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              It was a blustery weekend in Muskrat Flats. The wind was conducting a symphony as the poplars bordering the vineyard...

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Please don't be surprised when you find me dreaming too...

In case you haven't noticed by the title of my little online oasis, Running Hard out of Muskrat Flats, I am into Phil Lesh. Phil is the bass player for the Grateful Dead. Some may argue he was the bass player, since the band doesn't exist anymore. Phil "is" because he is still playing the music. And the music is just as vibrant and alive, some times more so, as it was when Jerry was still with us.

It was raining the other day. I was feeling blue. I don't want to say depressed, because in my mind, depression is a chronic ongoing ordeal which can only be dealt a crippling blow with a good unhealthy dose of self-medication. Funny thing is, since I cut out the insanity in my life and began to apply certain spiritual principles in my daily living, I have noticed that I am NOT depressed and haven't been for some time. Even during this darkest time of year, winter.

As the rain pounded on the roof of my vehicle, the song "Box of Rain" began to play on the stereo. This song has always had an emotional impact on me. Perhaps it is because of the reason the song was written in the first place. Phil Wrote if for his father who was dying of cancer while the album American Beauty was being recorded. Phil would sing the song to himself as he was driving to the hospital for a visit. This led to me remembering, the next day, a very dear friend was about experience the one year anniversary of his mother's passing to similar circumstances. I began to think about my parents and how moved they were when they saw Phil sing Box of Rain at the Dead show we attended together at the Boston Garden in the early 90s.

I flashed to the scene from Freaks and Geeks where Linda Cardellini's character repeatedly cued up the song Box of Rain on her record player as she joyously whirled around her room dancing to the music. I began to think of the joy my wife and I shared listening to amazing beautiful music at countless Dead shows and how I erroneously held onto the notion that the bond between us would never be broken, as we began to grow apart. Gladly the common bond between us is continued as a deep friendship involving a bright, beautiful 10 year old girl, who is enamored with both of us unconditionally, despite our faults.

So, on that rainy afternoon as I was driving to pick up my kid, I was primed for an emotional event. They say, in recovery, part of the process is to walk through the hard times without picking up, even though you will catch some pain. The pain is a necessary ingredient in healing the soul.

I picked up my daughter and she began to go down the list of the days events. She was talking about a friend of hers who seemed to have some type of elaborate and expensive toy, of which I couldn't quite grasp the concept. She was excited and her thoughts were jumping around. Then she offered the information, "Her father is a contractor, she can afford it. By the way, her father is building Mommy's house."

"What, mommy is building a house?"

"Yeah, it is gonna be on the mountain, and it's gonna have a master bedroom, and guess what...?"

Not waiting for a guess she said, "It is going to have a billiards (yes she said billiards) table that works on pounds." A coin-op British billiards table in a game room. My ex's fiancee is from the UK. In fact he still resides there. He wasn't the reason we split, but he sure as shit didn't help the situation in our struggling relationship.

As my wife decided to pursue her romantic Cinderella fantasy with the mysterious lover across the pond, I let my addictive tendencies progress to the point where I was stripped of every positive personality trait I had ever possessed. I blame no one but myself.

As my daughter kept describing this house, I became progressively angrier and angrier. I kept it to myself. Jealousy. Rage, What was so bad about our relationship that it had come to the ends that it did? All of these old emotions were coming back to the surface. It was a very unhealthy situation. And being a good addict, It made me want to use. As soon as that feeling rose to the surface, I once again surrendered. My daughter was still chattering away oblivious to what was going on in my head. She didn't see the invisible monkey that hopped from the back seat onto my shoulder whispering in my ear.

"Come on, Pablo! Just one bag won't hurt, you can get away with it. I'll help you find Sharon - you know she wants to fuck you. Things aren't working out with her boyfriend, Pete, these days, she wants you. She NEEDS YOU."


I was in a foul mood. As we arrived at my Mom's house, she picked up on my angst right away, I told her I couldn't talk about it and she respected my wishes. She didn't pry into what could have become an ugly situation.

I sat down and watched TV with my kid. Dirty Jobs was on. I began to use some of the tools in my box to get through the anger and resentment. I prayed. I identified that my anger was justified. Then I realized that this house that my ex is building is just another example if more insanity in her life. I'm not taking her inventory, we simply have different priorities. She has been always been about materialism, getting ahead and financial security, which are not bad traits, in general. But she has always taken the hard road which constantly causes her to live beyond her means financially. Frequent trips to England, buying a house at a higher interest rate because of a recent bankruptcy, constantly shuffling funds which are at her disposal. Our first house was old and tattered. I'm not a fixer-upper kind of guy. A situation which always bothered her. We forfeited that residence as our relationship began to sour and I closed a failing business. Then she bought another older house which didn't quite cut it for similar reasons, but she is building her credit back. She is a monthly subscriber to Experian, watching that credit score like a hawk. Now, she is going to build her dream house. I hope it works for her, but I suspect that once the house is completed, she will still feel the emptiness she has been working all of her life eradicate.

I began to pursue thoughts regarding my life and where I am today. Even though I am living check to check with a small financial cushion, I lead a very rich life. There are situations in my life I would not trade for anything. My daughter being first and foremost. She is a bright shining beacon in my life, and I am there and I am available. She knows what the score is. She comes to meetings with me and shares in my struggle to stay clean and grow in mind, spirit and body. I have a good job in a healthy environment which does pay my basic bills. I have my glass studio, which is going to sustain itself sooner than later as my skills and clientele grow. I value my association with the Drunk Stuntmen. I believe that theirs is some of the best music I have ever experienced. I will gladly continue to donate my time until their efforts come to fruition or they throw in the towel. It is kind of like working for a political candidate. If they win the election, I and others will benefit from their success. If nothing else, at least I can put on a resume that I did online publishing for a band's website.

I know it is cliche, but my life is one that IS second to none. And it continues gets richer. I did something last night that I thought I would never do again. I got High. Not high in the sense that I have to pick up a white key tag and start counting days, again. I played my music at an open mic. It was my first public performance. It went great. I got applause, I got some compliments from a musician whom I admire. That meant so much to me. I was floating. And it was all natural. Who would have thought? This is further proof that I don't need drugs and alcohol to calm myself down, to relieve stress, to wake up in the morning and to quiet my thoughts enough to allow me to sleep.

As I worked through my little situation regarding my ex and her new house. My daughter and I had a couple of good laughs. She is such a great kid. My ex showed up to pick her up and when she walked in the room she was white as a ghost. I asked her what was up? She went down the list of being stressed out regarding work, she has another trip to the UK next week and has all of this stuff to catch up on before she goes, one of the cats is dying and crapping all over the house, She's so stressed that her hair is falling out...etc."

I could only suggest that she try to reduce the insanity in her life. Hopefully, when her boy moves here, things will settle down for her, but my opinion remains that building a house is a material solution to a spiritual problem. I really hope she can work through this one. It is painful to watch her struggle. I still care for her deeply (I you are reading this, D, I really do mean it and please don't get upset)

Too bad she doesn't have time to just look out the window and watch the soothing rhythm of the falling rain. "A box of rain will ease the pain..."

I'm not looking over my shoulder as I am "Running Hard out of Muskrat Flats."


1 comment:

F. Alex Johnson said...

I wish I could have been there to see you play Pablo. When you called me directly afterwards I could tell from the tone in your voice how happy you were. I know so many people who may never understand how that feels. To put yourself out there, to perform, and wait for the applause. Because when it comes, it feels like an avalanche. And no, you don't have to look over your shoulder because it's staring you straight in the face. Bravo Paul. Bravo.