REVISITING, YEARS LATER
Hindsight may be 20/20, but it's also drunk.
I have always had more ambition that I've known what to do with, but for a long time it was crippled by a dire lack of common sense. After turning down a stable and somewhat 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 Longo'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 my exhaustion was completely 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 went on 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. I don't know why.
We finally found my parent's house, a summer-in-winter home by a frozen lake they couldn't afford. We stayed for two days and then reached our final destination; an old office building (shack?) with no heat save a kerosene blast furnace thing in one room. We bought a nightstand lamp in the shape of Goofy that clicked like Satan when you pressed a useless button. It was strange.
I was obnoxiously and foolishly "moral" at this point. I refused to partake of any alcohol during the stay in our frozen home, much to Shori's chagrin and my future dismay. We hated each other after a month. 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 coffeeshops, 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 shitfuckhole 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 an amp for my birthday. Shori and Ranin and I played a show in Boston at christmas.
Shori and I fought. I perceived him as being 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 ad nauseum. We finally moved out of the 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 left with my brother, and I was at home for another two months.
I have never in my life been more miserable than I was for those two months. I was alone, my semi-quasi-pseudo-sexy relationshit was falling apart before it began and I was broker than broke. I began talking to Omata and Orien about starting a dark NYC-rock band like interpol and moving to NY. I ended up hitching a ride with a man I hate to Pleasantville, NY, getting a job with KP's video production dungeon boys and turning my back on the snowfucked wasteland that is 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 excellent 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 it's horse shit. Shori is there. He is not dead. Despite the distance between us and the time against us, we have paralleled each other in so many ways and 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 have grown up in many ways 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 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 a jot, 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.