Hey, I'll tell you all right now this isn't really a post about fun and games and everything dames, it's kind of a serious one, I guess.
But first lets start with the weekend! Bottom line: I felt like shit due to battling a righteous cold the week before, got belligerently drunk Saturday night starting with me dancing to the Arkells in the family condo by myself with minimal clothing and a flask of whiskey, to going to the bar called "My Condo" to get incredibly drunk and then on to trusty Pier 21 to hit the Irish belligerent level. When my head hit the pillow at 3:45am it clued in that I was running my first half marathon that same day. At 9am. 2 hours and 10 minutes to run 21km while still intoxicated and ill ain't bad. I don't want to brag, but that's not fucking bad. Training is key, haters. Now unfortunately, lets get serious.
Autumn, or fall, is the season in which my moods are reflected the most. I do love it, as does everyone, apparently, but it just makes me think about a lot of stuff all the god damn time. It marks a time when a ton of stuff happened with my family. Gearing up to tap the maple trees on my Grandfather's farm with my cousins, a tradition done for a few years was a huge one for me. I am going to say one thing right now, and that is what I am about to say is NOT to try and grab your attention or seek pity points or any bullshit like that. The fact is this happened to me, this is my life and it's not to prove a point, and if you the reader thinks it is to try and snag one or all of the above, you can think whatever you want, but you're wrong. I lost my mother when I was 16. That is all I am getting into on that note, but the reason I mention it is because what would be her birthday is very soon, and that obviously pulls at heartstrings. My mother's father, my Grandfather, passed away before that by not very much time at all as well. These were the two key players that really made this time of the year so magical for me, so it's obviously a big hit, like I said.
As the weather and world around me changes quite dramatically as winter comes knocking, I feel myself change dramatically as well. I see all of us start to change a little bit. We're all getting into the thick of it with school and jobs, new relationships kindling and veteran ones starting to buckle. The fact is a lot of us begin to get focused and aren't really around the people we'd like to be around as much, I find.
I myself have lots of history to think about with my family. What I did before getting Irish drunk on Saturday was go home to my parents' house in the country, or what I call the Ferraris Estate. Beyond the house are a small network of trails that are lovely to walk. They go into a forest and systematically pop out to massive farmers' fields that are all growing corn, but because it's getting colder and things are starting to recede, nothing is green but more of a honey gold colour. It's really quite nice. Anyways. I remember how my mom would walk me down these trails because she was a huge fan of the leaves changing colour. We'd get some mad cool maple leaves and press them in huge books about nonsense. The kind of books you don't actually know why they are in your house.
There's a long section of this trail right near my house that gets lit up with sunlight and truly resembles like it's glowing. This is the Autumn Road. I walk this trail and I take it all in, I remember the times and I recall why I am here, and that I am still amongst friends and loved ones no matter what. That I do still indeed have a family that functions and that love one another. I don't know what to tell people when they tell me they're sorry about what happened because a)it's okay, I'm probably more sorry and b)I'm really alright. I mean yes it was absolutely devastating (this isn't a post about what happened with my mom, but clearly her loss wasn't taken lightly), but it's always more important to focus on recovering than wallowing, and I've fucking done enough of that. I don't know what to call it...but the only real.."tip" I guess I have if you're facing a loss in the family is just don't worry about living to make them proud or any weird spin on that. You make them proud and carry on their legacy with every move you make. By dragging yourself out of bed in the morning after being hit with that is an incredible feat and is exactly what they would want. I am not saying I am the almighty badass get out of bed-er, it just took me a long time to realize this. That maybe beating yourself up wondering if you're doing what they'd want and wishing on something that is the polar opposite of what is possible is not the way your time should be spent. Just live, you know?
So this is where my head is at, my focus. It's obviously kind of rough and tumble for me about now so maybe this post is some kind of apology. I'm sorry if I don't really seem present with my mind. I'm really sorry if it seems like I'm not giving you my undivided attention. I just love Autumn. It's my time to delve into who I am, where I am going and how I want to change, if I feel I need to. It's a time where I'll wear my massive wool toques, my Beaver Canoe apparel and strap on boots and walk the back 40 to feel at peace with whatever is out there that is willing to be at peace with me. I do not want to come off as some all knowing messiah. I was a boy who is growing into a man the same as anyone else, and I sure as hell do not expect to be treated any different. I am not some lost fellow who stays up late pondering the revenge on my enemies or how the world and whatever god is out there wronged me, battling my demons.
