Wednesday, January 11, 2012

California Feeling

Hey! What's happening? Yeah, I know I haven't really been doing much of a job keeping this place up and running lately. My motivation to do so has been, shall we say, less than extreme. Nothing to do with you fine folks, but if you must know, I've been going through a rather intense period of self-examination lately. It could be viewed as a something of a crossroads I suppose. Probably the sort of thing a lot of divorced 37 year old males have experienced throughout the ages, but it's been a gigantic pain in the ass nonetheless.

Without getting too in depth about it, I'm in a rut. A lot of it has to do with what I perceive as a lack of growth, or maybe a need for more perspective. Basically I'm stuck, you see. My life's passion has always been music, and my free time has been centered around going to live shows since I was a wee lad of 14. But lately, that's been something that hasn't been providing the same amount of joy it used to. In theory there should be no reason why I don't enjoy seeing live music, but damned if hitting (or now being well past) 30 doesn't seem like a death sentence to this once happy club goer.

It's just weird checking out a show, looking around you and noticing how young everybody is. Whereas I once felt surrounded by brothers and sisters at these gigs, lately I'm starting to feel like the proverbial drunk uncle, or "drunkle" as I've recently become fond of saying. Not that I'm always drunk, but you guys probably get where I'm coming from here. Against my better instincts, somewhere along the line I became just another schlub with a job and a mortgage. My interest in keeping up with fashions and trends is dying steadily, and as much as I try to rail against the march of time there is really nothing much that can be done about it.

I go to dance shows in San Francisco looking to have a good time, but the thought of grinding on some girl fifteen years my junior just seems so unseemly all of a sudden. I often ask myself what the hell am I doing here exactly? In my heart I know I have little desire to settle down again, but mainstream society isn't leaving me a whole lot of other options either. One by one, my friends are either shacking up and dropping out of the scene, or becoming victims to their own vices. Yet neither of those options really appeals to me.

So I generally come home from work, slam a bunch of PBR and listen to my old Chris Montez or Sergio Mendez & Brasil '66 records, dreaming of some beautiful alternate reality where men wore white tuxes and ladies were dressed in exquisite evening gowns, and everything was groovy and simple. I burn lots of incense and candles, and have taken to smoking cigarettes again, mainly out of boredom.

On weekends I hit the dive bars, but it's a shitty situation in Oakland. Insufficient public transportation and my general unwillingness to not get arrested for driving under the influence usually has me dropping $40 a night just on cab fare, which on some evenings pales next to my bar tab. It's not like it's a guaranteed good time either. I meet and talk to a fair amount of women, but it's like I've become so picky about what I'm looking for that I'm just searching for any excuse to disassociate myself from them, rather than judging them fairly on whatever charms they do possess.

I touched on this briefly in my previous California Music post, but the overwhelming ennui of the thirtysomething California lifestyle is tangible. Nothing's ever really bad out here for those of us that are fortunate enough to be healthy, not broke or destitute, and to be living in a neighborhood where we don't have to worry about getting shot at on a daily basis. But damned if it's all still not what I thought it would be.

Since I moved to the Bay Area, I've partied in $20 million houses, and I've partied at warehouses in what we fondly call around here the "super ghetto", and yet (shockingly!) I haven't found what I'm looking for at either. So is it a case of searching inward for answers then? I feel like maybe I ought to meditate, or start getting into yoga and new age literature, but to be honest I just can't be arsed. I've toyed with the idea of forming an internet start-up numerous times, but it just seems like such an overwhelmingly competitive environment for someone such as myself who really isn't the least bit competitive.

I haven't written a song worth a shit in over a year. The boundless joy I used to get from just playing guitar or drums has been reduced to a mild sense of enthusiasm. Lately life seems to be centered around waking up to an alarm clock and making sure my bills are paid on time. I actually sort of like my job, so that's not a major source of stress (thank God!), but advancement opportunities there are unfortunately few and far between.

Furthermore, I live in an area where I'm surrounded by artsy, cool young people on one hand and rich douchebags on the other. A lot of the quote unquote "normals" around here I see out driving or waiting in line at the CVS just look beaten down zombies. I'm happy to say that I still possess enough enthusiasm not to look like that.

Maybe it's the economy, or the pace of 21st century living, but something about the times just doesn't agree with me. Which is weird because I'm a huge tech junkie, but it seems as though everyone's buried in their gadgets, and real conversation is becoming a thing of the past these days. And generally I find most people to be overly preoccupied with their own internal drama anyway, or overwhelmed with obligations and the like. I know I'm fortunate to possess a great nexus of individuals I consider close friends, but they fall trap to the same things I've been talking about, and I suppose I'm not immune either. And we all know about the level of drama that can exist between friends at various times.

Anyway, I'm just posting this missive by way of letting those of you who care enough to post here why the lack of updates and such. Please understand that I'm not going through a depressive state or anything of the sort; it's more a case of persistent though not overwhelming boredom. It's a daily struggle-- the fight to remain vital, to not become the proverbial wet blanket. Maybe if you've been through something of the sort, and feel as though you can relate, you might care to leave a message. No obligation though. I'll be back at it soon enough, and until then, you can find me somewhere around Oakland, hiding in plain sight.