Currently Listening To: Tom Waits, "Blood Money." I love it. I have his other new album "Alice" sitting on my desk, but haven't yet ripped it.
Currently Reading: "Stupid White Men," Michael Moore. I'm going to have to give the book another thorough reading before rendering an opinion, but it's certainly not dull. Or is it? I don't know. I think I can only listen to so much righteous indignation before my eardrums get hollered into mush.
Currently Pondering: Why is it that if I went to a bar and sat there with an open, friendly expression, looking very much as if I wanted to strike up a conversation with someone, people would run away screaming from me as if I had an open jar of Ebola on my head? And yet if I go there to wait for Bill and know it's going to be a long wait so I bring along a book and listen to iPod while I'm waiting, suddenly people get all friendly?
I was sitting close to the stage at Iota several hours in advance of the Mark Eitzel show last Thursday night. I was engrossed in "Stupid White Men" and "Blood Money" to the point where it took me a few seconds to notice that the opening act guy, who I guess had been tuning his guitar and doing a sound check, had wandered over to where I was sitting and was staring right down at me. And talking to me.
I literally can't remember the last time any musician or performer struck up a conversation with me. I'd watched Mark Eitzel do his sound check a little while before that, and he barely glanced in my direction.
I don't get it.
Change, Staying the Same.
Yes, it's been a while. I'd love to offer a hair-raising excuse full of toil and trouble as to why I've been incommunicado, but honestly I don't really have one. (If high turmoil is your kind of journal read, you're about two years too late. Sorry.) I've been puttering around the house, and going to visit friends, and tooling around in our new car. Now more than ever, sitting at my desk at work and staring at HTML for eight hours every day has robbed me of the desire to do so at home. There just always seems to be a lot of home to deal with these nights. There are always floors that need Swiffed and vaccuumed, or plants needing watered, or tomato plants needing staked. Or maybe there's just sitting out on the patio swing and enjoying the mild mornings. Or evenings.
I'm not getting all domesticated. I'm not, dammit.
Bill and I went for a walk around the neighborhood tonight, and I was struck by how much parts of the area resemble my childhood home in Gaithersburg. Something about the way the asphalt path winds around big empty grassy spaces behind the townhouse rows stirred some long-buried images of me and my friends and cousins running through those same kinds of spaces when I was a kid. Not that I miss Gaithersburg or childhood, but the rush of memories made me feel strangely comfortable and safe. There's something to be said for the days when I was just starting summer vacation with no job worries, no mortgage, no adult responsibilities at all.
I used to have this recurring dream about my dad being alive and home again. Mom and I knew he'd been dead, but apparently that was "just a phase," so to speak, and now he was back. Every time I've had the dream, we're in the Gaithersburg house and I'm a high-school teenager again. I'm aware that I've had this adult life involving jobs and apartments and husbands and that my mom has long since had a new man in her life, but now that Dad's back, all of that is gone. Often, I'm even dressed in my private school uniform. And always, I feel conflicted. It's great that he's back with us again, but I hate being pulled back into my boring, repressed, stifling teenage life. But that's apparently the price for having him back -- everything else goes back to the way it was when he was alive.
Those dreams always make me feel like the World's Most Terrible And Disloyal Daughter when I wake up, so I'm glad I haven't had one in a while. I don't know how those two things tie together -- sometimes I like to torment myself about how easy I had it when I was a kid and how little I appreciated that, but those dreams conjure up a dread of my teenage years that's just unsettling and unpleasant enough to be all too real.
I love threads that tie my life together. So. Back in college, I went to the Burrito Buggy to buy some lunch one afternoon. (The Burrito Buggy kicked ass. For a really low sum, you'd get a big tortilla wrapper loaded with ground beef or beans, sour cream, cheese, peppers, tomato, and onions. It was so great. Damn, I wish we had one of those around here now. Right now, in fact.) The guy working in the buggy was playing some music that stopped me dead in my tracks because it sounded so cool. It was American Music Club, he told me. I ran around town that afternoon trying to find the album ("Engine"), and when I did I considered it one of my best finds.
When I started dating Bill he took me to the Birchmere to see Mark Eitzel, who used to front American Music Club. It was his voice that caught my attention back in college. Deep, mournful, husky, sad even when he was singing something lighthearted.
And Bill and I have a life together now and Mark Eitzel is still putting out new albums and performing live, and Bill and I saw him again last week at Iota in Arlington. I love his song lyrics and I love how he performs live. I can't quite explain it, but he has a disarming way of starting songs, stopping to tell a funny, self-deprecating story he's just remembered, starting the music again ... perhaps it's because he generally plays small venues, but it's as if he's sitting in your living room.
He can get even the rudest and most blabby DC audiences to shut the fuck up and listen to him, and that is no small feat. (I really don't understand people around here. Why in the blue hell would you cough up $10, $20 bucks for a ticket to a show and then stand there and talk to your friends the whole night? What, you can't do that for free? And do you have to talk so loud that you ruin it for the rest of us?)
I've rambled enough, haven't I? I'm hoping to turn over a new journaling leaf this month -- shorter entries a little more often. No promises (as if people are out there begging -- snerk), but I'll try.