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A Dash of White and a Hint of Green

Posted in Personal by steelstringed on January 9, 2010

4:30 p.m. I sweep open the drapes to an icy driveway. A small flurry of snowflakes is falling to the ground, causing me to emit my own small flurry of expletives. I have to shower, dress, make a bank deposit, run by the post office, refuel my car and eat dinner before my 5:30 shift begins at the restaurant, and all of the sudden winter decides to show up in the south. I reluctantly throw my legs off the side of my bed and my body acts like it has never had the experience of walking, which makes the stumble across a messy room an even more perilous task than it would normally be. After a speedy shower, I don my jacket and scarf and head for the door.

The back deck is painted white with freshly fallen flakes, but a second coat would definitely strengthen the analogy, as footprints down the steps clearly reveal the dark brown of moisture-saturated wood underneath. I open my car door and use my windshield wipers to clear the thin dusting of snow obstructing my vision. “At least,” I think, “it isn’t cold enough to freeze the snow on my windshield. Perhaps I won’t end up in a ditch going downhill on Westcrest after all.” At this point, my roommates (who have been smoking outside) issue me a sympathetic farewell; I must go to work while they chill and write music.

I really wish I could hang out in the studio with my mates. The last thing I want to do is drive to work only to serve a single table like the night before, when the winter weather advisory kept people in their homes, effectively cancelling the one large reservation we managed to have on the books for a Thursday evening. I take the car keys out of my pocket, place them into the ignition and turn them forward. *chgk-chgk-chgk-chgk-chgk-chgk-f-f-FFWOOMMM!* After a slightly unnerving struggle, my car lights up with life and with 107.5 FM. It’s cold enough in the vehicle to see my breath. “Fuck.” The curse is delivered dejectedly and at a low volume, barely audible amidst the boom of Top 40 radio. It’s Taylor Swift. Double-fuck.

Right then, my cell phone rings and it’s an unrecognized number. If experience tells me anything, I bet it’s one of my co-workers. If so, I have either misread the schedule and am therefore late for my shift, or someone wants to request a day off at my expense. For some reason, I answer it.

Me: “Hello?”
Stranger: “Hey Kevin, it’s Chris from work.”

Bloody hell.

Chris: “You’re working tonight, right? Closing?”

Yes, unfortunately. For the second night in a row.

Me: “Yeah, I’m a closer. Why?”

Chris’s response nearly gives me an aneurysm.

Chris: “Do you really want that shift tonight? You really needing to work?”

Holy shit. Could he seriously want to pick up a Friday night closing shift with very low money-making potential?

Me: “No, I don’t especially want it. I was actually thinking about calling in, but I had to bite the bullet last night so I figured I’d just do it again. You want to work?”

Please tell me you want to work.

Chris: “Yeah, I was supposed to work over at [omitted] tonight but they aren’t gonna be busy so I thought I’d try to pick up at [omitted #2].”

[Omitted #2] is my place of employment, and my co-worker that never works with us on Friday nights has just called me at the last minute, asking to relieve me of a duty he should in no way wish to acquire.

Me: “Dude, it’s all yours. Go make some money.”
Sucker: “Hey thanks, man. Talk to you later.”

Bye Chris.

And then I got high.

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Western World Literature

Posted in Books, Personal, Philosophy by steelstringed on January 7, 2010

While running errands yesterday, I happened across a used bookstore that I’ve never been to. I will make it a new years resolution; I plan to buy a book a week from this store. Today, right outside the shop were old books for $1, so I decided to rummage through the selections, not expecting to find anything worth picking up. How wrong I was! Not only did I find a cheerful looking read called Keys to Happiness (copyright 1955) but I also found a massive, 1400 page collection of Western literature published in 1938. This giant collection covers classic literature from Homer to Plato, Machiavelli to Shakespeare, Poe to Frost… you get the idea. One of my goals this year was to begin an academic reading list covering a history of great literature, and I think I have just found the book I want to duct tape to my hands for the next several months. Of course there will be some other books on the side, but this tome of human intelligence is going to be like my Bible, the difference being that I will actually read it. Cheers to knowledge!

Beginnings Are Endless for $4.99

Posted in Personal by steelstringed on January 6, 2010

It’s 9:30 a.m. and I haven’t slept a wink. Instead, I have chosen to embark on a day’s journey of chores, a task rarely undertaken by a night owl like me. I can maybe count a handful of times in my life that I have gone out early to get things done, but the beginning of a new year can have a driving effect, I suppose. The day begins at ihop with endless pancakes, endless coffee, and seemingly endless energy. Dennis is my server and his attitude is putting happy to shame. Seriously, he makes Meg Ryan seem like Brad Garrett – it’s rather astonishing.

My next stop is Wal-Mart, where I will look for space heaters, laundry detergent, and fabric for the garage that we are turning into a rehearsal space for our new band. Our goal is to book a show in two weeks, but playing guitar in a 30-degree concrete rectangle isn’t exactly an ideal practice location.

From there I move on to Pangaea, a quaint and eccentric little shop on 21st street that sells aromatic candles, incense, and plenty of other odds and ends. Nag is becoming a staple of our house, and we have been out of it for weeks. If you don’t know what Nag is, do yourself a favor and try to track it down. It’s a little hard to find, but the smell of it slowly burning releases a calm, creative flow that can only be attributed to pure magic. Forget chemical reactions and scientific explanations; if there is a god, Nag is definitely the first thing he created. The second thing he created was the $4.99 endless pancake special at ihop. Holy shit these are good.

After purchasing my supernatural scented wonders, I suppose I should head to the bank and pay rent to the landlord. Happy new year, Jeremy. Have a grand and a half. Maybe you can use some of it to insulate the door to our basement so that the studio doesn’t freeze over this winter.

Finally, I will end the day spending time with one of my absolute favorite people here in Nashville. If I were anyone other than myself at this moment, I would be extremely envious of the person in my shoes. Because honestly, these pancakes are phenomenal.