Dan Deacon saved my life

Dan Deacon, a guy from Baltimore, will be playing tonight at the Southern. I'll be there. I'll be dancing. I'm kind of excited about it, but in a way that makes me think it is not really going to be happening.

I discovered Dan Deacon thanks to NPR's All Songs Considered podcast. The song Get Older came on while I was at the gym, trying to build my body out of sadness. My marriage had ended a month or so before, and I was living in Albemarle County with a friend.

During my marriage, I didn't create any music. I experimented very little. I had done so a lot during my first marriage, but somehow the urge to make noise didn't really come to me when I was married the second time. The traumaI had turned inward because we had started a family and I had to work, and I felt so serious all the time. Life was no longer about having fun, and I was married to the wrong person.

Of course, I still mourned the end, because I had thought I was going to live out my days with her. I thought having children with her was going to bind us together, but it was not sustainable. The divorce was necessary for both of us to live our lives the way we deserve.

I'm now living an interesting life that's filled with so much narrative, but I still mourn not having my children in my life on a daily basis. I see them once a week, and they're happy, healthy and well.

Dan Deacon's music has appealed to me because there's so much lunacy, so much irreverence, and it reminds me of the kind of music I wanted to make. Electronic pulses, intricate drum patterns, but also a sense of inevitable disaster, and that it is okay to live in the aftermath of traumatic things.

The night I moved back into my house, I listened to another NPR podcast - a full live concert of Dan Deacon, and I heard for the first time the dances he gets his audiences to participate in. He directs everyone to do fairly silly things, all in the name of having fun and living and moving. It's infectious, and I decided that I wanted to be that kind of person - fun, living and moving.

That summer, I slowly came alive, and mourned less. I picked up a guitar from a friend, and began playing, trying to strum songs out in order to make my own sounds again. Dan Deacon inspired me to do that again, and gave me courage to try to find my own sound.

So, tonight, I'll be down at the Southern, being entertained by someone who saved my life. I'll dance, and I won't care how silly I look, and I will sweat, and I will have a fantastic time, living and moving. It will be grand, and it will close a chapter.


Name change

Why Citizen 2,840,201,999?

Why the last number? Which I've somehow forgotten, by the way.

I came up with the original name for this blog off the top of my head, thinking it was about where I would stand in the rankings if a global census sorted the human race by birth order. I assumed that given there were about 6.2 billion people at the time, and I was in my early 30's, I was somewhere just after the middle.

Now I've since learned that there are more people alive today who were born after me, so I've moved up in the rankings. I assume now that I am the 2,840,201,999th person who showed up on this planet one day and had to figure out how to get by.

I picked the word 'citizen' because of a sense that we're all here on the same planet, and we may as well recognize each others' common values as much we can. I write mine down part of my journey here on occasion.

I study government and public policy as a reporter, in part because I feel a sense that there's a common space where we can work out issues between us. I believe in civility, and acting in good faith, and trying to be generous to one another.

Of course, it doesn't always work out that way.

History often gets written down because the conflicts are worth remembering. I write my own history down as a way to sort out how I can do better next time. I write down public history so I can hopefully help others do the same thing, especially now that I'm a little older and I've got a lot of responsibility.

I write here as a way of telling the world what I want it to know about me. I don't write publicly nearly as much as I used to, because I find myself picking every word here carefully. I've too often posted a little too much about myself.

Privately, I've been writing up a storm lately, trying to capture what happened this summer and how far I've come since the divorce and how far I still have to go. I'm blessed to have the opportunity to live my life, and to try to document it as I move my way higher up the leader board.


Something has to give...

I'm standing here on one knee, crouched down behind the beer cooler behind the bar at Court Square Tavern. My last customers left about 10 minutes ago, and I've got nothing to do really but type. One out of every eight Saturdays is busy, and tonight ain't a snake-eye.

I've got a song screaming out over the speakers, D.O.A. and Jello Biafra singing a cover of "We Gotta Get Out Of This Place" and it seems appropriate. I can't keep working here, not under these conditions, all by myself. It's too slow to merit putting a second person on, which means I have to cook, clean, dishwash, and serve the customers.

In a perfect world, I would love that challenge. I love when life's a video game with impossible expectations, yet I come through anyway.

But it's not a perfect world. And, this is really getting to me, the stress of being all alone in a place that should be doing better, but isn't. I have no power to get people to walk up the street to get here. All I can do is sit here and get paid while I get older.

It's been almost two years since my marriage ended, and my life has settled a bit, maybe too settled. I want a new adventure, a new quest, something to get me out of this rut of work, work, and play crammed into the tiny corners I have left.

At least I'm getting to write at the moment. I'm giving myself another 11 minutes, and then I'll hit POST and move on to cleaning up this place. This place that I love so much, but yet think it may be time to move on again. I feel like I'm trapped in a bad marriage here, feel like I'm giving a lot. I'm getting something back. I love the fact that we have new regulars, I love the fact that I make people laugh when I'm in charge.

I love making people happy.

Customers came in. Off I go.