Nothing is Good Enough

I have to admit that I was rather relishing the arrival of Hurricane Charley. It’s not that I was hoping to see New York City wiped off the map, or for my surfing and sailing friends to get theirs. I was just hoping for a valid reason to do absolutely, positively nothing.

Well, the rain never really came, though the city air was hot and sticky sweet like Havana. But I still did my best to do nothing.

On Saturday morning I drove from Brooklyn to Princeton with my dear friends Jeff and Kristan. We stopped a second into an excellent little shop on Smith Street called Zipper where I had a terrific conversation with a local artist named Terry. Somehow, we traipsed into a conversation about American culture’s “Lottery Promise,” a variant on the “Rocknroll Fantasy,” in which the average citizen continues to labor under The Corporation with the hope that they will be the next PowerBall winner or American Idol. He was a strong advocate of monkey wrenching, that is, tossing a metaphorical grenade into the system to shake things up. I, on the other hand, advocated individual, deep and simple change. Both of us noted the irony of the discussion taking place in a store that sells $25 baby T-shirts that say, “I Might Barf.”

En route to Princeton under ominous skies, Jeff, Kristan, and I caught each other up on our lives. I dated one of Kristan’s roommates years and years ago, and became fast friends with Jeff when they began dating. They are a terrific couple just celebrating their fifth anniversary. They still laugh with each other, and are each other’s biggest fans. I should be so lucky someday. Anyway, we drove and talked and dozed and moment by passing moment I lost interest in the initial reason for the excursion: mountain biking. As an alternative, the three of us had lunch, then napped as the drizzle turned to rain. When we woke, Jeff and I went to the Triumph Ale House for a few pints.

We were talking about selling things on eBay — Jeff’s selling some amps, and I’d like to sell my P.A. system — as we finished our first Dry Oatmeal Stout, when one of the bartenders asked, “Are you guys musicians?” Well, ends up this dude, Frank Thewes, is a singer/songwriter, and he’s kinda’ youngish, and he’s just released his first CD, and he’s full of energy about it. It was pretty refreshing to see. I mean, here’s Jeff and me, two dudes in their thirties, two dudes who continue to seek ways to satisfy their artistic and capitalist urges in equal measure, and here’s this young guy who’s just burning with it. He reminded me of Casey. Or me ten years ago.

Now, it doesn’t bum me out. I’m happy with where I am, and who I am, and I think I’ve found a pretty good balance between full-time corporate rock journalist, and part-time independent rock star (ha ha). But when you see that energy, that enthusiasm, that spirit, all you wanna’ do is cultivate it, and encourage it, even if — and I’m not saying that this is the case with Frank or Casey at all — it’s doomed to fail or, at best, be significantly compromised.

The train back to Penn Station was abuzz with the storm, and whether or not they’d make it back all right what with tracks being washed out and power being out and all. It was kind of exciting. I got back to my apartment about 8 p.m. and promptly checked to see where the storm was. Seemed like by morning The City would be all wind and water and sky. I finished watching ’13 Going On 30′ (yes, you read that right, and yes, I clapped when Mark Ruffalo and Jennifer Garner ended up together at the end), then went to sleep.

Well, the rain never came. Still, excepting a brief trip to Blockbuster, and a brief visit with Ethan (I changed my second diaper today), I spent today inside. I remixed a bunch of songs from The Morning Mix (‘Jenny,’ ‘St. Anne Of The Silences,’ ‘The One I Love’), and put together a 12-song CD of demos for the band to learn prior to going into the studio in September. I watched a documentary on the Linux operating system (geek!) called ‘Revolution OS.’ And I napped.

Leaving the house can be pretty rewarding (see also: Terry, Jeff & Kristan, and Frank), and sometimes, nothin’ can be a real cool hand.

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