When I was a child…
My cousins and I threw pieces of cheese into a fan in vain attempts to see it slice up like a butchers deli. We did try to eat them, after they were peeled from the walls they flew into… Not realizing until it was too late just how much dust can accumulate on the blades of a fan. I also believed there were only three grades and at the end of third, you graduated. Thus my belief in homework was in the literal sense, you worked on a home, building plans to make the blueprints for a house and then going out to build one. (I still hold the stubborn subconscious belief that the idea for Habitat for Humanity was stolen from a little six year old residing in Louisiana…. that and ThunderCats)
When I was a child…
I took two long thin shelves, nailed skate wheels to them and invented street skis. This idea did not go far.
No, seriously. I went about ten feet from the rope and bike my cousin pulled me on before I fell into a ditch. I also invented dessert pizza and breakfast pizza after a short obsession with the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. Those ideas I should have copyrighted. (So $&@# you, Food Network).
When I was a child, I wanted to be a cartoonist, then a filmmaker, married with kids and a producer of kids movies…
Then I wanted to be a writer, a storyteller. A bass player in a band, a stand up comic,
When I was a child, I wanted to connect the dots, THE dots, forming lines to people, lives and other stories. Strings that spanned continents and generations, decades of chronicles whether funny or poignant.
If I were to ask that same child now if he were proud of the man he grew into, I wonder what his answer would be.
I’ve done a lot of those things now, well, minus the whole band, bass player and married with kids thing… and maybe that’s why I’m lonelier than I’ve ever been in a while.
See the thing about having an adventure is having someone to share it with.
It’s great to do many new things outside of my box, but at the end of the day when I hang up my backpack, whip and fedora, there’s no one there to tell your tales to except a leather-bound journal.
Since the time of my last blog entry, I’ve gone home, toured the bayou I was born, boated along the river, learned to dance salsa from one of the cutest dance teachers ever, done a little rock climbing (all of which I will be posting about later this week) biked over a hundred miles, (in separate sessions of course), flirted, dated and have tried many an adventure.
It’s time to continue that adventure again.
I took a break from writing recently – hence the three-month long hiatus from the blog – not so much because I had writer’s block. I stopped because I was writing for an audience that didn’t include me anymore. I felt ego-driven, and I felt there was too much noise.
So I stopped talking to add to the noise.
If anyone were to ask me, what’s one of the strangest sound to your ears, it’s hearing the sound of my own name … it makes me slightly uncomfortable because it’s usually followed by a request.
Jason will you
Jason can you
Jason I need you to…
There’s never a “Jason, you’re awesome,” or a “Jason, you’re amazing.”
I do hear those things, mind you, but rarely are they actually connected with my name.
So hearing my name sometimes makes me feel awkward, because I know in a Pavlovian way, I’m about to be asked to do or give something of myself.
It’s kind of sad actually.
Not “Grave of the Butterflies” sad… (PS. don’t ever watch that movie)
But as a dear friend and brother recently told me, write when you feel it, not because you feel you have to.
The other day I was driving and I said my own name out loud to myself, just to see what it sounded like from my own voice.
It sounded so strange…. Like thorns on a mirror.
No one was there but me to hear it. And there was no request that followed afterward. Try it sometime, yourself. See what it sounds like from your own voice.
But like I said, that was the other day.
Today is another day.
Today, it’s a Sunday afternoon, Palm Sunday… and I find myself typing all this on my iPhone while sitting on a boulder, three thousand feet above L.A. looking down on the San Fernando Valley. When you’re down in the traffic, it’s easy to get lost in it all.
A week from now, I’ll go home again, and like last time, I’ll have another adventure; another to take from the list of the 20. I forget sometimes how much I miss my family. For three hundred and fifty one days, my family lives in a box called a smartphone. I hear them in the box, I might even see them once or twice a year through a portal called FaceTime. But I can’t hug them… Except once a year for fourteen days out of that year, I get on a plane, fly one to Louisiana and get to see them in “real time,” and I get to hug them, and hear them with my actual ears and not through an audio receiver. But after those fourteen days are up, I get back on a plane, and back into the box they go.
Thank God for that little box, though.
I miss my connections.
I miss laughing with people around me. I miss laughing at weird things, I miss being weird and having someone to be weird with. There’s a saying from a man with a very ordinary name that goes, “We’re all a little weird and life’s a little weird, and when we find someone whose weirdness is compatible with our own, we join up with them and we fall in mutual weirdness and call it love.”
Not long after did he change his name to a weird pseudonym.
Kids took to it though, especially after he wrote a book on a bet about a cat in a hat and started calling himself Dr. Seuss.
I think we need more weirdness in this otherwise mundane world of ours.
We need to be braver.
We need to be quirkier.
We need more grown ups who write about cats in hats, green eggs and ham. We need more moms who dance to department store music. Dads who jump in their sons Harlem shake videos for school and post them to Facebook. We need more teachers who teach comic books classes to kids…
Everybody has a “don’t tell anybody but…” moment.
Usually those moments end with, “I’VE DONE THAT TOO!”
And you know what happens after that?
A new connection.
All because in that short but scary moment, we decided to put down the cellphone, sign off from Facebook, and take down the shield to be a little more vulnerable.
I have a little less than six months and I’ve done a lot. But there’s still more to go.
I’m working with another dear friend to be more vulnerable than ever, and have gotten a few songs together to sing in front of an audience again – a feat I haven’t done for twelve years.
If you’re invited, I’ll supply earplugs at the door.
But for the meantime, it’s time to get back in the groove.