I have returned. If the reference from a popular 1998 RTS is lost on you, hurray! You still have a life. If the abbreviation RTS is lost on you, hurray! You have a good chance of keeping a life! But if you knew I was pulling a reference from the glorious Real Time Strategy game Starcraft made by Blizzard Entertainment in the late 90s, join me in loneliness for many Valentines Days to come. The worst holiday for singles is fast-approaching, and I’ve already been through one of them recently, New Years Eve.
But 2009 is here and luckily I did not have to spend the 31st playing the aforementioned game with a 2 liter of Dr. Pepper and Nacho Cheese Doritos by my side. I was able to make it out on the town (what little of one there is in downtown Springfield, MO) with a few good friends, get some free shots, and walk around in the cold weather without a coat for a few minutes while my nipples froze, only because I did not want to get my new jacket all smoky. So I guess that last one’s my own fault. Other than those exciting tidbits, I rang in the new year with quiet melancholy in a very lackluster bar named Bubbles, ironically without any bubbly or drink of any kind. There was not, to my knowledge, even a TV available to watch the ball drop, as if seeing a pre-recorded feed of flashing light bulbs is anything to gawk at anyway. Unless you are one of the endlessly energetic celebrants making-out with your significant (or insignificant) other in Times Square, the entire event is decidedly tiresome and ferociously annoying… especially when people are shouting “FIVE!…FOUR!…” while the real counter is still on the number seven and not even thinking yet of turning into the number six. The number five might as well be that backpacking trip to Europe we all haven’t really planned yet and the number four might as well be the fucking big rip as far as the counter is concerned. Overzealous bastards, chanting their numeric incantation at blinding speeds… The inability of large groups of people to uniformly count down to zero while maintaining relatively close approximations of actual seconds will never cease to bug the hell out of me. Anyway, back to Bubbles; the bar seats looked like urinals, the couches smelled of body odor, and the drab white and silver walls and decor screamed to be used as a destination for blood-splattered rampage in the next Grand Theft Auto title. And of course, I had no one to make out with. Starcraft and Dr. Pepper isn’t sounding so bad in retrospect.
But before you decide that my uneventful and dispassionate passing into the new year has turned me into a depressed, homicidal maniac, remember that there were already an infinite number of reasons 2008 wasn’t anything to cheer about. Consider the following: countless suicide bombings, continued fighting in Iraq with US soldier death tolls rising above 4,000 (not even to mention Iraqi civilian deaths), deadly tornadoes and hurricane Gustav, an earthquake in China killing tens of thousands, floods in India, violence between Georgia and Russia, the arduous primaries and presidential election, Sarah fucking Palin, a ban on human rights in California, a massive bailout fiesta coupled with an economic recession… and tell me that I’m not allowed to be slightly pissed off. Now amend this list with the further additions of drastic personal changes leading to high-stress, emotional drain and problematic family issues, penny-pinched budgets, job loss in October and mono at the same time (forcing me to move home to Missouri). And then amend that with similar problems outstretching to my circle of friends and your own; we all undoubtedly saw relationships fall apart, plans change dramatically, and jobs being lost as well. Sounds like one hell of a 2008. At least for now we have relatively low gas prices and the hope that Obama will actually do something positive once he is in office, even though it’s a shame that Rick Warren will be there to kick things off. So fancy that, it seems I was already a depressed, homicidal maniac.
In all seriousness, though, 2008 brought some very positive (well, from my perspective) changes in my life and perhaps I am just having a bad night. I don’t honestly feel that depressed on the whole, but life in Springfield can and does take its toll on me. I’ve been lucky enough to hang out with good friends here and have even met or reconnected with others that are proving to make my stay worthwhile. I intend to continue these friendships as long as possible.
But all this is to say: Nashville, I miss you. I miss everyone who stood out among the dreariness of 2008 to make the year worth remembering. I miss the studio and 10-hr. recording sessions. I miss porch parties and bonfires. I miss grabbing my first beer of the week at 1:30am at Broadway Brewhouse, most of the time on a Tuesday. I miss the cigars and whiskey over a game of chess and philosophy at 4:00 in the morning. And yes, I’ll go off into the deep-end of cliché and sentiment here, but what makes these events great are the people. I miss the people, I miss my friends.
And so the start of 2009 has stuck me with a goal of getting back to them, in whatever physical or metaphorical sense you wish to attribute to the statement. As this post is already beginning to foreshadow too much of an inspirational turn for my taste at this point, I will be quick to end it in fear of sounding like a motivational poster should I dare to start gushing in paragraphs to come. Readers and friends, just know that I am going to kick the shit out of this year regardless of what new and dreary history will most likely be written once again, and hopefully I will end up the with only minor bruises when the next Jan. 1 rolls around.
Friends old and new, work your asses off this year, show compassion to those around you, and sit down with me for a beer, conversation, and love. Let’s try to be goodness for each other amidst all the shit heading for us as the world enters 2009.