Here at the airport in Eugene. We drop off our truck for a young man to drive to Minneapolis while we fly to Denver for a show tomorrow night, then on to the Twin Cities for that sold out show. Sold out shows.
I’ve long had a thing about… well what is it about? Vanity? Success? Self-loathing? Self-appreciation? What is the deal? As I face the full theaters or the filled up clubs I notice, I take stock. I have to tell myself, it’s ok, really, no big deal, not even a question of ‘deserving’. It’s been hard for a long time. Now it’s not quite so hard. Don’t make a big deal of it.
Yet I have heard that when people are run over and get crushed it’s when you take the weight off them that they crumble. We can, we do adjust to unmeasurable pressures and we keep going, feeling like we are made for pressure, some of us, we say I do best under pressure. And when things go better, when we get some of what we have worked for, fought for, hoped for, we start to throw it away. Like, it’s extraneous. Only the bare minimum for me.
It takes a lot for us to remember that the hard times are not the norm. We are soldiers so long that we forget there was ever a time when we weren’t soldiers. We cannot remember that there was some reason we did this, a long time ago. Whoever that was, why ever they did it, it fades away and doesn’t matter anymore. We do it because we do it. It’s a desert because it’s a desert.
Made this way, fired by pressures we do not name, we bring home our paychecks, we feed the dog, put out the cat, and try to… be content to be home. I like being home, but I often just dig in and don’t come out. Home overtakes me like the road. I don’t know how to balance. Extreme heat and cold seem to be what I need. I am isolated, or I am public.
The balance I will find speaks to me even now. Here in the airport in Eugene, they have rocking chairs, and I wanted to take a picture of one, so you could see that even in bureaucratic institutions like the airport someone won out, and made a little human corner for people to rock back and forth and watch the airplanes. I think of that line in Fahrenheit 440 or whatever it was – Julie Christie says People used to sit with them in the evenings, and just rock back and forth… and speak to each other… how a chair might be the instrument of gathering.
I’ve been meeting lots of people after the shows. This instrument of gathering, the meet and greet, I thought it ought to be the greet and meet.. hello! I am Rickie Lee! I hear the same story… I grew up with you. You are part of who I am. I think, let that in, that’s ok to let in. But I know better. It’s the music that is part of who you are.
Not me, really.
And yet that might be a vanity to be so humble. yes yes, too much thinking. But maybe I am meant to have that little bit of… what is it? When someone gives back to you, what is that called? That courtesy-glory-kindness- is something that I guess I know. It Is me who is part of them. The songs are made of me. I am in them. so yes, I supposed I am in … in other people, too.
I’m holding up alright out here. I must say my body seems to be… a bit more sore than I remember it before. Well, this is a challenging bit of work. I don’t get to walk around for days, just getting out of a car, walking to my room, walking to the car, walking into the dressing room, walking on stage, to the piano back to the guitar, and then to the dressing room, back to the car, back to the room. That’s it really. So on a day off like today, when my mind has just a few minutes to wander, and I can put my feet up on an empty chair, and my crew are nearby, I feel kind of pleased with myself. I am so glad to be alive.
That trauma when I was small, my brothers accident, it tuned me up high. I wait for trauma every day of my life. I try to tell myself not to do this, but I can’t help it. With anything I love, I am waiting for the call that it has been taken away.
I am sure many people have received those calls, have survived a devastating event. I don’t know if they all end up on the rocking chair watching the planes Not crash. But I am aware, and teaching myself that nothing evil is coming. and if it does when it does we will gather together to sing it away, to cry it away, holding tight to each other no matter what. me and the strangers I am a part of. And by habit, each day that passes, maybe it can reshape that one day that echoed across my life. And there will come a time when I will not… fear… and I will be at peace with whatever is coming, loud or quiet, big or very small.
I wonder sometimes what it is like to be a bug. Do they have rocking chairs in Bug land? Are they always afraid? Do they sing?
I’ll betcha they sing. A lot.