Thursday, August 07, 2008

Off the wagon

We knew this wasn't going to last. I made it three nights. On the fourth night, Wednesday, I caved and went to our favorite watering hole. Peer presh-ah's a bitch.

I really didn't take into consideration how my little experiment would affect my social life.

Now I don't know if this is addiction or just plain habit, but on night one, all I thought about was having a glass of wine. Just one little glass of wine, I told myself. But then the thoughts faded, and I went about my evening. Welch's grape juice is a suitable alternative.

On night two -- Monday night -- I kind of flirted with the thought again, but abstained. Then it was 10 PM, and there were no more thoughts of wine.

And I can't tell you how rested I felt during this experiment. Mr. GQ was right -- you think more clearly, feel an overall sense of well-being, and although I didn't suddenly kick ass at my job or anything, I just felt better during the day. More alert, more smarter. Heh. Me talk pretty.

Then it was Wednesday. I was reluctant to go out, but fuck, I missed my friends. They caught me in a moment of weakness. I was feeling particularly nostalgic for the universal brooding, celebrating, just existing that is the happy hour with friends at the watering hole.

The sad part is I don't really remember that night. It was only a week ago! And it's not like I went crazy, but we've had so many of those happy hours at the watering hole that they all just kind of blur into one memory -- the people, the atmosphere, the brooding, celebrating, existing...

I have much more to talk about than drinking.

I went on my one and only vacation a few weeks ago. Some family from Mexico was coming to visit my mom, and it happily coincided with my dad's birthday, so I went to the hometown for four nights.

I was traveling sans boyfriend, which was disappointing, but he had a good reason. Well, good enough for me anyway. Work. Ugh. Fucking work. Work is the mistress that calls in the middle of the night to steal you away from your happy home life to just have a coffee and a chat, but then you find yourself knee-deep in this complicated push-pull situation -- and the only thing that keeps you from breaking it off is the promise of a better life. Money, new lips, it's all the same damn thing to me.

[Just to be clear, I am strictly talking about work here. Don't go feeling all sorry for me that my mans is cheating on me here. ]

Anyway, my trip. It was extraordinary to see my family. I was almost glad I went without Matt because if he'd come, I wouldn't have gotten so much alone time with my folks to just be me. I had two very good conversations with my parents (separately, since they are divorced), which resulted in a much happier, fulfilled, complete me. And that feeling carries on.

I am lucky, lucky, lucky to be the daughter of two very understanding and cool people who just happen to get me.

Enough of the sap. Let's get to the fun stuff I wanted to tell you about.

For one thing, I went sailing for the first time. In a bad-ass muther of a boat.

My mom is dating her soul mate. And by soul mate, I mean a man who likes to cook, eat, drink, have fun, and go sailing. And he has the money to do all that. Her life right now is an endless party. As it should be -- she's a teacher, so gets to actually enjoy her summer. Her summer by the coast. Her summer in a boat. Errrr...hello jealousy...

My aunt, uncle, cousin, cousin's wife, mom, mom's boyfriend, and I enjoyed a full day on this muther of a boat (oh, and if you're questioning how "muther" this boat is, well, it's not ALL that, but it's the first one I've been on that has two bedrooms and bathrooms, so that counts as "muther," right?). I'm the only one on this boat a.) without a mate (story of my life), and b.) who's in dire need of a tan (being the only one there who's not 100% Mexican...damn you, pasty genetics!). So I do the retardedest thing possible and say "screw you, sun block, I don't need you!"

But I notice all my olive-skinned friends slathering themselves with SPF 45 and it dawned on me that maybe it WAS a good idea to protect myself a little bit. So about three hours into the trip, I indulged in some sun block.

After a full day of seeing dolphins, enjoying my family's company, and my mom's boyfriend's super nautical skills, I started to feel a And not in the good way.

My arms, back, chest, legs -- all the bits of me that were exposed -- were baked. I hadn't been this burnt in I don't know how long. And what worried me most was the thought of blistering like the true gringa I really am.

Luckily I didn't blister. In fact, the tan is nice. It's my evidence of a nice summer.

But here's what I really want to tell you about. The point of all this rambling...

