One thing I did on the trip was a lot of thinking.
How Do We Know What We Want: Milan Kundera on the Central Ambivalences of Life and Love
“We can never know what to want, because, living only one life, we can neither compare it with our previous lives nor perfect it in our lives to come… We live everything as it comes, without warning.”
(the above highlight is a little excerpt out of the book worth reading)
While on this trip, I became hyper-aware of my entire life: some days I wonder what I’m really doing with myself. I’m in the interim between work and not, trying to land more work and write new music, be at the studio making it. It’s a hanging place for a few weeks, before job-ish continues. Time goes by so easily, so quickly. The general reflection is, I have very few commitments here in Dallas, which makes moving a very easy proposition. I do not have the average time-sucks that descend on adulthood: a mortgage, a marriage, a child, an animal, a 9-5 job, etc… I am an only child of divorced parents and have the tiniest, least emotionally committed family ever, so there’s that too!
I can absolutely Do, Go, Be : whenever and whatever and wherever. And I often do. I’m sorry, I don’t concern myself about money. All of this could overwhelm the average psyche. I am overwhelmed by other things. Like I’ve said before, when having abundant choices, it is often easier to make decisions based on process of elimination. So I have to live it, experience it. I know where I don’t want to be, who I don’t want to be with, what I don’t like eating, what i don’t like wasting my time on. And at this point in my 30’s, I’m pretty damn sure of my interest, my habits and hobbies, my disposition and moods, what brings me the most joy. The most efficient joy of our current world is being able to work remotely via the internet. Anything from anywhere. My writing of various forms and my music production can continue from any location. The next location is heavily on my mind. I can write wherever I sit. I can sing wherever I stand.
“Until one is committed, there is hesitancy, the chance to draw back– Concerning all acts of initiative (and creation), there is one elementary truth that ignorance of which kills countless ideas and splendid plans: that the moment one definitely commits oneself, then Providence moves too. All sorts of things occur to help one that would never otherwise have occurred. A whole stream of events issues from the decision, raising in one’s favor all manner of unforeseen incidents and meetings and material assistance, which no man could have dreamed would have come his way. Whatever you can do, or dream you can do, begin it. Boldness has genius, power, and magic in it. Begin it now.” partly by Goethea German writer and statesman
This resonated as a personal note regarding my music and all that has come before. The upcoming songs will drive down a different marketing path.
As far as the actual trip goes, here are the highlights:
Got monetarily fucked by Uber’s price gouging on the way to the airport. Punched me the in the gut. Thought to myself, ‘ok, I’ll save in other ways.’ I’m frugal and economical besides, especially hate spending money on eating out and the excessive calories; I was there to be a tourist, not a restaurant hopper. Such a waste. SO after picking up my rental car, I grocery shopped for my fully furnished private AirBnB. I only spent extra money on one parking meter ($4), one taxi ride ($10), one hotel bar valet ($26!) and one cocktail plus tip ($11) Yeah, I’m kind of an asshole about my personal economics. Priorities.
First impression: driving with roundabout streets. Similar to Australia and New Zealand (my first experience with them) or ALL of Western Europe. (via wiki)
Washington, D.C., is a planned city. In 1791, President Washington commissioned Pierre (Peter) Charles L’Enfant, a French-born architect and city planner, to design the new capital. The L’Enfant Plan featured broad streets and avenues radiating out from rectangles, providing room for open space and landscaping. He based his design on plans of cities such as Paris, Amsterdam, Karlsruhe, and Milan brought from Europe by Thomas Jefferson in 1788. L’Enfant’s design also envisioned a garden-lined “grand avenue” approximately 1 mile (1.6 km) in length and 400 feet (120 m) wide in the area that is now the National Mall.
President Washington dismissed L’Enfant in March 1792 due to conflicts with the three commissioners appointed to supervise the capital’s construction. Andrew Ellicott, who had worked with L’Enfant surveying the city, was then tasked with completing the design. Though Ellicott made revisions to the original plans, including changes to some street patterns, L’Enfant is still credited with the overall design of the city.
Only problem is, a square grid eventually got placed on top. So it is very jagged. No problem with GPS on the iphone talking me through it. My AirBnB was 3 blocks into the black neighborhood. Fine with me. Just making an observation about zoning. Never felt unsafe anywhere I went. Very similar to Dallas, where you can be 2 intersection turns into -or out of- an upscale street or an unkempt, lower socioeconomic street. Also, after a wikipedia search: this neighborhood was a first in America for middle class, black family homes. I was arriving at my residence right after school let out, so all of the kids on corners were in uniforms. There was a liquor store and bodega convenient store at the end of the block.
