The Last Few Days

I’ve been a little preoccupied the last few days. With work, with my mind, with other people. It’s been frustrating not writing, but it’s also been nice not to worry about it.

Thursday night I went out on a date. Part of me was worried she wouldn’t show up because part of me always thinks that. I’ve been stood up before. A lot. It always kind of baffled me because I never thought my personality was so bad that someone would pass up a free meal, but whatever. I started carrying a book with me, just in case. I’d still eat. I mean, by that point I was hungry so hell, I might as well buckle down and have a good dinner and a good read.

But this girl didn’t stand me up. It was our second date, the first being a dinner on my birthday. The second was even better. We had a good dinner. Followed it up with a local film festival that was delightful not only because the films were good but because the crowd was so interactive, knowing or being someone that was involved with the short films.

Following that, we hopped across the street for drinks and karaoke. I didn’t sing. She did. I’m absolutely addicted to her voice. I could listen to an album.

We went back to my place afterwards. I had chickened out on my birthday, but I took a gamble here and kissed her. It paid off. We went inside and watched whatever was on at 3AM in the morning which, and this shouldn’t be a surprise, consisted of divorce court and Nicolas Cage movies and I’m here to tell you that is totally fucking awesome.

We didn’t talk much, instead curling up with each other and losing ourselves in Academy Award-winning Nic formerly-Coppola’s riveting performance in National Treasure. And that was perfect.

It has been a long, long time since I’ve been on a date where I didn’t feel out of place or pressured to be a certain way. It was easy and it was fun. And regardless of where it goes from here, it was a night I needed after losing two friends and being stressed out at life. She makes me want to write and writing is my life.

She left around 4:30, I went to bed, woke up renewed enough to trudge through eight hours of work and then went out to see Crystal Method play at a local bar. I like electronica alright and it was solid, but I found myself out at the deck bar more often than not. And it was raining. In fact, it was pouring and I was drenched and I kind of loved it.

I’ve talked about my love for rain before, but this was a different. Very little is similar between hearing the chatter of rain drops on rooftops and being in the middle of a downpour. I felt cleansed. Lightning flashed and thunder roared, rare occasions for Alaska. As people staggered around me and even as I slipped into a more inebriated state, I was fascinated by the sheer naturalness of the weather. It felt amazing. I think I’m going to get pneumonia, though.

Cut to yesterday and I’m at work again. A customer at the table next to me sagged in his chair and then collapsed onto the floor. My co-worker and I both tried to catch him but were too late. He hit hard and seized a little. Coincidentally, one of the other customers in the store happened to be an EMT and he took care of the man until the emergency services arrived. He was responsive and coherent as he left and I hope he makes a full recovery.

The entire thing left me shaken and I resolved to get a beer after work. Just so happened the Spin Doctors were in town to play a free (to the public) show down by the railroad station just a couple blocks away. I got off in time to catch the last hour or so of the set.

I stood on top of a hill under a grey sky, plastic cup full of beer gripped tightly in my hand, looking over hundreds of people of all ages. They were dancing and drinking, fighting and kissing, sitting and staggering. I saw dozens who stood in one spot, eyes closed and bobbing their head to the music. I had arrived wondering how many people showed up hoping that they would hear Two Princes because that was the only song they could sing along to. I left realizing that it didn’t matter. Music – like paintings or sculptures or prose – is art and people take in art to escape from the world for a bit. Fans are nice. They’re the bread-givers to artists. But here it didn’t matter if these people had bought every album or just needed to unwind; the Spin Doctors had showed up to give their gift and these people received it by having a goddamn good time.

I don’t know that there’s a point to this entry. It feels like I’m writing into my diary, hoping that the other end of it isn’t Voldemort. I do know that I have spent the last month mourning and sulking a bit and doubting and the last few days have kind of put things into some perspective.

I forgot how nice it is to be liked and to hold someone in your arms. I was reminded how fleeting life is and how suddenly something can happen. I found myself in positions where I appreciated the smaller things in life, be it music or rain, and made a promise to try and do so more often.

Our planet is not the biggest, but that doesn’t mean it’s small. There is so much that happens on every level. Chemical reactions, volcano eruptions, animal friendships. We create incredible things to be shared. We have relationships.

All the same, we are mortal. We spend so much time worrying about what we’re doing or how we’re going to make something work or pining over someone or something and we aren’t literally taking the time to smell that gorgeous bouquet of flowers. To smile at someone who looks blue. To pet the sweet dog that ran up to you at the park. To say hi to the girl or boy with their nose in a book.

I spent the last few days celebrating and appreciating life in a way I haven’t in a while and I liked it quite a bit.

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