I do not feel like I explained what I am feeling in this post, but it's hard to nail it down in writing. And in the end, as much as I appreciate the amount of attention this blog gets...it's for me.
So I walk the Autumn Road, and in doing so find where my heart lies, which is in a straight line. I hope you have an Autumn Road, too. Some place you can feel utterly one with yourself. Even if it's the bedroom you've known your whole life or some getaway house in Bermuda (which would be rad).
It may have taken a long time, but I sleep just fine.
I’ll be honest with you all.
I’m a bit fucking weird.
Now it’s your turn to be honest, and by that I mean I’ll bet you think you’re decently weird too. Today I caught myself at work thinking about some weird things, and I don’t mean some exotic porn involving a cactus and croquet mallet, I mean just odd things one imagines sometimes on a day to day basis that one really has no motive to imagine.
It’s very easy to “think outside the box”, or whatever sayings go in concordance with that one. Mainly, it’s easy to think of something abstract and odd. Like instantaneously. I wonder how rich the people are who supply banks with the plastic sheets they cut into thousands of debit and credit cards. I wonder how many debit cards are issued each day. I wonder what would happen if my front wheel decided to just come off my bike while I ride down the steep somerset hill. I wonder if someone offered me a thousand dollars what I would do for it, be it walking up and dry humping an innocent patron of a coffee shop or just scream gibberish in a public setting. I don’t know, but this is the shit that goes through my mind sometimes. We all think abstract and with literally zero noticeable motive.
I think of things that seem a little bit easier to understand. I think about what it would be like if certain people were still alive, or if some people had never been born. I imagine what it would be like to date a girl who is clearly madly in love with her boyfriend, I imagine what some people look like naked, and I think about how funny my life would be if I wore thug clothing. But is that weird? Because I think you do all that too.
We think about these things (well, the ones that are somewhat reasonable) yet we do not act on them. We catch ourselves, which I find fascinating. We can imagine the most massively possible things that we could do with a flick of a wrist but we don’t do them. We are caged by our morals and something suppresses us which, if you think any of the things I think (which you do, you fuck) is definitely a good thing. I think it’s incredible. What is doing that? What is telling me not to just blatantly walk up to a girl I think is gorgeous while she is clearly with her boyfriend and ask her on a date, telling her I’m way better for her and that she’d clearly enjoy herself more with me. Even if I did do it, I would a) look completely out of my mind and b) hopefully the lass would be enough in her own mind to have her man kick me dead. But why the fuck did I think that in the first place? Why do I imagine dating a girl who has a boyfriend? This example even creeps me out as I write it, yet I’ve done it before! Why do I bother thinking of something so morally wrong and impossible to occur and yet see it clear as day? How can this even happen?
But you catch yourself. You catch your brain, right? You have those “what the HELL, brain?!” moments. Why do these moments happen, and why do we let them happen? Perhaps it’s because this weird moral and outer force kind of swoops in and is like “RED LIGHT, SHUT THAT SHIT OFF” and nails us, and it’s like we know that, but don’t consciously know it because that would totally interrupt the thought process. It’s like we KNOW it’s there to stop us so it justifies the thought in the first place.
I think the bottom line of this post was me realizing that anything and everything I’ve thought and felt as been thought and felt before regardless of whether or not it seems so incredibly new and unique to me. I could find this utterly depressing, but I don’t, and that’s because it does feel new and unique to me, and that’s what matters. My life is my instance. You’re not in it, you don’t know what I feel and/or think, and I obviously don’t know the same about you. No one can really know how someone else thinks or feels. You can describe it, easily, even, sometimes, but you are the only being who knows what’s going on. I’m the only one who knows what I’m thinking in my mind, and I know I’ll catch myself thinking it, and watch it unravel.
So I guess we’re all a little god damn crazy.
I’ll bet you feel it, huh.
This was really weird to proofread.
In three days I will be at the CE centre to attend a concert I have been waiting for all summer, the live 885 (an incredible alternative rock station from right here in ottawa) presents Rise Against, Hot Water Music and the Gaslight Anthem.
