couldn’t wait for them to walk in and learn who they too would be having lunch with. So a few moments go by and I’m in a groove, thinking “F yeah! I’m having lunch with Cyndi Lauper!” when it finally dawns on me who the woman was who accompanied Cyndi to the table. I had been talking with this woman for several minutes already but all of sudden it hit me. Holy Shit this woman is Margaret Cho!!!!! What!!!! I’m having lunch with Cyndi Lauper AND Margaret Cho? For the love of God, WHERE IS THE INDIGO CREW??!!! They finally walk in and I wave, like a big wave. They see me, assess the situation and I immediately think, “Ooh, we’re gonna have fun talking about this on the bus tonight!” They sit down and Cyndi in her glorious NY accent asks “Hi, who are you people?”. One of them responded that we were the Indigo Girls’ crew. Cyndi then said “Oh, Indigo Girls, I looooove them, where are they?”. At this point I’m expecting Captain Lou to break through the wall of the catering area and just make this dream complete. Lunch went on, we all had fun, Cyndi and Margaret get up and leave, me and my crew exalt in the joys of being on the road and eventually I reopened my journal and wrote it all down.
It seems so foreign to me; this current state of hate that we, the collective, are stuck in. Is it the blank face of the Internet? Is it the Bozo in Chief who has given permission to just, quite frankly, be an a-hole? I mean, c’mon, lots of people have thought lots of things forever, but now, “all of a sudden” it is actually acceptable to say it. That’s just twisted. People making rude jokes then hiding behind “get a sense of humor again” instead of just admitting that they are an insensitive jerk who has embraced the collapse of sanctity. It’s always so easy to blame it on someone else. Whatever it is. Point the finger all day long but God forbid you ever look in the mirror. It’s like a plague. Let’s call it The Asshole Plague. All of a sudden, it’s everywhere. THEY are everywhere. Personally I feel like it’s the last stand of the white man. They know it, we know it. So out comes the fear and the hatred and the false threats and the misinformation that isn’t even information at all. Just another ruse to tighten the grip on power. Because once the power is gone, it is all over for your trip. Your power trip. Lights out guy. Because Time’s Up.
I’ve been thinking a lot about life in America these days, as it seems to become more arduous by the day. What with the ridiculousness in DC, the absence of empathy that has morphed into a celebration of nastiness online, and the general grey overhang of worry that is in the air, I find myself daydreaming back to the 80s. In the moment, I didn’t really like the 80s, especially the early years, as I was mired in my teenage angst. However, given what I now know, I long for the 80s like nobody’s business. Something I thought I would never do. Oh, to be back in 1984 again! Listening to Duran Duran and driving around aimlessly with my friends in my Mom’s red Chevy Malibu Classic. Inexplicably the windows only went down half way (remember that phase?!) but who cares! I was young and I was free, even if I didn’t feel free at the time. I’m not sure if I have a case of rose tinted sentimentality but it just seemed different then. Better. More possible. More allowable. More cordial. Less mean. I have the feeling that the varnish of civility is wearing thin, eroding every day and soon it will be dull, inconsequential and forgotten.
Wow, it’s been a long, long time since I’ve written. I’ve tried. I’ve logged in, I’ve logged out. I’ve started. I’ve stopped. I have a lot of drafts. lol Close-knit comes to mind with today’s prompt. Which immediately makes me think of my friends in Atlanta. Oh, the Atlanta Tribe. So magical. And I know it was for real. Not just some sentimental figment of my imagination. It happened. It was REAL. Now many years have passed and some of us have scattered about, some of us have stayed in the magical land of Atlanta. A lot has changed. Population. Traffic. More buildings, less trees. But the nascent days of my blossoming stand steady in my mind. The warmth. The flowers. The spectacular Springs. The wacky people I met along the way. It is a truly esoteric essence, being Southern. As a Yankee, I found it delightful. The dripping Magnolias melting away my Northeast edge. Every day in Atlanta felt like a vacation. Bursting out of the house, my face raised toward the sun, exclaiming “Oh, Atlanta!” Those memories will never fade, even when I do. They will be in there and for that I am grateful.
Ah yes, rhyme. One of my stickler words that I can never spell. That and its cousin rhythym. See, I couldn’t even spell it right then. It’s rhythm. I had to look it up. I always have to look it up. I find it kind of amazing that I can’t get a handle on that word. I seem to get a handle on most other things going on but for some reason, rhythm is not one of them. I remember in the sixth grade we had monthly spelling bees. I took great pride in my spelling prowess so by the time February rolled around and I still hadn’t won I was practically offended. At who or what I’m not sure as no one could spell these words for me. In any event, I marched downstairs and announced to my Dad that I was going to win the spelling bee that day. So in to school I went, ready. And…I won! Really only because all of us remaining kids spelled “license” wrong. I had a second chance and I pulled it off. It was the first time I realized the art of mindfully visualizing what you want. You put that image in your head, you focus your energies on it, you literally put your mind to it and there is a very good chance you will make it happen. It has served me well over the years. And I’ve been able to properly spell license ever since.
