I wonder what is going on at the pub down the street?
I can see--and have seen from day one or two--where all the folks from the production I'm in that like to party go after each show. The bars look perfect: dingy, dark, loud, relatively inexpensive, and close to the hotel. I don't go to them because it's not really my thing anymore, but I still kind of wonder what's going on.
I remember being in Ireland with the chorus a couple years ago, white knuckling the whole sober thing. You know, just kind of gritting my teeth and walking hard and fast--hands deeply thrust in pockets--back to the hotel in some sort of mock penance or demonstration that I could, indeed, not go out drinking--that I could just go back and go to sleep and get up in the morning and go do the show.
But that was no fun.
It was no fun because I really would have rather been at the bars, and probably should have considering how things turned out in the end anyway. I mean, did I really prove anything by spending my time on those tours "clean", only to come back and get busted? Not really. All I did was prove that I could make myself fall asleep by 3 a.m. or so after rolling around in bed for four hours. What a difference that made in the end.
So what's different now?
I'm still the same silly, self-conscious, slightly obnoxious, emotional, paranoid, lovable lad that I always was.
I still bring too many clothes on the road. I still swear too much. I still make inappropriate comments to anyone and everyone around me.
But I am different. And this change came from a choice. You all know what that was if you've read this far.
I am my own good time.
I am the party I always wanted to be invited to.
And no one--I mean no one--can possibly prove me wrong.
I don't have the pull of the debauched late night anymore because it finally put its last hard, debilitating hangover on me and I said "when" when I opened up my doors for business. I don't seek the release from hours of rounds of shots and beers and the eventual quest for harder things anymore because it invariably left me with an uncertain, vague and unfinished story that now holds only as much luster as the shiny glowing signs whose light once beckoned me in with their universal, iconic flash ever did. Since I opened up my own joint I don't need to put up ads or neon signs--I don't have to advertise. It's always full up in here. Business is truly booming.
There will always be people to keep my competitors afloat--to fill up the spaces in between the walls, kegs, and walk-ins. Our social strata and reward system, combined with our physiological and psychological response to a whole world of temptations, rituals, validations and releases will make quite sure of it.
Don't get me wrong. Much good has come my way over the years from the nightlife world that is run by the rum. I would always argue with my family that there is so much I would have never done sober. All the people I would have never met, places I would have never seen, jokes I would have never thought of, kisses I would have never attempted, and stories I would have never heard nor imparted are included under that umbrella. But what good it did for me always became rubbed into the cement with the heel of a hangover's boot in the end. And that hurts as bad as it sounds.
Those who know me know it's true; those who don't will just have to take my word for it.
But I made these decisions, and I am the one who will miss out on whatever I will miss out on outside of me. The truth is, I'll never know, because I'm not there ... I'm here. And here doesn't mean, necessarily, my hotel room as opposed to the tasty looking pub down the street. Here doesn't mean, necessarily, the tour bus back to the hotel as opposed to the after party.
No. Here just means wherever I am at any given moment--breathing, thinking, moving, feeling, speaking, singing, playing, tasting, touching, crying, laughing, spinning, dancing, shaking, jumping, laying, sleeping, snoring, waking.
And who's to say that the here I am enjoying is less of an amazing time than is happening right now down the street where I was just wondering what was going on?
Our world only exists from the farthest reaches one can observe with our overt senses, to the heart, mind, and soul of ones indeterminable insides. Sometimes that seems like from here to forever ... more likely it's only a millisecond away.
It's pointless, in the end, to even ask the question: where is the best place to be?
The ads will tell me I'm wrong if I stay home.
The bartenders will tell me the same from behind their registers.
The patrons would most definitely tell me I'm missing out on as much fun as they are having.
Some of my friends might even tell me I'm not living life to the fullest, if they weren't being so good about it.
But it only takes me to have an amazing time.
It only takes this one guy to feel like he is on top of the world--to know that he doesn't need anyone else's approval to shine.
It's just little me here with my little black laptop, on tour, in another part of the world, laying on my bed, eating a candy bar, talking with my girlfriend, playing with my photos, and trying to keep up with my writing.
And that's the kind of revelation that no amount of consciousness altering could possibly deduce.
And that's what they'll never truly tell you no matter who you ask, because nobody can really explain it fully.
Who is they?
Anybody who's not you.
Who are you?
You're that person who was once so many other people interested and involved in hundreds, if not thousands of things. And you learned to accept change. You learned to induce change. You changed without even knowing. Sometimes you only actually noticed you were different by looking back on it. And whether or not you realize it, you're different now than you were yesterday. It's what people do.
It's what people do.
Go ahead ... prove me wrong.
Thanks for reading.
PS: I'm having a fantastic time here in Manchester, England with the Young at Heart Chorus. You can check out my pictures and stuff at http://www.facebook.com/falexjohnson Stop by, say hi, give me a holler.