Gaslight and HWM are opening acts, but I could not care less. I have been listening to Gaslight nearly every single day since the winter of 2009-2010 when I discovered the the ’59 Sound on the very radio station I listed above. This isn’t going to be a boner post about my love for the band, and while they are my favorite, I don’t think I’d call myself a nutters fanboy. Yeah, sure, I have a Gaslight Anthem t-shirt. Yeah, I could sing every word on every album and yeah, I have sang only Gaslight songs at open mic nights but I don’t care what they look like, or what they do with their free time, or if their wife as instagram or what kind of dogs they have. So the bottom line is I am obsessed with the Gaslight Anthem, but not with the band.
I like everything they represent with the words sung and strings strummed. The songs about the honesty in doing a day’s work, of equality and Saturday nights with the top down. I like revenge songs to lovers come and gone that you can sing along with in your car and feel like you’re on top of the world. I love how they love the radio. I like how they’re just a bunch of guys who have gotten lucky enough to spread what they do and make me feel the way I do when I hear them. I like keeping up with them in terms of where they go musically, but besides that their lives are their lives.
I remember the first time I heard this song, “the ’59 Sound”, which, for the record, was the year soul music got its own genre label, I was driving in my van and this song started and just slapped me in the face like no song has since Bruce Springsteen and Bob Dylan. When I heard Brian Fallon hammer on a C chord tuned a full step down as fast as he could on his trusty telecaster I just knew that something was coming. Every lyric of that song drove something home into my heart that recently took a beating, due to a loss in my immediate family that took place months before.
Before that moment I had not touched my guitar in about 6 months, let alone cared much for listening to new bands or really delving into music as much as I normally would. On the way home from school that day I bought new strings for my acoustic, got home, replaced them and learnt how to play that song, I have not looked back.
Brian’s writing accompanied by the musical pieces that band outputs really got me back on my feet. They didn’t all take my heart and throw it up into the air like ’59 sound did, but there isn’t a Gaslight song that isn’t good, or means something to me in some way. No other band’s music does that for me.
So this Thursday I’ll be there shouting every word I can, watching the guys who helped me out, and continue to do so.
This is the ’59 Sound.
“You ain’t supposed to die on a Saturday night.”
afternoon, lads and lasses.
quick update: an hour ago i got back from a run i decided to do in the pouring bloody rain. by the time i even made it to the Rideau Canal i was completely drenched, and i made the silly mistake of wearing a white t-shirt, so i felt quite stupid, and pretty slutty. it went well, my ipod and headphones are in a bowl of rice just to be safe (rice dries things out, for the record). i then took a bloody hot shower and realized showering while already totally soaked is incredibly anticlimactic.
so now i am here, at my workstation desk looking out onto a rainy templeton street watching cars go by and that silly cat that lives across the way. a cup of hot rooibos (afrikaans for "red bush", how 'bout it, then?) and some ideas i've formulated about last night, which i really enjoyed.
the main point here is that it really does not and should not take much for one to enjoy a friday night. alcohol is something i do like to consume with a good group of people, but i've made a new rule for this year called "i need to earn a drink" by doing...i don't know..a good shift at work, or going to a lecture and actually taking something from it, which i believe i did this first week of school. it began with a bottle of Cava (Spanish bubbly) on the balcony of the temple with the roommates. we popped it into the street and before taking a sip said where we'd like to be in a years time, and they all seemed realistic which is good. we then proceeded to have some wine and get ready to head off to the static good times that occur at the one and only stewart street. good times, met some new people, made a new facebook friend and reserved first time judgements and will re-look into them when we meet again. Daniel Taccone, official dudebro of stewart street touches into this on his latest blog post HERE (shameless plug).
lots of wine, photos and good conversation eventually lead to hoofing it down to the DTC (DownTownCore)to explore bar possibilities. it's always a job and a half trying to get everyone moving but it eventually happens. we lost a few on the way to the lack of planning and the ever hardening rain fall, but we ended up the trusty pier, then mcdonalds, then home.
i don't know, running around the market with the rain trying to find people i found to be really fun for some reason. i ended up all alone at one point, with no texts being returned from people i knew where close by, so i just wandered and ran into people. it was warm, a nice limelight, steady rain that kept the streets cool, and warm entrances to crowded bars with people trying to find some shelter and a good drink. i don't know, it just really made knowing this was Ottawa and my hometown really invigorating, that while i was wandering around completely empty streets with seemingly nothing going on, there was everything going on behind every door. all the bars were hopping. all the smiles stretching and the hearts warming. well maybe not all, but that's what i liked to think at that given moment. i'm trying hard to be more of an optimist these days.
i do hope you all had a fun friday night, if you were taking it easy and going out tonight...i'm sure it will still be raining.
as for me, i'll be taking the graveyard shift at second cup on laurier, so feel free to stop by and charge up before hitting the town.
rain makes it perfect.
