I like to joke that my buddy Ron picked me up online.
I had a party on my roof deck a few summer’s ago to which I invited my mom, on account of her moving into a piet de terre a few blocks away. Yunno, the older one gets, the less one is averse to partying with parental units. The next afternoon, she called to thank me for all the wine and crackers and such, and said, “You know, I do worry about all those Internet friends of yours. They could be creeps or criminals, and you’re inviting them to your home!”
It’s true: there’s sufficient evidence to suggest that all kinds of weirdness lurks on the edge of Cyberspace. By and large, though, 99% of the folks I’ve befriended online have turned out to be good people.
Take Ron Lieber, who really did pick me up online.
Long story short, I received a random email from him. He told me that he was a reporter, and that he’d traipsed across my site via someone else’s blog (probably Stephanie or Heather’s), and that he might like to use me for story ideas. And I wrote something back. Probably along the lines of, “Press!?! I love press!?!” (Just kidding.) And come to find out he’s almost exactly my age, and he’s from Chicago (where I lived from 5 to 10-years-old), and he’s a guitar player too. He must have disarmed me early — or I Googled him and saw his byline at WSJ.com — that he was neither an ax murderer, nor hot for me, because I wasn’t crept out at all when we agreed to meet downtown for dinner.
Come to think of it, Ron may be the first and only guy I’ve ever met randomly online, and had dinner with.
At the end of the day, he’s just a super nice guy with whom I have a lot in common and enjoy hanging out. Which in itself my not be worthy of a Daily Journal entry. But his 35th birthday celebration at Righteous Urban Barbeque the other night is worthy. And here’s why.
If you’ve read more than a handful of posts, then you know I’m, at best, dubious about playing grown up. Much as I appreciate the concept of getting married and having babies, it typically makes me pretty nervous. What, after all, could be less rock ‘n roll? For some reason (Hollywood? Dan Zanes?), I’ve always had the distinct sense that a) rock stars never married and b) no one interesting has kids. This, oddly enough, in contrast to my interest in both endeavors: husbandry, and parenthood.
This year, as you know, Dear Reader, has been something of an experiment. What would happen, I asked myself, if I played less shows? What would happen, I asked myself, if I recorded fewer songs? What would happen, I asked myself, if I spent less time Downtown?
The answer, alas, remains pending further research.
This much, though, I do know. Ron’s life isn’t exactly what I dreamt about when I was a teenager, but it’s something to dream about: the lovely and successful wife, the adorable baby daughter, the Park Slope loft, the used Pathfinder. And I’m not talking material, or aesthetics; I’m talking Gestalt, I’m talking heart. Sure, it’s a little less “Rolling Stone,” and a little more “Real Simple.” But there’s not too much to be said about a teenager’s dreams. Like my Union Bay painter’s pants, they don’t really fit anymore at thirty-five. By thirty-five, it’s not about the plumes, it’s about the pacifier. And thanks to Ron, as Rob Gordon says in “High Fidelity,” I can sort of see how that’s done.