Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Last Night

The other day, I ran into The Chef in the kitchen and asked how his day was going. He thought it would be hilarious to launch into a monologue detailing every little mundane thing that had happened to him that day.

"I went to buy squash and it was on sale so I bought more of it than I was intending. The cashier put it in a bag and said have a nice day. Then I road my bike back here and now I'm eating some bagels in the kitchen and there's a plate of butter on the table, and some candles, and some salt and pepper..."

I didn't really get what he was doing at first and listened intently, waiting for his story to have a punchline. Instead, he continued to describe irrelevant objects in the room. It was really funny, but it kinda made me never want to ask him how his day was again.

Anyway, I feel as though this post may be a little bit like that - a lot of little mundane snippets with no real punchline or moral to the story. You've been warned.

I wasn't feeling very good yesterday. I stayed in my room for most of the day, bundled up in layers of blankets and sweatpants, alternating between writing music and watching reruns of "Arrested Development" on Hulu. I let myself think too much about life as I know it and found myself falling into a bit of a slump. I tried sleeping it off but I only woke up feeling grumpier. No amount of Tylenol could make my headache go away and my throat hated me. I contemplated going back to bed, but instead I decided I should probably eat something. I put on my slippers, pulled a hat over my messy hair, and stumbled into the kitchen to toast a bagel.

The kitchen was full of people drinking wine and eating popcorn. They cheered when I walked in the room, greeting me enthusiastically and proclaiming that they hadn't seen me all day. They asked how I was. I said I wasn't feeling very good. Lego Guy and his wife set me up with some herbal tea. A girl that moved in a few weeks ago offered me some vitamins. I took a seat at the table and was instantly cheered up by the colorful banter taking place. Lego Guy was doing his weird cartoon voices. The Chef had everyone singing his latest musical composition (elegantly titled "The Hamster Wheel of Bullsh*t"). My mood improved dramatically after just being in the kitchen for a few minutes.

I'm going to remember this next time I find myself being reclusive and come out of my room a lot sooner.

The night quickly became one of those nights that could have ended three times before it actually did. I seem to have those nights a lot. I think it's because the world I live in tends to come alive after 10pm. Whenever I announce that I am going to bed and act as though I am going to put my pajamas on, something more interesting comes up.

The first time I said I was going to bed, I ended up running into my friend TMBG Girl. TMBG Girl just moved in at the beginning of the month. We previously had the following moment of bonding:

Me: "Hey, I like that They Might Be Giants bumper sticker on your laptop! I have one just like it!"
TMBG Girl: "Thanks! John Flansburg handed it to me at the end of their show last year!"
Me: "No way! John Flansburg handed one of those to me too at the end of that show!"
Me: "We both own something that was touched by John Flansburg!"

I think I've been waiting my entire life to meet someone who's love for They Might Be Giants matches mine. It's pretty rare to meet someone who knows who they are and appreciates them. It's even more unlikely to meet someone who has seen them in concert multiple times, can quote the documentary, knows the names of all the band members (past and present), and understands that they are much more than a novelty band. Actually, I've never met someone like that in real life (it's easy to find those people on the Internet because they creep around in the same forums). So my new found friendship with TMBG Girl has been mind blowing. We had a really good conversation last night that started out being about They Might Be Giants, evolved into a broader discussion of music and life, then ended with us vowing never to date boys that did not share our intense love of They Might Be Giants. I have a feeling we will both be single for a very, very long time.

I decided to go to bed after that conversation, but I barely made it out of the kitchen when I ran into my neighbor, Purple Hair! She's been hard at work turning an old pair of my shoes into wearable art and announces that the shoes will be done very soon! Intrigued to finally see what my old Chinese flats have transformed into, I decide to stay up. It was definitely worth it, because soon she emerges from her studio with my magical new rock star shoes:

Yeah, you're seeing that right - they are now knee-high and equipped with bells and veils. Kinda looks like something that escaped from a Tim Burton film. I don't think I've ever seen shoes quite like these before.

I am in love.

Naturally, I had to spend some quality time prancing around the hallways in my new shoes, jingling like a little elf and showing them off to people that hadn't yet gone to bed. Purple Hair even did a small photo shoot of me in my new shoes. She then went to go smoke with Mr. Syracuse and I decided that I was really going to bed this time.

But I didn't go to bed. I ended up talking to a woman who's visiting town from Montana and is staying in her friends' piano studio across the hall from the kitchen. She's a friendly, middle-aged hippy who took the liberty of decorating the piano studio in blue Christmas lights, candles, and little figurines of Buddha. She finds out I'm a musician and gets really excited. Next thing I know, I'm giving her an impromptu concert by candlelight.

I played a song about the end of the world. It's one I wrote in January and I've played it a million times since then. But last night just may have been my best performance of that song yet. It figures that my best performance would happen in a dark, closed room with only one other person listening. But I guess that music is music is music is music, no matter when and where you make it. For three minutes, nothing really mattered except for the keys of the piano and the song I was singing. When I finished, my new hippy friend stared at me and smiled.

"That was wonderful," she said. "Can you play it again but play quieter so I can hear the words?"

I played it again, but this time only played each chord once with a single hand, singing the words clearly so she could understand them. She learned some of the words and sang along.

"We don't know how it's ending," we sang. "We don't know how the world is ending."

The song came to it's quiet conclusion. "You know," the woman said. "I don't think I'm afraid of the world ending. I've been trying to live everyday like it's my last anyway. I think when it's time for the world to end, I'll be totally okay with it."

We get into a discussion about the end of the world and what it means to be ready for it all to end suddenly. We talked about fear and love and the importance of living each day as if it might be the last. We talked about cats and rock music and Chinese food and Nostradamus. Finally I left the glow of the piano studio with the intention of really, really going to bed this time.

And I really did go to bed. I crawled into my cold nest of blankets and promptly fell asleep.

I awoke first thing in the morning to a rapid knock on my door.

To Be Continued...


  1. Dammit....this episode has a cliffhanger.

    Good story - those are some crazy shoes. Only in a commune would these exist.

  2. Those shoes are awesome. I hope that the mystery visitor wasn't a crazy axe murderer!

  3. My grandad has a book on Nostradamus. I read a bit of it when I was about 12, and then didn't sleep for a week. The man messed with my head.

    Fortunately, I'm over that. It's the Mayans I'm scared of now!


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