Keeping watch at night. Sitting vigil over a sick kid while she honks and wheezes and occasionally cries and pees or pukes on the couch. We did this last night, and then all day, and I was so tired there were pains shooting through my head, each one a little zinger of a stroke-to-be for a jaded hypochondriac, each one worthy of squinting and cussing. Finally my wife relieved me and I took a shift of sleep at 9pm. Got back up at 2:30 and here we are.
She's sleeping now, more or less, snurfling herself awake now and then and drifting back off with a mutter. So I clean my desk in the next room, excavating a year's worth of set lists, receipts and the business cards of other people who are all as certain they're gonna make it as I am. I pack lunches, wash dishes. I make ham salad, for chrissakes, assembling a meat grinder I bought at a flea market, heavy iron from an era when kitchen appliances could double as lethal cudgels.
This is the anti-road. This is where self-doubt and overthinking swirl in with the to-do lists and the laundry piles. You spend too much time creeping along your Facebook timeline. You wonder if you'd hit that no-hope Monday night mic tonight, if that woulda been the breakthrough, the moment of clarity or the magical connection made, or maybe just another twenty dollar tab and a questionable drive home with another one of these set lists crammed in your pocket, to fall like another leaf in the pile on your desk and then get raked up the next time you have a few days off in a row.
Hurry up and wait. Itch at the sound of the semis droning down the expressway a mile from your house. Watch your daughter sleep and wonder why you ever leave the premises. Have the audacity to look at these bottle-ringed, half-assed set lists and imagine them whirling around like a blizzard of thoughts to assemble into a new hour of something other people want to listen to and laugh at. Eat your stupid ham salad on crackers and drink cold coffee as the sun bruises up the horizon and wonder how anyone ever figures out anything.
Where I write about the stuff I do when I'm out doing the stuff I do.