Oh man magnetic. You mean like when you are so attracted to someone when you don’t even know why? Or that feeling of wanting to go somewhere that doesn’t make sense to you? I do believe that magnetism is closely related to chemistry. It’s all this stuff that we just can’t control. And when you can’t control, it makes you want to control even more. And when that doesn’t happen, the resistance goes up and then that in and of itself becomes a lot of work. So much work in fact that this situation is now occupying your brain when in fact you don’t want it to occupy your brain. But because the chemical magnet works whether you want it to or not, you kind of don’t have a choice, until you become strong enough to make the choice and muster all of the strength you have to break the spell and even then sometimes it’s not enough. Yeah, that’s where I’m at. Perhaps today’s Daily Prompt should have been Ironic. Magnetic
I attended a funeral the other day. I always find it an interesting homage to someone, the whole funeral ritual. What strikes me in particular is riding in the funeral procession. Everything stops. The traffic stops, people on the street stop, even sound seems to stop. As I look at the calm, I always think, what a tribute by total strangers. Everything stops to honor a life, hopefully well lived. Everyone stops to notice, yes, this person is no longer with us. It’s one of the few things left that society notices. Well, most of the time but it’s certainly not like it used to be. These days everyone is too busy marching around in their own little worlds, cell phone in tow, to give a damn about anything. I honestly don’t like where we are at these days and I find myself staying out of the fray more and more. That of course, is not the right thing to do, for the more you stay away, the harder it is to deal with. Without coping mechanisms, life is that much harder upon venturing out when you must. The man being honored was 91. I can’t help but think how different the world was for him than it is for me. Time moved slower, the right things were important and people cared. We should be paying homage to that era of humanity and let it resonate with us enough to get back to where we belong. Civility.
Substandard. Now there’s a word that I just recently used. To describe my performance. Or lack thereof. I have always held myself to a higher standard, because, hey, if you don’t, who will? I remember when I first moved to L.A. to work in Hollywood in 1990, I immediately noticed the difference between the West Coast kids and the East Coast kids like me. We simply outworked them. Our natural (nurtured?) East Coast hustle outpaced the laid back attitude of the California natives. Not that it had anything to do with substandard anything, it’s just a memory that popped in to my head. The details are as precise as a laser in my memory of the Hollywood years. I was fresh out of college and in retrospect, was so high strung about making my mark and being successful (there are those high standards again) that I remember just being stressed out all the time. In California. How ironic. I didn’t last long. I could go on and on as to why but at the end of the day, I just didn’t like it. Also ironic because as a kid all I did was dream of going to California like my cousins did. Then, I finally get there and…that. After the L.A. letdown, I had it in my head that Northern California was the place for me but the Bay Area was an impenetrable fortress of real estate hell, much like it is now. Instead I found my home in the American South, with its charm and its ease and its balminess. Now that was some magic. ATL in the Nineties. My words will never do it justice but my memories, they will serve me well. I will cherish them forever, until I can remember no more. Substandard
The word lust reminds me of Jimmy Carter. Yes, it’s true. Back when he was campaigning or maybe even President he admitted to lustful feelings in an interview. And Lord Almighty, the whole world just about fell apart. It was so scandalous. People were scandalized! Shocked, dismayed, the moral fabric of their being unraveling before their very eyes that a statesman, a leader, THE PRESIDENT would discuss such a sordid topic.
Flash forward to today. Most of us WISH that were the most lurid thing going on. We are so far afield of that 1970s Jimmy Carter moment it doesn’t even feel like the same lifetime to me. But it is. Somebody told me today that they felt like everything was upside down on the priority list. Respect, decorum and civility are racing to the bottom, while ignorant, abhorrent behavior is fighting for that championship belt. I often think of my grandmother when pondering this current state. I feel thankful that she did not live to see society’s downward spiral into shame or, more aptly, lack thereof. She was too gentle, too much of a lady to have to witness the unraveling of civilized behavior. Me, I’m used to it, having been down in it since the start. Not that I can pinpoint when that is. Although, I do maintain that Sept. 11th, 2001 ruined everything. We were coming off the swinging 90s with Slick Willie when all of a sudden came the darkest of moments. We have been at war since, and the world has gotten angrier and angrier. Something shifted that day. A chasm burst open and let loose humanity’s dark side. Hard to believe it’s been almost 16 years. Will we ever recover? Lust
What a pest this pesky day job thing is. I use the term day job loosely because I am still my own boss, successfully having a summer full of hustle to further my goal of never working for The Man again. However, every once in a while you run into a gig so intense, so consuming that it upsets your cosy little apple cart and you end up not writing at ALL for well over a month! I didn’t mean for it to happen, it just happened. So the dust has settled, I’ve gotten some damn sleep and I am back in the driver’s (writing) seat again. I also use the term summer loosely because I am actually wearing a hoodie. In July. If this is any indication of the coming winter, I would rather not discuss it. Although the good, no great news is that I no longer have to get up, out and into it anymore. The Man will just have to get by without me. God knows I’m getting by without him. Pest