Comfort is Walking Boredom.

So much recently has been about the music that I have completely neglected a celebration of my current life. As one can surmise I am not only immersed in music, I am drowning in it. If it is possible for an auraphibian (one that can breathe both in a music conversation and one about everyday things) to drown…which we both know it is not. I can talk about things non-musical, it just rarely rears its social head.

This time last year I was deep in the heart of Texas slinging brews for a shady character in a heat that I can only describe as complete bullshit. For instance on my afternoon shift I would wait until the lunch rush was over before I allotted a pocket to go outside and enjoy a cigarette. I use the term ‘enjoy’ simply by habit, for in that heat little is enjoyable, save for escape into a dark basement. I would walk outside, right next to the window so as to see if any drink tickets spat out of the mechanical whip, and sucked on the flaming stick. The heat wouldn’t allow shade and what shade there was was useless; it was simply shade as in a different color – all of them mezzotints of torture. All of my shoes are black and this caused a problem: the sun made my feet so unbearably hot that I could never finish a cigarette.Socks, one of my favorite things in the world, became hot coals and this is only one of the reasons I will never forgive that climate.

Many times I posed the question, “Why would you place yourself in such a place that would take pleasure out of nearly everything? Especially the things you hold most dear?” Punishment for staying at a thankless, well-paying job in Chicago? Possibly, but unconsciously. I like to reward myself and rarely do I find an excuse to punish myself. My general disgust, though, could make things, anything, possible. Whatever the reason I was in hell, physically, emotionally, and spiritually, though I use that last term very loosely.

My pleasure was sitting indoors and drinking, something that came often and easy (I was a bartender, after all). Creative conversations were few and far between (not to say there were no good friends; there were and they were my life raft) and I ended up being in a worse place than before. To add insult to injury I was in a place that I had never been before in my life, geographically and personally.

None of this is new, I am aware. I just needed to tell the night that.

I was thinking about all this as I sit on the back porch of my apartment in Chicago. The ten (or so) months that I was in the Republic seemed a blur (read above…it really was) and Chicago, thankfully, welcomed me back with open arms so as to both hug and spank me (not in a sexual way, fucker). It was hard to get back on my feet It has been hard trying to get back on my feet and eventually I will be there. The struggle, however, is well worth it and the lessons I am learning daily have been both knuckle-whitening and welcome.

I now find myself in a job that I have always dreamed of, though the pay is not. But reflecting back on my prior unhappiness this should’ve been the obvious solution and not the drastic move across the country. Now I surround myself with like-minded individuals that have taught me more in the past seven months than all of my years of studying music on my own. My place of employment is a business that I have frequented since I was 19 (when I relocated back to Indiana for about five years a friend, Mad Jack, and I would regularly road trip to go there) and upon my first day I instantly felt at home. The mundane tasks of filing records, cataloging, and searching inquiries makes my work day a joy and well worth the hour-long commute I have (one way) (you see, I live in a secluded neighborhood on the west side and, as it turns out, it is not the best side).

The things I had missed most about this city, though, have all since disappeared. The Chicago I had in my head is drastically different than the Chicago I now live. That is both good and bad in that I love my new Chicago but want parts of the old one thrown in for flavor.

There were the oft meetings with Johnny at the Hopleaf where we talked and debated and drank fantastic beer. We both walked there. We both walked home. We both woke up with headaches. We both looked forward to these nights. While I lived far, far away Johnny and his girlfriend got pregnant. This was planned and celebrated and, upon my return, really celebrated. His subsequent marriage was also celebrated but needless to say aided in the changing of a lot of things. I say ‘aided’ because it was not the reason we don’t do this anymore. The factors are numerous (my new location, my lack of money, etc.) but everything can simply be chalked up to the movement of life. The chance occasion I have to see him is always a dream-state.

There was the attempted frequent drives down to Amber and William’s home in Indiana. In my old position I had money to spend on things like a rental car for the weekend. Because of that the entire Midwest (roughly the size of Texas) felt much smaller. When they lived in Chicago we were always (almost) within walking distance (next door at one point) so the nights of metal and fellowship were possibly taken for granted (by me). With her as my non-blood sister and him as my bro (enter bro jokes here, Brobocop) I always felt invincible. While her and I meet up for lunch downtown (she works in the long necks of the money hub) once or twice a month there is still quality time lacking. That being said, the ability to be able to simply meet up for lunch is wonderful in and of itself. The amount of information we can exchange in such a short period is breathtaking.

On the subject of being able to afford rental cars it is only natural for me to progress to camping and how much I miss it. To simply leave for the weekend to the wilderness on a whim is something that not many people have been able to enjoy. Some favorite spots were found and each left a lasting effect on both my mind and my being. The time that Emma, the bitch, chased a rock I had inadvertently kicked down a steep hill into a ravine will always be on my mind. Suddenly she had vanished and I had no clue as to whether or not she was dead or swept away by the currents of the river below. I sat motionless in the well lit woods on the deer path I had accidentally followed listening to the trees and waiting for them to tell me something, anything. I had resolved to find her body, if need be, and give her a proper burial, or maybe burn her on the fire, and give thanks when her dumb ass face came trotting up the hill, all smiles (like she had actually caught and devoured the rock) and I was instantly relieved. Then pissed. Then simply happy. Those nights around the fire without a single person within earshot…hell, within telephone call…were some of my best. It will happen someday. As I said I do not like to punish myself.

Now here I am. On the back porch, which looks like most back porches in Chicago…and which other people might call a ‘fire escape’…feeling the cool wind of the Chicago summer and watching the stars that I can’t see trail slowly by. The hum of the nearby interstate becomes gray, broken up only by the intermittent passing train, and the yelling in this neighborhood is both conversation and alarm. There are no stores to frequent here and no friends that live nearby. To go out at night is questionable, no matter your race (but being white is almost like a lighthouse beckoning trouble…a whitehouse). There may be tranny hookers ambling the alley behind but they are simply more entertaining, and less dangerous, than a drunk Cubs fan stumbling after a hometown loss (which, as you know, is often). These differences, though drastic in nature, are perfect remedies to the looming disappointments of before. Without money, choices are clear and with too much they are simple speed bumps that annoy until one day you find yourself dead.

Instead of worrying about important things (food/shelter/whatnot) I once wandered, satiated and fattened and sleepy, and expected everything to crumble. Comfort is walking boredom.

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