I had a debut of sorts.

On my last night in Brownsville, my dad, brother and I were invited to a private birthday party at the local bar. Now there are really only four tolerable bars in Brownsville. This is the bar to go to if you feel like running into everyone you went to high school with, and be comfortable with your dad saying 'hi' to all sorts of young ones, and most of all be comfortable going on stage to sing a few songs.

I've had many a good time in this bar. One of them being New Year's a couple of years ago, singing "Caress Me Down" by Sublime and ending up at the owner's house in the wee hours of the morning playing drinking games with half of Brownsville there. Yeah, I'm from a small town...

My brother -- in his glory days with his old band -- used to play twice a week at this bar, and always packed the house with the same young ones my dad is MySpace friends with. Heh. My dad's a special one, he is...

Anyway. so I'm sitting with my dad at this party while my brother guests with another band. Some dudes I know from my UT-Brownsville days. 30-year-old men who never quite left home. Eddie (brother) invites me on stage, which I expected, and I sing "Bad Fish" (I heart Sublime, if you can't tell). The song ends and they are literally asking for more. It's a rock star's wet dream. Only, I'm not a rock star. I'm mostly embarrassed at that point and wondering what to do next.

Eddie suggests "Me and Bobby McGhee." My signature song. Oy. Only the bassist doesn't know it (it's only three chords, dude!), so Eddie hands me his guitar and I played it. That's the debut I'm talking about. The debut I didn't expect to make.

So I'm up there, playing and singing a song I know really, really well and people are fucking singing along and cheering. I'm not the kind to really get off on that, but it was exhilirating. To know I can do this sort of thing -- play my song for people and not fuck up and most importantly NOT BE NERVOUS.

I was completely at ease, for the first time ever. I've played music for bigger audiences, but always felt that sick feeling -- it's masochistic in a way, wanting to play for people, but always feeling mortified two seconds before and during. But this one was different. Maybe it's because I know the song. Maybe it's because I didn't care. I don't know, but it felt good, and my dad -- the painfully honest person he is -- gave me the best compliment he's ever given me: "For once, you weren't THAT GIRL, up there, just singing. You were actually entertaining them. There are so many female singers that just sound so shrill and annoying, but you did it, honey. You pulled it off."

It's almost embarrassing how excited I am about this. But now that I'm back in the routine of my regular, everyday Dallas life, I have this memory of my one rocker moment, and hope that it's not the last one.
A monster is born.
Guitar lessons
So I've talked about my dork guitar teacher. I ended up liking him, but only because he let me do whatever I wanted. I monopolized our lessons. I exploited his weakness as a teacher and turned him into my friend, my guitar buddy -- the dude with a baby and wife, who essentially saw our lessons (and my $110 a month) as a bud session in which we would just play what I wanted and then ended up watching YouTube videos of what I'm supposed to be playing.
Well, dork guitar teacher moved to Denver and now I'm studying with his boss, the director of the school. And. He's. Amazing.
In the personality department, he's a little iffy. A little square for my taste, but in the end, who cares about personality? He's a damn good teacher.
For one thing, he sees through my bull shit. He's not letting anything go during our lesson. He can tell how my previous teacher faltered. He can tell where I've been lazy. He can tell what I actually want to do.
When I told him about my debut, he was excited, but not impressed. He took that as a testament to what I want, but never voiced.
The truth is, I really do want to see where these lessons take me. Can I really be a 30-year-old rock star. I say 30 because that's my cut off age. If I'm not playing gigs by the age of 30, then I should just give it up. Well, not really. But 30 really is a bit old to have that dream, you know?
I'm two and a half years away from my goal. I won't "let the dream die," as Tenacious D says. But I will use the impending 30 as my goal to do what I feel I NEED to do.
With my brother living in Dallas, that might just be possible. I just need a couple of good hookey days to just hunker down and record and make magic.
Magic, I tells ya.
The new guitar teacher now tells me about his glory days in the bar. As if he's teaching me something. As if he's guiding me somewhere. Who knew? This square guy encouraging the 30-year-old rock star dream.
I'll take it.
I've rambled long enough. Now you know everything.