We are all people of contradictions. It is who we are, and the most important measurement of self we can perform is how effectively we negotiate those contradictions.
Okay, maybe this isn't my most insightful insight. Maybe it's even bordering on "duh" territory. Nevertheless, it was something that was very much on my mind this past Saturday when I had a show. The main contradictions? I am an interesting suspension of lazy and workaholic. Secondary to this is my balance of introverted and extroverted, but this one will have to wait for another post.
I have more projects on my plate than I can ever finish in a reasonable amount of time. I'm still working on my often delayed follow-up to Skeleton Coast; it should've and would've been done ages ago but for personnel changes, recording delays, technical issues (such as The Great Computer Blow-Up of 2015), work crises, and the like. I've had enough songs for album three for some time. I find myself writing album number four (which I'll have time to record....when?). Finishing all this would be tight if I didn't have a job I have to do and a family. With all this, I feel more sympathy for Sisyphus than should most mortals.
Still, when I get time at home without immediate commitments, I find myself doing...nothing at all. I like my couch time (but, however, not the couch itself. Avoid Furniture Row. Anyway...). And somehow, I'm able to avoid the feeling of wasting my precious time. Give me quiet, and I'm gone from the world.
Keep me from getting anything done while anywhere other than in public, though, and I start to crack...and this was the case on Saturday. I got added to the bill because the scheduled headliner dropped out. Then, a week late, a touring act was added to the bill, making it five bands total. The promoter makes you load in your equipment an hour before doors open. If there are lots of people in the band, I can understand this, but when it's just me with an acoustic guitar and kazoo, it seems like a little overkill.
Then comes the waiting. This night, I had to be at the bar at 8. When they posted that night's schedule, I was chagrined to find out I didn't go on until 12:45 am. This meant I had almost five hours in a bar with nothing to do and (as I didn't know the other bands and my trombonist had to work) no one to talk to. I thought about writing (I've got four new songs fighting for space in my head), but that's not really viable in the middle of a crowded, distraction-filled room with loud music. I thought about breaking out my Kindle, but again, that's kind of hard and weird in a crowded room. So I resigned myself to playing on my phone...until only an hour into the night, I found it down to 30% battery life.
So what did I do? Pretty much nothing at all. I tried and failed to get interested in the college basketball game on the television. There was an interesting crowd there, but there's also a fine line between people-watching and being a creep. So mostly I just wished the time would hurry up and pass so I could go up and play.
Of course, as I was a telemarketer, I realized that watching the clock only makes it move slower, and that was indeed what happened. So, because I couldn't just go into a catatonic fit until my set, my mind decided to simply stew on how much I could be getting done,...which is always fun.
Ultimately, the set was worth the wait, though...even though the crowd...well, I'm conflicted on the crowd, and that, as it turns out, is another post. After all, I gotta get back to my other work.