I’m sitting on the couch idly watching “CBS Sunday Morning” and talking quietly with Abbigail with whom I’m trying in vain to shake a well-earned hangover.
Despite my current preference for the sedentary, there’s still lots of moving to be done. The apartment is still stacked with boxes. My bike remains in the center of the living room. Thirty blocks uptown, my big, heavy desk, hand-me-down Art Deco and cheap, faux-leather lounge chairs, and a whole slew of shelves still need to be hauled down five flights.
Here, though, I am surrounded by wedding magazines (Modern Bride, Elegant Bride, Town & Country Weddings) and wedding related lists: to do lists, guest lists, contacts. We spent three hours looking at invitations yesterday, finally arriving on the very first book we surveyed.
Immediately thereafter, we took the F downtown, and wandered in and out of furniture showrooms. Two hours into our second weekend trying to procure a new couch, coffee table, end table, nightstand, dining room table and chairs, we resolved that it all looks the same.
We walked from Chelsea to the Lower East Side afterwards. Passing Bowery, I marveled at the sparkling new condos where CBGB used to be.
“I would say I’m glad to have played there before it closed,” I told Abbi. “Except that it doesn’t really make any difference to anyone or anything. It’s just something that used to be, but no isn’t.”
We reached Rockwood Music Hall just prior to Deena Goodman’s set. She sounded terrific. Abbi met Tommy (who books there, and thus is in some way responsible for my performing there the night that Abbi introduced herself). Bassist Tony Macelli showed up. Jeff Jacobson said hi before hitting the stage with Casey Shea. My cousin Andrew, in from New Orleans, walked in with his friend Liz just as Casey got rockin’.
Watching Casey perform was energizing. He looked part George Harrison, and part Gram Parsons, and sounded outstanding, as always. I wanted to jump onstage with him and harmonize on “Lartigue,” but alas, he stayed seated for my most recent set, hate not to return the deference.
Watching Casey perform was also just a little bit heartbreaking. There’s so much for me to do these days between working, planning the wedding, and making this new home. I barely have time to think, let alone pull my guitar out of the closet, tune it up, find inspiration, and get it down on tape. Abbi and I making so much up as we go along, as if no couple’s ever managed moving in together and getting married (and releasing a b-sides record, and competing in a triathlon and running a marathon) in under six months. Still, though, it’s all new for us. And despite knowing better, we want it all to be perfect. Which takes all my energy. So music, for now, gets next to none.
It’s more than that, though. It’s the the admission and the realization (as I pack my ProTools MBox into a cardboard box deep within the closet) that the bulk of my rock ‘n roll years are probably behind me. I will perform less, not more. I will record less, not more. And while I made that decision of my own volition, I feel some sense of some loss.
After the show, Tony whisked us uptown. As we crossed Bowery, I pointed northward and said to Andrew, “See that white condo that looks like it belongs in Santa Monica? That’s where CBGB used to be.”
“No way!” he replied (bless his heart).
Chris and Megan walked in to great applause as we sat in a corner booth of Mercury Bar snacking on fries and wings. We laughed loudly, made fun of nearby patrons, and sang along with 80s hits, then stumbled home where I choked down a pint of Gatorade and too many spoonfuls of ice cream while watching Discovery Channel.
It’s times like these (as Dave Grohl’ll tell ya’) that you learn to live again. Everything is new. And I don’t really know what it will look like when it’s done.
About all I know is that this difficult transition will be met with another, more difficult transition. And that If I’m lucky my friends and family will be there to help me figure it out, and laugh it off.