I've been moving pretty fast recently trying to tie up some loose ends job/school wise before the year gets really busy, so I've been meaning to write this post for a while.
Recently I ended my contract at a clinic I worked at for the summer and I distinctly remember two instances that made me a) really down and b) really think.
One was when a co worker was telling me how her 13 year old son had a bit of a break down and they are now signing up with some shrink that charges some disgusting amount of money for a first time consultation to see what they can do for him. there's nothing wrong with that, it just brought me down a few notches. The second was when I was working up at the front desk, which I rarely do and mainly consists of me checking in patients for their scheduled appointments. I remember a very pretty young girl, who was 14 (I'm not being weird, she was a pretty girl. Get over it.) coming in for an appointment labelled "anxiety" (for the record me even typing about this is a HUGE no-no but I am leaving out the name of the patient and doctor and clinic, obviously). I had to pull up her file for a split second and saw the word "depressed" all over the place. Again, I went down a little.
Then it hit me: the early teen years, about 13-16 were incredibly tumultuous times for me, and clearly others as well. It's a time when you are becoming more and more adolescent yet still want to hold on to the comfort of being a child of (hopefully) caring parents. To the times when people looked after you and you didn't really have to care about much besides yourself. It was a time, I found, where everything felt very real.
It's part of the human condition, I find, to look at someone else's situation and easily roll our eyes and think "wow". I do this to kids in high school relationships and what not who are being over dramatic etc. I then realize that may have been me. I'd say I was only in two relationships I'd consider as serious...one didn't last that long the other lasted a very long time until not that long ago, really. It ended and was beginning to show potential once more, but then that significant other made the mistake of drunkenly attempting to use someone I lost (as in lost) to try and pry out a reaction, so that kind of tore the last letter in half. That was off topic, and I apologize.
The fact is, in the moment, when you're young, it seems like it's the biggest thing in the world. That it is everything to you. I think this may have to do with the fact you are finally beginning to project your strongest emotions from your family to other people you consider very close to you. I've only ever told someone I've loved them twice, and I don't really know what to make of it now. It's easy to look back and say "Marco you were just a kid" even when I was 16. It's just as easy to think back to when I was that age and how distinctly I remember it being such a big deal to me, so it's hard to decipher which is which. The fact is they are and/or can be true or false. I am trying hard to not make this a relationship post because to be perfectly honest I'm not the one to come to about that kind of thing. I have ideas in my head of how a lad should treat a dame, how morals work and how much it sucks to get fucked with but the fact is..yeah. I've only considered two relationships as big deals, and I've had my time of being an idiot with women. I have been blind drunk and paid the consequences in a sad hope that it may re-instill some kind of confidence and I got used to it. I've gotten it back, I'm sure.
Those times were tough. Things we see today as little ups and downs seemed like massive highs and crushing defeats back then. Being knocked down until some next significant player in your life got tagged in and brought you back up, only for the process to repeat itself. I found out soon after that that one must be pleased with themselves in order to even think about pursuing another.
So I like to think I meant everything I ever said to anyone in my past who meant a lot to me. I can't remember all the words but I do remember the times, and maybe they shaped me. Who knows. I wish I could have just told that young girl checking in at the clinic that it gets better, and that life can kick the shit out of you sometimes. The scene is, however, that everything you feel must be real. You've got to let it be.
John Mellencamp said "Hold on to sixteen for as long as you can.". I like that. I think one should embrace the youth you had around that time of your life, be it how amazing it felt to hold someone's hand or how excruciatingly painful it was to lie awake at night watching the dull black of your phone on your bedside wishing it would light up, as you didn't know what you had done wrong.
Again, it's late and I've lost track of what I was trying to write...but here's a post.