Monday, July 28, 2008


The latest installment of My Life as a Thirty-Four Year-Old Band Geek finds us in beautiful Cullowhee, NC on the campus of Western Carolina University. We are surrounded by mountains on a small but modern campus with facilities that are adequate to allow us to do what we need to do.

This is all fine and good. What is great is the temperature. We broke 100 degrees several times over the last few years in Clinton, SC, - a situation that was dangerous and downright inconvenient (I don't know what it is about the border of South Carolina that makes anything in the state hotter than anything outside of it... except the women). So far today here in the mountains, we have been about ten degrees cooler than Atlanta. When I walked out of my dorm at 8am this morning, it was about 62 degrees.

Plus there is a Walmart three miles away which has a great stock of Red Bull, Gold Bond, Yuengling (no, I didn't) flushable wipes, ibuprofen, and sunscreen. So everything seems fine, except I swear I keep hearing distant banjos.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Die Walküre's

Ok, so I didn't exactly use that title correctly. But life has felt like an opera of late, and the drill-writing portion of it has felt like one big-ass, long, drawn out Wagner music drama - the kind that makes your ass so sore from sitting that you swear you'll never attend one again. Nevertheless, I finally find myself in Athens, at Walker's, on a Friday afternoon, at the convergence of eras.

Wow, I really wrote that.

Since last we talked, I have been to Florida and back on vacation with Meghan and my family, finished all but two of this summer's horn books (the rest should be done by Tuesday), packed all my belongings, moved to Marietta, and finished my lone drill book of the summer as my apartment sat packed in boxes. I sit in one of my favorite spots in the world, waiting for Meghan to arrive in Athens for a rehearsal and a wedding. After this, I will once again be at band camp. And finally, I'll be back in Marietta to start my fall, while Meghan begins school in earnest.

My one-year move to Athens has come to an end with no shortage of reminiscing about its events, doting on small pieces of real estate that hold significant personal meaning to my significant other and me, and general mourning of the necessity of moving on from my twice-adopted hometown to the location of Whatever Is Next. I have done a pretty good job of managing my little sadnesses, disguising the occasional unexpected lump in the throat as a cough, and subtly sweeping conversations of Athens off into the ether with timely changes of subject. I also twice managed to convince myself that this is not real: first by insisting that "the second we can move back, we are going back," and later by declaring myself a resident of the "Athens-Atlanta Area." Unfortunately, after being concerned earlier this week that Meghan was having a hard time with the move, I suddenly became a sobbing mess at the dinner table while simultaneously realizing that I was the one who wasn't handling it well.

She thought I was choking. And in a way she was right.

There are many times in which I have wished I could present myself as a true citizen of the world - wished that I could make myself out to be comfortable under any circumstances, willing to dive into new pools with no concern for what lies beneath, shaking the hands of total strangers, and lighting busy rooms with stories of foreign adventure and danger. I find myself mildly jealous of the adaptability of my friends who are from military families in that regard. They always seem to be able to walk into new situations and engage without hesitation. But if there is one truth about me, it is that I need familiarity in order to be happy.

I can hear all of my friends, having read the previous sentence, saying aloud, "Really? Shocker."

The bad news for people like me is that things are changing, regardless of whether or not I approve. The good news is that we adapt. Almost every time I move, things get like this. I run into every exposed sharp object in my new apartment. I encounter water leaking through my ceiling. I get confused about my actual location in the new Target which looks almost exactly like the one to which I am accustomed. But gradually, everything gets better because it too becomes familiar.

It's important for me to point out that I would move five hundred times and I would move five hundred more to be near the woman I love. And I know she would do the same for me. I choose to move because I choose permanent happiness over a discomfort that will remedy itself by simple repetition in a few weeks. Moreover, I am closer to the people I care about and enjoy the most than I have been at any point since college ended.

I really do recognize the necessity and benefits of change. Things end so other things can begin. Things change so we learn to appreciate moments when we are in them. Good things go away to make room for potentially better things. Cerebrally I get that. It is simply the way life works. There is no alternative.

But somewhere in the middle of my soul, there is a child that does not understand why people get sick, why relationships sour, why pets go away, and why we have to leave the places we love. And that, I suspect, isn't ever going to change.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Still Slammed

Just letting you know that I'm alive and that my stuff is in an apartment. As soon as we got everything in on Friday, I immediately picked up the laptop and resumed writing drill. I'm working as hard as I know how to work. It will be Friday before I am finished, at which point I hope to be writing a more detailed update from Ye Olde Walker's Coffee and Pub.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Yankees fans... truly the class of baseball.
I'm embarrassed by my virtual absence, but there isn't much I can do about it right now. On the home stretch of work for the season, and moving to Marietta on Thursday and Friday. But if you're looking for something to read, Groo reports a shocking potential move up to the east side for Georgia Football clientele.

If this turns out to be true, I will be tickled that I didn't donate my intended piddly $1000.00 per seat for tickets this year (I am not a season ticket holder). I will also be scared that Georgia Football is getting too expensive for me.