I have ambition, but it has been crippled by a lack of common sense. After turning down a stable, lucrative position as videographer for the Kirov Academy of Ballet, I asked my oldest friend Shori if he would travel to Maine with me for few reasons other than to shake things up.
He picked me up at a house in Philly that I didn't want to leave from, but damn am I glad he got me out of there. We drove through the night and the morning, arriving at Orien's house in Cold Spring, NY. We couldn't drive anymore. Before we entered his home, we had an unusually satisfying breakfast at a deli/diner on the side of the road in the Hudson Valley. We felt strangely rejuvenated. We slept on Orien's living room floor. His mother woke us up and called us strange bears. She made us coffee and breakfast, and then Shori and I explored Cold Spring with Orien and Chen. Later, Chen took us to a studio he was using that belonged to a family friend and showed us a song he was working on. The whole experience being in a new place was exhilarating, and our exhaustion was gone. We stayed up late into the night playing music together and catching up. We were soon joined by Aaron and Kolson, which gave us another second wind.
After finally passing out, we hit the road again. The Hudson valley was blazing with light as we drove through the early morning at the onset of winter. As the environment we traveled through became colder and darker and less populated, a growing sense of dread welled inside my heart and did not leave for the rest of the day.
We finally found my parent's house, a summer-in-winter home by a frozen lake that they couldn't afford. We stayed for two days and then reached our final destination; an old office building (shack?) with no heat, save for a kerosene blast-furnace-thing in one room. We bought a nightstand lamp in the shape of Goofy that made demonic clicking sounds when turned on. It was strange.
At this point, I was still possessed of that sheltered brand of morality that cultlings find hard to shake off. I refused alcohol during the stay in our frozen home, much to Shori's chagrin and my future dismay. We hated each other after a month together. We were planning three.
We were running out of money and therefore we were running out of rice pilaf and fucking guava nectar, so we tried to find work anywhere, even though it was short notice and would be short-lived. We applied at coffee shops, gas stations, strip malls, restaurants, record stores, the Milk Room, and finally gave ourselves up to the good, sober-for-two-and-a-half-weeks folks at Labor Ready in a little cumrag of a town called Biddeford.
We woke up at 5 AM for a week straight and went to Labor Ready and wrestled with the concept of buying a cup of coffee and waited for hours for the possibility of manual labor being thrown our way for a good 50 bucks. It never happened. We met strange and interesting and terrible people, but we never got work.
My friends bought me a guitar amp for my birthday. Shori and Ranin and I played a show in Boston at Christmas.
Shori and I fought. I perceived him as an apathetic, self-centered sot with unfair standards. He perceived me (as far as I know) to be an over-sharing, overemotional contrarian with a hyper-evolved propensity to exaggerate, if not blatantly lie, about the most meaningless of things.
We struggled with each other and got over it, repeat repeat repeat. We finally moved out of the neglected office building and into my parent's house for a week or two.
During this time, I would see Shori every day, but I would not see him. He would not see me. We were either so tired of each other or so tired in general that our friendship and our path through life together took the far back burner to everyday interactions. I can't remember who broke this unpalatable ice first, but we snapped out of it somewhat. And then Shori went back down south with my brother, and I was stuck in Maine for another two months.
That was a very miserable time. I was alone, my absurd cult-baby relationship was falling apart before it began, and I was broker than broke. I spoke with Omata and Orien about starting a dark NYC-rock band in New York. I eventually hitched a ride with a man I hated to Pleasantville, NY, got a job with KP's video production dungeon boys, and turned my back on the snowfucked wasteland of Maine.
My naiveté was absurd. The "band" suffered a bit of a hairline fracture when one third of us decided to join his parent's band instead of doing his own thing. Then the economy collapsed and I lost my job and my apartment.
But none of this really matters, not really. It's all a ride, one that I forgot was a ride and began to accept. I have gotten up at 6 AM almost every day for the last two years because I accepted defeat. I accepted the routine of a mediocre life. I accepted the "fact" that things between my blood brothers and wolf pack and friends and family could never be the same as they once were, that they could never be as good.
But that isn't true. Shori is there. He is not dead. Despite the distance between us and the time against us, we have paralleled each other in many ways; I feel more emotional, mental and lifelong solidarity with that motherfucker than anyone else in my life. Because of this, I can feel the most pain from him as well. Old habits die hard, and while we've both grown up and have shed some old ways and changed some negative things, we have trouble breaking away from our programmed reactions to what we are perceiving to be each other's bullshit. I still feel judged by him sometimes, and I still feel like he thinks half of what I say is false from the get-go.
And maybe he feels like he can't trust me to follow through with things I say I will do or want to do. Maybe he thinks I am a flake. Maybe he thinks I have forgotten the patterns.
But I haven't. And I know he hasn't. And I know that none of our friends have forgotten. Because life is a ride, and we can change it. Because nothing in the universe matters, and because of that, everything matters. We need to take our blinders off. Because life is a ride, and we can change it with one choice, right now, between fear and love. Bill Hicks fucking knew it, but he's dead.
Life is too short to not smoke cigarettes or to hold grudges or to not ask questions. Life is too short to not shed our skins.