When I say that June 6, 2009 was one of the most important days in my life, I don't mean it lightly. I normally write for this blog as though it was a collection of essays regarding random thoughts and ramblings about my perspectives and philosophy on life. I rarely tell stories or anecdotes about my actual life, and I usually don't mention names. I suppose this fact is telling, which is what I came to learn on this very special day. I am now going to break some of those rules.
It actually began at 4PM on Friday, the night before. I woke up when my friend Ben came over, as planned, and my roommate, Brad, he and I went to Bumsted's for some dinner and some drinks. We drove on over to the swap meet (the last remnants of pure capitalism left in this world) and spent what little time we could there before I had to go to work at 8. And after working an 8 hour shift, I went home and watched a movie and waited for my roommate to wake up. We normally chat for a good hour or more about any dreams he and I may or may not have had, and about random conspiracies and sometimes groceries and bills, too.
We ordered a pizza and watched a movie, and then, something magical happened.
I picked up his guitar and began playing a few chords. I had only gotten my first real lesson just two days prior, and having a good idea of the basics, began putting chords together into a progression. I played with it for a little while longer until Brad became so enamored with what I had been playing, that he tried something. He began playing the chords I had chosen, but with extra notes, picking strings here and there, and adding nuances. He created an actual song. Then he began to sing words as well, writing the lyrics freestyle. We had effectively written a song together.
At this point, I was all jazzed up and ready to keep going. My fingers were crying out in pain because they weren't used to playing, but I didn't care. I was in good spirits. It was then that my friend Hallie called me. It was her birthday, and taking me up on my offer to hang out when she was free, she came over for a little while.
She played some music, too. She only knew one song that an old friend wrote, but she played it well, and Brad enjoyed jamming along with it. I was seeing music-making in a whole new light, and one that I oddly enough thought I had already seen before. It felt like I had discovered some new never-before seen color.
I had hardly realized by five o'clock that I had been up for more than 24 hours, but I oddly didn't feel that tired. I felt something on the verge of tire, but not quite there yet. And that is why, when Hallie told us her very peculiar idea for the night ahead, I leapt at it.
Hallie had a plan for the evening, and it was something resembling a mission. Only, like a mirage, the closer you get to it, the less clear it seems. It involved purification of some sort, I thought, and although I don't quite recall how she explained it or how I failed to understand it, I was attracted to the oddity of it. So she left to have dinner with her folks and we waited. We had some time to play a little more music, and I realized just how much more work would go into our little song than I had originally thought, and then got ready.
By 9, she hadn't called and I was beginning to wonder if she would. This planted the seed in my head that perhaps I should heed my body's growing call of sleep and pass this opportunity by. I began to think of every Saturday I've spent for the last few weeks. It being my day off and all, I usually return home upon finishing my Friday shift and sleep some 16 hours away, and before I know it, my whole day off is gone before it happened. I thought of what wouldn't have been possible if I had slept in today, and so I decided I wasn't about to stop while I was ahead. I called her myself. Twenty minutes later, we were taking our startup shots of Cognac at her place.
The first destination was Che's Lounge on Fourth. She explained along the way that there were a series of bars and clubs which, for one reason or another, she was going to enter for the last time. Che's ended up being a sort of footnote on the journey, though. But when we got to Hotel Congress, it all changed.
Now I'm not huge on the nightclub scene, but this part of the night was just fucking fun. And the old me would not have been down for it, I'll tell you that much. When we got our drinks and they decided to go dancing, I found a spot off to the side like I always do, just chillin' and sippin' my fruity-ass little cocktail. But she wasn't having it! It wasn't two minutes before she came and grabbed me and pulled me onto the dance floor.
Maybe it was the booze, or maybe it was her, or maybe it was the music, or maybe it was any one of a million reasons why the universe told me to go with the flow that night, but something inside me crept up and said "fuck it!" And that was it. And with her patience and knack for the art of dance, two hours and three cocktails later I was movin' and groovin' and I didn’t care how bad it looked. It might have been a most unholy emission to witness, but by god it was fun as hell.
As we were cooling off outside, we had a most hilarious conversation. I don't really remember what it was about, and it's probably because it was a mix of free expression and complete and utter nonsense. Because, there is one element of the evening which I have forgotten to mention and it ended up becoming a sort of theme for the night.
Back when the sun was still up that day, I introduced to Hallie the ridiculous philosophy known as Pataphysics. To try and explain it, you might as well explain nothing at all. It is the unexplainable, the unthinkable. It is literally nonsense, and its essence is the flatulence of Ubu.
And it was the gasses of Ubu that was on our minds as we began our trek thereafter to find two gallons of water to pour over her troubled head at the night's end. The night took on an extra level of meaning and importance when, after a long cathartic monologue, we baptized her in the name of Ubu.
But more than Ubu, I was inspired by this act of purging emotional baggage that I began to assess my own life in the same way. I also began to reflect on the events of the day and how they highlight my growth as a person, and artist, and as a friend.
I won't go into all of that here, but suffice it to say I learned quite a deal. I often hold myself back by self-doubt and feelings of inadequacy, but now I'm pleased to say they just aren't warranted. I've proven myself capable as an artist before, and the fact that I show promise as a musician after only seriously working at it for a matter of days says something. I'm not just the passerby, the critic, who watches all of those around him continuing on to greatness and excelling in seemingly everything they put their mind to while I sit in the backseat the whole time.
My most cherished philosophy, that of humanity's ability to rise to its potential, I've seen reflected poorly in my own life up until now. I've struggled to make this the cornerstone of my life, and while I've usually felt like I was failing in this regard, I'm ready to be tested. When I embark on my last year at college and attempt to make my thesis film the best it can be, I will prove what I'm truly capable of.
If nothing else, I sure as shit won't sleep through it.