I want to apologize in advance for this blog entry; it will be long and scatter-brained. I have too much to say, and not enough time to say it. But I’m doing it anyway. This is something I try to avoid doing, but today… I’m stuck.
I was invited to an event at a church over the weekend. Saturday. A cousin’s first communion. Which is a Catholic thing, where you go and eat a stale wafer and it’s supposed to represent the body of Christ. Which, if you ask me, is just fucking creepy. But I went. My first time in church in maybe 7 years. Or maybe 15 years? I don’t really keep track. But it was a sad experience for me.
I thought about the girl I shouldn’t still be thinking about. I thought about how she talked about church in a way that made me consider reopening the possibility of someone like me having faith in something. She was dead shortly after that, and I never got around to finding faith, and that’s fine. But in church this weekend, I thought about saving her. And thought about how I never had a chance at saving her. I don’t know what I was thinking. But it’s been about 16 months since her head was torn apart in a car accident. And it’s been about 16 months since she started haunting me on a daily basis. And it’s been about 16 months since I’ve felt anything that resembles love or admiration or compassion for another human being.
Then I thought about my dad. I used to go into churches once in a while, when I was a kid, to light a candle for him. I don’t know why really. Symbolically, it just felt like a nice thing to do for him. Saturday, I was going to light a candle for him and a candle for Rachel. But when I got up to the thing, all the “candles” were elctronic LED candles, and it costs a dollar for each one. FUCK THAT. How ridiculous is it that even “god” is trying to make a buck off of mankind’s collective heartache?
Anyway, then came the party. Well, first was set up for the party. I brought up all the music stuff, which was nice. It reminded me of working at that music venue I used to work at. Reminded me of meeting Evan Dando and talking about good music stores. Reminded me of “where I should be right now,” except, clearly, that’s not where I am. Either way, it was nice. I set up the drum kit and the bass rig and the guitar things on the deck. I also set up some munchie snacks.
People started showing up and I was uncomfortable. Besides my beautiful cousin Bryan, who I love and haven’t seen in 15 years, everybody else just made me feel squirmy. So I started with a beer and then, when I realised how delicious this beer was, there was a subsequent beer. Somewhere shortly after that, somebody told me there was vodka. And cranberry juice. Uh oh.
I’m a whisky person. And a shitty light beer person. And when these things aren’t doing it for me, I’m a vodka/cran person. Especially when I’m hanging with people I don’t want to hang with.
My aunt Linda, who raised me after my father died, was there. She’s too old for her age, has bad back problems, and has been in AA for about 12 years. She cornered me to explain how the Eagles’ song Hotel California was actually about a drug rehab. I had apparently told her that when I was 16 and in drug rehab myself. This weekend, she felt the need to illustrate my point by pulling out a 50-something-page CD booklet for some Eagles greatest hits album she got. I pretended to read the thing, and then said, “Wow. That’s an interesting story.” But I had no idea what the actual story was. Then she suckered me into taking the booklet and holding on to it, reading it in its entirety between now and the next time I see her. “Thanks.”
Anyway, I felt nervous about drinking around her. Even though we haven’t had much relationship for well over a decade, she still has a bit of a psychic-stranglehold on me. I aim for her approval. No idea why. But after my first vodka/cran, I hid behind the bass and shredded along to some bad tunes my little cousin was trying to play. The only one he could really pull off was the three-chords-stunner, Baba O’Reilly. That was fun though. There were no mics set up. And that song sucks without mouth-sounds. So I decided to cut loose and scream the words to the people who were crowded around. I was hoping others would sing along, but they just looked at me. It was a “wow, this kid has been in my family for almost 30 years, I barely know him, but he’s really fucking weird and spazzy” kind of look. I didn’t care. I made a new drink.
It was kind of nice to get drunk and play loud music and not give a fuck. It’s been too long since I’ve done that. Also, this was the first time I had ever decided to just be myself around my family. 4 drinks in, and I no longer cared what they thought. Eventually, my older cousins got up to play. I switched to guitar and we started playing some Slayer/Motorhead covers. Which was fucking brilliant for this day of holy communion. And then I had more drinks and was COMPELLED to play drums. Because that’s another thing that has been absent from my life for too long.
I worried about my hands being destroyed, but again… 7 drinks in, you stop caring about degenerative autoimmunde disorders. Music is king.
So I shredded the shit out of the drums while the kids played punk rock songs. Then we just had a random death metal jam that turned into the Allman Brothers’ Whipping Post. Yeah. Strange times.
The night ended early for me, as I was hauled away by another cousin who wanted me to come hang with her and some friends. I was too tipsy to object and so, before I knew it, it was almost midnight and I was taking bong hits at some 19-year-old kid’s house. Somehow these bong hits brought the booze back up in my system, and I ended up blacking out and falling down the stairs. Which, by the way, is my signature move. If I was a fighter in the Mortal Combat video games, and the creepy voice said to me, “Finish Him,” my finishing move would be to just fall down the stairs and land on my opponent’s spine. Because I’m really fucking good at doing that.
It’s now Monday. Yesterday was lost to the TV and some good food and a lot water-drinking. I didn’t have a hangover because I was still drunk when I woke up at 11am. Which is another of my signature moves.
I think, once again, this is one of these posts that’s more for me than anyone else. Because I want to remember this. A year from now, when I’m living back on my own across the country and missing my family, I want to be able to read this. To remind myself that what I’m missing is the kind of family experience that is only healthy if it happens once every 5-8 years.
I want to remember that they rarely let me be myself, NEVER encourage me to be myself, and when I try… they just get nervous. That’s why I am constantly running from this place. That’s why, before this year, I haven’t been back in 6 years. That’s why, when I’m gone in the fall, I will not come back for another 10 years. And most importantly, that’s why I’m perfectly content with not having much of a family.
I think it’s time to start getting serious about making/saving money for my trip. I miss the west coast. And I miss the feelings I had about the east coast before I came back. I always seem to like it here so much more when I’m 3,000 miles away.