Have You Seen Me Lately?
“So what have you been up to?”
That’s young Ryan Vaughn, drummer to half of the bands on the Lower East Side, talking. It’s just before seven o’clock on Saturday night. The sun has cast a warm, early-spring urbanglow on Avenue C. Ryan, Tony, Chris and I are sitting at an Italian restaurant across the street from Alphabet Lounge where the guys will perform in a few hours.
His inquiry throws me out of my game for a second. “What have you been up to?” means different things to a 23-year-old single drummer than it does to a 36-year-old married media executive. Not that it occurs to me thusly in the moment. Instead, I stammer.
Because the truth is, I haven’t been up to much. At least as far as the 23-year-old in me is concerned.
These days, it’s about all I can do to keep my shit together at the office.
These days, all I want to do is get home, crack a beer, sit on the couch, and read a magazine.
These days, I consider being a good husband my first job, and being a good corporate steward my second. Rock and roll — sadly and shockingly — comes in somewhere around third or fourth.
This revelation may not shock you, but I can hardly believe I’m typing it.
I don’t know if I’ve always judged my success by my productivity, but I certainly have in the last ten years or so. Rock shows, road trips, record albums — these are the measures of my worth. Ten hours at the office doesn’t rate. Four hours on the couch doesn’t count. I need results. I need melody, harmony, applause.
Pendulums swing, accelerating towards equilibrium. I’m not sure what this will look like when it all finally comes to a rest. I imagine it will continue to be a dizzying ride. Or maybe someday I can confidently say, “Not a God damned thing,” and be completely ok with it.
Not today (though the couch feels fine, and the beer is cold, and this New Yorker article on John Waters is kinda’great).