Tomorrow I’m going to my first out-of-town gig with Short Punks. I’ve written before about how I’m an unlikely musician. About how I would rather be at home on the couch with a box of donuts, than at a show at 10 PM at night. I’ve written about it more than once, because in many ways it’s my greatest challenge. Overcoming the inertia of life to do something interesting with my life.
Tomorrow, I’m going out of town for a mere 20 hours, but I feel like I’ll be gone for a week and I wonder how I’ll cope. I wonder how I”ll manage without the morning meditation at the temple, or what I will do without my usual lunch of miso soup and rice, or how I will take a nap in the back of the van while Bob and Brian trade dialogue from Star Trek, Star Wars, and Battlestar Galatica.
I’m an unlikely musician. I’m a homebody, a book-lover, a cookbook collecter, and a writer. I like quiet, silence, and cats that pad softly around the apartment looking for places to lie in the sun. I’m a person who feels the richness of an empty afternoon. I’m that kind of person, and I’m going to sit in a van for six hours with two guys, and wait a couple more hours before soundcheck, so that I can do a 45 minute set. So, at moments like these I have to ask myself one question: what am I going for?
I’m going because there’s a feeling you can only get on stage, that is not reproducable anywhere else: not in a bar as a customer, not in a classroom as a teacher, not as a buddhist sitting in temple. There really is nothing like the feeling of setting up your gear on a stage whether it’s the corner of a neighborhood saloon or a space along a cafe wall. There really is nothing like the experience of communicating with others without words, of catching the ear of someone who wasn’t planning on listening.
So I’m going. I’m going to ride in the backseat of a rented minivan, headphones on my head, listening to buddhist chants, and taking notes for my memoir. I’m going to watch the flat, grassy landscape of the midwest pass by me like a green-brown sea while I wait for my 45 minutes in the dim sun of a Madison cafe. I’m going to forget about missing miso soup and snack on apples, and listen to the odd snippet of conversation from Bob and Brian when they both realize at the same time that they watched Outer Limits as kids. I’m going because despite how rich I find a quiet life, there’s something unmistakable about a noisy, messy, rocking one.