Another Summer, Another Step In The Bucket
Sitting here in a Saskatoon Starbucks on a beautiful June day, I know that I'm lucky. I do. Once again, I have hit the hammerhead cross-Can trail to serve as a hired gun for Ali McCormick, and to play a few of my own tunes along the way. Touring is a strange beast. I remember the first real tour I went on was with Joel Plaskett across Middle-Ontario as a social media video guy in 2010. I remember thinking that every town seemed so bright and different, and that it was a bit circus-y and wild, but I was in love with all of it. Every moment. Every venue. Every smell in every room. Every joke in the car.
A few tours later, both as a video guy and a musician, I feel a little differently about the big, bad beast of Touring with a capital snaggletooth T. It's a bear. It really is - and you don't even realize how tired you are until you sit somewhere. The adrenaline you gain from playing gives you a shot of superhumanity, but that few hours of power is counteracted by the stasis of the road. The waiting. The smell of a stale car and multiple people sleep-breathing. And even after you've packed and re-packed the car, there is never...NEVER...enough legroom. You notice the idiosyncrasies of your fellow travelers like you never have before - and it all gets a bit squirrely at times. But after you do it, you feel like you've been through something. You've cut your teeth on some kind of life test, and you form bonds that connect to the fibres of your very being.
I've been thinking more about existence more than I ever have in the last many months, and the endurance marathon that we all run in the wild, scuttling, careening ride of this life. And man - I have been through some shit! I have been through some dark nights of anxiety and worry and unrest. Struggle. Hardship. Brokenness. Divorce. Deaths - some young, some old - but all of them uniquely difficult.
And I'm also lucky to have been through the weird social dramas I've been through. Friend break-ups. Rumours. Gossip mills. People going their separate ways and allowing bitterness and negativity to run their anger machines. It's unfortunate that those passive-aggro cellar dwellers don't understand that if they don't do the work, and don't have the balls to awkwardly and nervously and PERSONALLY confront people in life, when shit gets weird, they are going to rot their existences away in a bitter exile. Because it will always be their worldview that wins - and 10 times out 10, the fault will never lay with them. The world will be against them. And it's sad. And you miss those people. And it sucks to have circular, cyclical conversations with those people, but it's the unfortunate road that some may take. Patterns are hard to break.
But I'm here - and lucky for all of it. To have been through those lulls and hurts and blows and lows - and to really be in a position to appreciate when things are alright - at least for the moment.
And I'm lucky to miss someone. Man, am I ever. And to somehow have digitally stumbled into the best person I have come across in this life, who is ready to embrace me and be embraced back when I get home after 12 days of travel is an amazing thought. I want to spend a day smelling her face and hair. It's tough to step in the bucket, and really commit to that fastball when it comes down the pipe. Nobody wants to swing hard and miss. But when we do take that step down the baseline, and take a massive cut - and we connect with that pitch - the result is pretty otherworldly. J and I are not waiting for anyone or any timeline - we are truly building a life together. And it's pretty damn brilliant.