I love holidays

There's a certain beauty to watching other people revel in enjoyment today, the silliest of all days. Everyone dresses up, everyone seems merry, and a good time is had by all. People are smiling, people are happy, and there's energy of greatness all over. I'm happy to see children walking up and down the bricks of the mall. 

It's no matter that I'm still working, and that I miss my children so much right now. I wish I was out there with them, and I'm happy knowing that I have at least a 50/50 shot of being with them next Halloween. 

I won't see them for ten days over Christmas. While that fact makes me sad, I will have to do some work to make sure that it does not cast a shadow over my activities now. I may not see them at Christmas, but I will see them at Thanksgiving, and I will get to have some fun activity with them.

Being a single parent who only sees his children a third of the month can be painful, but it makes me appreciate my little ones when I have them.

I am positive. I am resilient. I can make this all work out, despite the fact that I suffer from depression, an illness I will live with until I die. 

There's a sadness in all of our lives, and I'm not going to shy away from it. I may have had a bad day today, but I know why, and I will try  to remember that as a human being I am capable of a full range of emotions, and they don't all have to be sadness even though my body chemistry defaults that way. 

Happy Halloween, everyone! And I look forward to celebrating the rest of the 2013 holidays with some of you! 

I hate holidays

I'm single, have been for years, and I work a ridiculously stressful job. Two or three of them, actually. So, I never have any energy to put into holidays like Halloween. I never have a costume, never have plans, and basically feel inadequate beyond belief. I'm working in my office as people walk off to enjoy their merriment and fun. I feel more and more like an alien every single day. And that's not a costume. 

Now begins the long march to Christmas. This Christmas is going to be the hardest one I've had to date and the sadness I am going to feel for ten days is already casting a shadow backwards through time.

I'm trying to be positive. I'm trying to think of good things. I'm trying not to fall apart.

But, I just hate holidays. They remind me of personal failures, remind of current shortcomings, and remind me I feel just a shadow of my former self. 

I honestly hope I don't always feel like this.  And I so look forward to January 2. 


And these were the slow nights...

I remember this feeling.

I remember waiting people to come into a place that I think is one of the most awesome places on earth. Or at least, in Charlottesville. If I could get out of town more often, I likely wouldn't go on harping about Court Square Tavern. 

I certainly wouldn't keep going back to work there if I didn't live here, and if I didn't feel like it was part of the reason I'm here. 

This was the first time in a long time that I went from one job to the other on a weekday. This may become more common as I try to make ends meet, try to get ahead by making a little more money for my children. But also, to try to reconnect to the reasons why I'm here.

Tonight was a slow night, but the interactions I had with customers were all very enjoyable. People came onto my stage and I served the role of background character. But, I also engaged with local politics, talked a bit about we're a neighborhood bar, caught up with old friends, tried to fix the stereo system, and made more money than I would have had I not been working.

But, slow going, but worth every second I was clocked in. 

Going back to work there is like time travel, like going right back to a time when I was at exactly the same point I am at now, but with another ring around my trunk. Can I harvest this time somehow? This investment in a dream of place, a third space that can draw upon so much history while also building the future. I want the tavern to be a place where people can meet new people and begin interesting experiences.

Even on these slow nights, I still feel that possibility. And that's why I'm back. 


A documenting of the return

Time travel is possible.

Credit: Jennings Hobson Inc.
I reentered a part of my timeline where I spend my hours serving people drinks and food, cracking jokes, trying to keep good cheer, augmenting reality in a small space that I can dance around with aplomb, wit flowing and feeling connected to the place. 

This may have ruined catering for me for a while. 

I worked for almost seven hours on Friday night, bartending and serving tables while Jeff cooked the food. I think he was glad to be off of the floor. I was glad to be making my acquaintance with people who will be among my new regulars, on whatever scale I manage to return to this place in which I feel so at home.

It felt so good to be there, at home , in a place where I feel so comfortable to be myself. Within seconds, I was right in the same place I had left 19 months ago, in early February 2012. I clocked in and went right to work, serving beer and standing behind the bar from which I watched most of my thirties. When I venture out behind the bar, I navigate a realm of people I enjoy, people who have chosen to come into a place I love so much. They are in a place I call home, even though I do not own it. I am welcoming people into a space that is so integral to my understanding of what it means to be a member of a community. 

But, will this be like the old days? Certainly there were flashes of that, as I danced around tables and slung drinks with vigor.

What will it be like?

I don't know. None of the future has happened yet. 


A return, again, to Court Square Tavern

Back in the day... 
In just under three hours, I'll clock in to the place I've worked at on and off for over nine years now. I'll go back into this little dungeon and I'll insert a card into a mechanism that will punch the time I arrived so I'll get paid. Instead of having a Friday night off to relax, I'll be serving people drinks and food and hopefully I'll make them happy in the process.

It has been over a year and a half since I left, and I don't think it's going to be an easy transition. I'm only going back at this time because there is only one employee who regularly works there, and he wants a week off. So I will be filling in for him, but training with him tonight to see what might have changed. I'm going in with a positive attitude, a willingness to help, and hopefully to restore Court Square Tavern's role in greater Charlottesville society.

Over the years, I've spent so many interesting nights there, and I want to be up there fomenting debate once more. And, hopefully I'll get paid for it, because I need to make more money for my children. They're getting older. 

When I told them I was going back, they cheered! They know how important the place is to me, even if my previous efforts to gussy up the place were stymied.

What will happen this time? I don't know. I won't be back there as much, but I'll occasionally be behind the bar. And I feel like a new era is just getting started. 



I love records. 

There's something infinitely magical about round discs that spin around pole in the middle of a motorized circle, with a needle picking up vibrations placed there in the encoding process.

No... not encoding process. What word would you use?

Anyway, thanks to WNRN, I now have a record player and I'm able to finally listen to the hundreds of records I've accumulated over the years. Earlier I listened to a record called Echoes of Merseyside, a stream-of-consciousness-like assemblage of found recordings put together by the Liverpool Echo sometime in the 70's. 

And now I am listening to perhaps the most important album of my life - my first exposure to Monty Python - The Allbum of the Soundtrack of the Trailer of the Film of Monty Python and the Holy Grail. I remember putting this on the record player when I was my a bit older than my daughter's age. 

As I listen back, more than 30 years later, I'm pleased I have a record player to connect back to that time.

My daughter got out of bed a while ago. We had a few minutes chat about the record player. Pointing to my cathode-ray television, she noted that much of my technology is old.

"Is it because you're cheap?"

I laughed. I told her that the old technologies are just as good, and that the important thing is the content, the recording of human experience.

The first album I played on the new record player was a 1958 recording of the Boston Symphony Orchestra, the American premiere of a Russian violinist who was 33 at the time. The back of the record cover was a description of the event, and something about the needle translating old vibrations into new vibrations made me feel connected to everything. 

What did my daughter think so soon after I bored her with a Led Zeppelin album that my brother must have bought in 1981? 


Bringing forth the musical waverings

This May I began a new season of musical journal entries. I'm drawn to picking up the guitar and recording myself making up words as I move my hand up and down the neck of my guitar, strumming out moments of where I was at various times.

I am not capable of writing songs. I tried to do this summer, but that's now how I'm built musically. I have to trick myself in order to let myself go, and the only way I can do that is to have an open microphone and a recording device. Something happens in those moments, and I transform into something a little less retiring.

I do hope I can find collaborators to help me harness this, so I'm going to post this noise. This is slightly edited from a recording I did in my kitchen when my children were at my house. Themes include the usual questions I have about this life I seem to be living.