Monday, July 7, 2008

Stay-cation

A friend of mine was just describing a vacation she was about to take, in all of its glories, and it was like she was talking in Aramaic to me. I knew, in theory, what a vacation was, but I couldn't actually remember what it was like. I tried thinking of the last time I spent any period of time longer than 24 hours doing nothing that I was supposed to be doing. The best I could come up with was the summer of '99, when I first moved to San Diego with some friends and we lived off our savings for the first month and didn't have jobs. (That was ridiculous. We'd stay up all night, wake up around noon and go to the beach and fall asleep for another three hours. I'm talking living.)

I realize that I am in serious need of decompression. I know that I have had brief periods of unemployment, but anybody who's been there knows that that is not relaxing. Too much is hanging over your head to even enjoy any of that free time. I think it's fair to say that you need to be employed in order to take a vacation. That the ability to let go that way can only happen within the context of feeling that your life is stable for the moment. It's sick, but true.

This past weekend though, I was able to crack the can on my compression. If I was a can of pop - and I'm nothing if not full of sugar - it's like I pulled the tab on myself and cracked open a bit just enough to release some air. Not quite open all the way - I need a week in Jamaica with a full-time masseuse for that - but a start. With Friday off for the holiday, Kirsten and I had a full two days of nothing to do, nowhere to be. I mean, there were probably things we could have been doing that would have been fun, like going to the movies, or going to see all the great bands playing CityFest. And there was most definitely a laundry list of things we should have been doing, like cleaning the house, or going to the bank, or getting groceries... but we did none of them. The closest we came to addressing our responsibilities was a conversation we had on Friday night as we were brushing our teeth before bed (around 4 a.m.), half sauced from the river of Vodka sodas we drank.

The conversation sounded like this, but filtered through the foamy sound of teeth scrubbing:

Me:...I guess I could have taken a shower today.... but I didn't.
Kirsten: Ha.
Me: I guess I could have fixed the toilet today, too.... didn't do that either.
Kirsten: Ha.
Me: I guess I could have put gas in my car, which is on empty... didn't do that also.
Kirsten: Ha.
Me: I guess I could have...

And on an on. There were like 40 things.

Now don't get me wrong. It's not like we actually did nothing, strictly speaking. I don't think I'm capable of that at this point in my life and while being at home. What I mean was, we only did what we wanted to do rather than what we "should have" been doing. And that made all the difference in the world. In Kirsten's case, this involved watching close to three seasons of Weeds straight, while knitting furiously. In my case, it meant hiding out in the dank basement drinking cold drinks and mixing my record. I got back to a place that I haven't been in years. That place where I am oily and smelly and probably hungry and need to use the bathroom, but I'm completely locked in to the music. When I decided to quit being in bands and take a break from making music, I forgot what it was that was so great about doing it in the first place: it takes me out of my head. I'm not saying I go into a trance, but I kind of do. I've never made any money off music, and the love of it has probably caused me to do a lot of stupid things. But when it's right, like it was all weekend, every cell in my body vibrates with happiness. That's some real hippy shit right there, I know. But so true.

There was this funny moment Saturday afternoon. I was in the zone, editing drums or something, ignoring my growling stomach and pinched bladder, when I heard a knock at the door upstairs. It was two sweet Jehova's Witness ladies. Normally, I never miss a chance to engage door-to-door Christians and try to talk them into coming to their senses. I feel it's my heavenly calling. But on this day I just invited them in to get out of the sun and let them practice their routine on me before giving them the real good news: two ice cold cans of LaCroix. LaCroix is this amazing carbonated lemon water that Kirsten turned me onto. It has zero calories, just pure refreshing goodness. We mix it with Vodka and call it LaCrunk. "It's made right here in Michigan!" I told them as I handed them two cold ones. Then I said that, even with the best intentions, Belief is what's dividing the world and that they should consider cutting that witnessing stuff out, and sent them on their way.

Sunday, Claire joined the stay-cation. I mean, her whole life is a vacation, so when she showed up and looked into our eyes and saw that we were under the same spell as her she was like "Word!" and got down to the business of summertime enjoyment. For her this involved lots of cat time, a few laps in the kiddie pool, going to see WALL-E (amazing!!!) and burning through about four boxes of sparklers with the neighbor kids. Yeah, her life sucks.

I'm reminded of the time that my roommate Tim stumbled out from his room early one morning to get ready for work. He was half awake, bleary with fatigue, and shuffling forward like a bear emerging from hibernation. I heard him mumble to himself: "mmmgggttttbecome independently wealthy." Damn straight, Tim. Damn straight.

1 comment:

Marie Lasferatu said...

Independent wealth is a dream of mine as well. Three Seasons straight of Weeds is how it's done! AND Wall-E is wonderful!