Unpacked everything, situated myself -as I meticulously do. Perfect place for me. This first night I had every intention of going one place and ended up at another. The Hamilton. Even told the bartender: close the check early. Decided to walk. Like goldilocks: the cigar bar was too smokey, the happy hour bar was too loud…eventually settled into the bar at a steakhouse, the first of a few live music venues in the night. Met 2 guys at Mastros steakhouse who ended up taking me to 5 places! A Russian vodka den, where I had strawberry infused and sang karaoke, and a reggae club where white fraternity boys and myself were the few white people. I danced some latin style to Lunatico on a higher level of the bar. Then we went to a hip hop club. Fierce fast dj, so tired by this point. Took a cab back to my parked car.
All evening we skipped all lines, familiarity with all the bouncers. I don’t know who I was with honestly.
Everybody is somebody. Made note of every conversation I had, everything anyone said. Clues, evidence, perspective. There are so many exceptionally brilliant people in and around D.C. -they lean on the fence of Asperge syndrome or autism. I was informed and stunned. I tried to only listen.
The truth is, I resonated. I understood. I was patient where I am usually not, just absorbing it. My kind of people, whether good or bad.
This location is so full of history and politics and constant energy, not the discordant energy of NY or hustle of LA. This was familiar and comfortable to me. I felt so at ease.
Next day, the touristy stuff:
Walked the National Mall for a couple hours prior to cocktails at the fancy Hay Adams. (that costly hotel valet) Conversations and perspectives from a local -comparisons to other major cities full of driven people: LA, NY, and the new money in Dallas. Oh boy, the different characters, different missions, the labels. Each place will chew you up and spit you out! Can you hang?
Rested up afterwards before more wine and dark chocolate over live jazz at a personal residence.
The next day was lingering hours at the Smithsonian, followed by a gawking stroll through Chinatown a few blocks away. LOVE Asian aesthetics, all day everyday. Swung through Whole Foods on my way back to the condo for evening supplies. I also went to the Safeway grocery store later that night. I was the only white person in there. There were only 3 checkout lines in action, so the lines were deep and full. The woman in front of me grabbed an Enquire and I commented how my grandmother read the sensational lies for years. She laughed, replaced it on the rack, and we began a very comfortable engagement. She was an adorable mid-50’s, short-stature, black business skirt/jacket professional ensembled lady. She was fatigued and wearing out-of-place fake eyelashes, buying 2 cartons of coconut milk and 16oz. of agave nectar. We connected. We chatted the entire line time like old chums. It was so delightful. I think I improved her life slightly by mentioning wearing earplugs to sleep. She was so tired of all the ambulance and police siren sounds in the middle of the night. (this neighborhood) I haven’t slept without ear plugs (silicone mainly) since college! One time I forgot them, so I balled up little pieces of hotel toilet paper. Never forget, especially on a plane! Either way, I had a fully enriching experience.
That evening I did 2 things I’ve never done before: had chips (blue corn, non gmo) and salsa for dinner, AND drank almost an entire bottle of wine (Malbec) by myself :/ It was very low alcohol because I usually cant hang that long. Paired well though 🙂 Flew home the next morning.
Upon the return, was still reeling over the Uber trip, so I emailed them my experience and opinion on some things. Got credited $40, so that turned out better too. Glad I spoke up. Always speak up.
At the very end of the day: our options may be infinite, but time, and our lives are finite. I find myself closing in ~once again~ on a revision of the plan. Music stays regardless.
Mark Manson is a thinker-writer I really admire. His latest :
it’s a proper, grab you by your shoulders and shake you up kinda piece.
Of course I loved my DC adventure. But sometimes:
Yeah, some days.
As soon as he died, Juan found himself in a very beautiful place surrounded by all the comforts and beauty he had ever dreamed of. Someone dressed in white came up to him:
“You are entitled to whatever you wish: any food, pleasure, entertainment,” he said.
Enchanted, Juan did everything he had dreamed of during his life. After many years filled with pleasure, he sought out the person in white:
“I’ve already tried everything I wished for. Now I need a job so that I can feel useful.”
“I’m so sorry,” said the person in white. “But that is the only thing that I cannot manage for you; there is no work here.”
“How terrible!” said Juan in irritation. “I shall spend eternity dying of tedium! I’d prefer a thousand times to be in hell!”
The creature in white came over to him and said in a low voice:
“And where do you think you are?”
– By Paulo Coelho
We can only feel it out as we go. -Brocka