Saturday, July 16, 2011

Change for a Fifty

Let’s start with an old joke. (This is the to-the-point version. When I was a bartender I used to tell a 25 minute version.)

The chicken farmer takes his most productive hen to the vet.
“I don’t understand what’s happened to her. Lately, instead of eggs, she’s been producing quarters, dimes and nickels.”
The vet looks through all his diagnostic books until he finally points at a page and says “That’s it!”
“Is it serious?” asks the farmer.
“No,” answers the vet.
“She’s just going through her change.”

It ranks with Woody Allen’s joke that begins “Annie Hall (“Yeah, but we can use the eggs.”)

When I reached a certain age, I pretty much thought I could accept change as just another part of life. I’ve seen both parents and a couple close friends die right in front of me. Relationships have come to sudden and sometimes surprising ends. (“Okay, All right, Just put the knife down.”) I’ve had a couple true medical emergencies. I lost a couple dumb-ass jobs unexpectedly.
I’m like everyone else: I’m much better when change is on my terms and I see it coming. While the last couple years have been a bit shaky, it has been these last nine months that have had me walking through the valley of “What Next?”.

When you work for and with the same people for years, and you get along and actually enjoy what you’re doing, a change in leadership can be seismic. New people automatically fall into the pissing contest that usually includes a fresh paint job in the offices and new carpeting, along with new schedules and mission statements. (Any of you who know me, know I have to be heavily sedated to get through the shortest of meetings.) The changes at my job were surprisingly upsetting to me, and started my return to anxious depression or depressing anxiety. When you lose faith in what you do, and what you do is spiritual faith, you’re dealing with a condition known as acedia.
I may not be a medical whiz, but I’m pretty sure the correct treatment for my condition was not to give up anything that used to bring me enjoyment, except for my old friend, 15 year old single malt whiskey. But when you’re in your 50’s and foolish… what the hell?
This explains, I hope, why you have not heard much from me music-wise or prose-wise. Basically this blog has become a gallery of other people’s quotes and other people’s photographs.

A couple months ago, I turned the corner after hitting the wall pretty hard. I reached out to some relatives and friends for company and wisdom, something I’m not known to do. I also started talking about myself--- something that’s akin to eating green food on my dinner plate. Finally, at my doctor’s, (God bless her!) when my blood pressure was being considered by the Guinness Book, and an ambulance became a serious option for transportation, I felt it was time for at least a part of me to grow up. You might have noticed distilleries all over the world are laying off entire shifts. On the other hand, they can’t print music paper fast enough, and Maxine (my piano) is not so much nagging me as gently prodding me---- she is a lady, after all.

So one would think all is settled and the hen’s laying eggs again. Not so fast. Just as I was settling down for a smooth rest of summer, I’ve been informed I have 30 days to find a new hideaway. My expensive shit-hole is being closed. (Don’t feel sorry for me; think about Uncle Harry, the century old cockroach who’s kept me company for so many years.)
Now the idea of moving on somebody else’s terms, finding a new place in Chicago, and all the hassles one can imagine, is enough to drive me back to something on the rocks, but I think I’ve secured a new hide-out from which to look out for Erato’s many offerings. It’s nothing fancy and it was the first place I came across, but I’m still me, so don’t expect me to eat all my vegetables at once.

Recently, I came across a blog by a young lady trying to sell her art on line as well as talking about herself. Her art is very good, but her posts are even more so. After reading two or three, I felt I had had several long conversations and spent some time with her: Nothing embarrassingly intimate; just ABOUT herself, her family, her friends, her art.

You may ask why I am posting all this, and that’s exactly the point. I am writing something about myself. Erato may have her hideaway, but I’m coming out to talk every now and then.
How’s that for change?

1 comment:

Robin Kottke said...

I wish I could add one of those emoticons that beams with love and pride, hearts for eyes. Proud of you TM!