Friday, September 23, 2011

Home For Wayward Musicians;part 3

Where was I? Mavrin, oh yea. So I was pulling in about 80 to 100 dollars a month playing with Mavrin. I could pretty much drink and smoke for free because there were always people from the Tavern playing and they'd let me sit in. The perks of being accepted in that way meant you got brain numbing or enhancing agents given to you.

Most of my basic needs were covered but I'd never confronted the issue of How Am I Going to Eat? Fortunately, I was not that much of a food fanatic at that time. And Dave had experience in the world of limited or no means. This experience carried over to matters like laundry as well.

I learned about buying rice, and mixed frozen vegetables and other cheap stuff. We'd cook a lot of rice, and he'd mix his with chicken noodle soup and I'd mix mine with beans or mixed vegetables. I learned about dried beans and soaking them. Stuff I didn't ever have to do before. When I was married, my wife was the brains of the outfit. I had, however learned to iron before landing in the wayward home.

My youth was spent in a sweatshop behind the house making spears and other parts for spearguns. And doing yardwork. I was not well schooled on normal day to day aspects of maintaining one's life. To this day, I am very bad at it. Also, I have a tough time attaching reward to work. That may be because the reward to work connection was not obvious or just because I have peculiar wiring. I have done well at finding some satisfaction in about any work I've done, though. Once I get started. Getting started is an issue for some other story.

I spent some time there, rolling the van downhill to get it started, showing up at various places in a fifty mile radius to sit in and drink free, eating cheaply and probably more healthfully than I had in a year or two, and playing harp for Mavrin's rockabillys at some very odd and spooky venues. I won't go into that.

The goings on at Dave's house are a bit foggy in my memory. I remember some young ladies there who for some reason were hanging around in undergarments, yet they weren't actually with anyone. I couldn't say no at that phase of life. I'm lucky no inconvenient diseases were passed my way.

We had to do what we could to stop Steve B from shoplifting from the neighborhood market. It was a small place and the guy running it knew that guitar player was stealing. Slime ball. That is where we bought our rice and other things.

It was still winter and rather chilly. Dave's house had an oil fired heater in the middle of the living room. The oil tank was on the side of the house. We couldn't afford oil, but it turns out the Cat Lady's house, through the woods, nearby, was vacant as she'd been relegated to a home. Not sure what happened to all the cats. There's a reason Dave called her the Cat Lady.

With the Cat Lady in the rest home, or sanitarium, and the house vacant, and apparently never going to be otherwise. At least she'd never be back. It did not seem unreasonable to prevent her heating oil from going to waste, which it would have.

I felt proud suggesting a bucket line using milk jugs. We soon had enough oil to get the heater fired up. Maybe I am only remembering it this way, but I am pretty sure I was the one who figured out how to get the heater going. Dave may have played a part. He seemed adept at such things. I do know it took some doing, and that the guitar guy, Steve B, was not useful for that.

Had we wanted to attempt arson or something, then Steve B would be the go to guy. I kind of recall that Dave did his best to keep him away from the heater firing process. Steve would be the type to poor gasoline in there if it wasn't lighting immediately.

Eventually, I realized I couldn't live with no aim whatsoever, so I went to Miami to straighten out a bit, work with a friend, and oversee roofing work being done on my mother's house while she was out of town. Then I went back to NC and lived other crazy places. The drying out did not last, but I did have an awakening of sorts that helped in future days and probably kept me alive.

To this day, I know if I'm in a bind I can wash clothes in the sink or the bathtub, I can soak beans in good times and bad, cook rice and live cheap. I've never met anyone else who put stick on letters on a nice Gibson guitar, or met anyone prone to misspelling his own name.

Dave absolutely was good for his word. We made a good team, he having a van, me a license. He never would let me pay much of anything after that initial utility bill, but he did put the bill collector hammer down on sleazy Steve, so I guess that kept the lights on.

I remember one night we were lost in the van and a cop stopped us, He gave me a drunk test but let us go because we were sure we were only a couple of blocks from our destination. It turns out we were a long way off course, but on back roads. I recall we made it somewhere, but where, I can't say. I did keep to completely untravelled streets, but it is good I did not do anyone harm.

That old van was great. I wish they still offered a stick shift on the column like that. Three on the tree with a straight six engine is a recipe for reliability and easy repair.

None of this is the sort of life anyone would have expected of me. Clean cut, good test scores, naturally somewhat innocent, and of a middle to upper middle class upbringing. Truth is, I kind of expected worse.

I expected to be a career criminal of some kind. But then I realized the moral implications of taking what is not yours. Other crime, like drug sales involves people who are just too worthless to do business with so I didn't be a criminal. Although I see nothing wrong with an individual growing poppies or pot or whatever for their own use or even for sale in many circumstances. The feds see it another way, and I am not drawn to that business or to crossing paths with the slimy authorities.

It has been a very disjointed journey. On minute I am engrossed in patenting a thing which had ample market, then I blindly quit it altogether, then before I know it I'm playing some backwoods redneck lunatic bin with Mavrin's Rockabillys, Racing Van parked strategically outside for quick getaway and good downhill starting runway.

And before I know it, I'm a semi-hermit trying to figure out what I must do to feel normal or at least on a pt toward balance, stability and adequate companionship. I guess I don't try too hard at the figuring of that. It does feel much better not being drunk and convinced that the things of self destruction must be right. If nothing else, I do have that.

One thing for sure, I had a lot more women around when I was poor, drunk and crazy. But after that I lost the ability to not take others seriously, and I look at consequences to others as well as myself. That sucks.

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Ballistic Mountain, CA, United States
Like spring on a summer's day


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