Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Peeling the Onion

I cannot believe another month has passed since I last updated my blog. When I started writing, I was adding a new post almost every week. Now it has become a struggle to get something posted here once a month. And believe me, its not for lack of material. I simply have no time.

Here we are at the end of January and I am feeling completely overwhelmed. I started my new job within the Company at the end of December. My client is located in Indiana, so until we get some staff hired down there I have to drive there each week to meet with them. I actually enjoy the work, but the commute is already starting to take its toll. By the time I get home at the end of the week I am completely exhausted.

And it also means that the amount of time I get to spend with the Boy is drastically reduced. We basically see each other on Friday night and for a good portion of Saturday. Then on Sunday I need to get things organized at my house and on Monday I am back to work.

This weekend, we went to Pittsburgh to see Joshua Radin in concert. I bought the tickets a few months ago when I found out he was not coming to Michigan on his tour. At the time, it sounded like the perfect romantic getaway. After driving home from Indiana in a snow storm on Thursday night, the last thing I wanted to do on Friday morning was hop back in the car for another five hour trip, but there was no way I was going to miss the show.

In case you haven't heard of him, Joshua Radin is an alternative folk singer. He has three albums out and is probably on the verge of making it big. But right now, he is still playing small venues in college towns and a few larger cities throughout the county. I have been listening to his stuff for about a year. From the first time I heard his album called Simple Times, it has held a permanent spot in my car's CD changer.

I was hoping that it would be the type of concert where he would really relate to the audience and give us the back story on all of his songs, like so many folk singers tend to do. His music has gotten me through countless stressful days, I just couldn't wait to learn more about him.

The concert was held in a place called Mr. Small's Theater, which is an old church that was re-purposed as a concert hall. As the Boy drove up the winding road and parked the car, these huge white fluffy snowflakes began to scatter down from the sky. The air was completely still as we walked hand in hand up the steps and through the narrow corridor into the venue.

After sitting through the opening act, I felt my heart race as Joshua finally came out on stage. At first it took me a few minutes to connect with him. His voice sounded different than on the albums. After the first song, he started chatting with the audience just as I had hoped he would.

The more he explained his songs, it became clear that they were pretty much literal interpretations of his life. There is a song called "I'd Rather Be With You" that starts with the words "Sitting here on this lonely dock, watch the rain play on the ocean top." As it turns out, he wrote that song sitting on Santa Monica Pier. And it was raining. Like many of his songs, he wrote it for his ex-girlfriend. He was trying to win her back, but it just didn't work out.

Many of the stories he told us were about ill-fated relationships. And as I stood there waiting for some deep revelation, I noticed that for almost every song he used lyrics from the actual song as part of the introduction.

When the show was over, he mentioned that he would be coming out to greet his fans if we wanted to stick around. I had this vision of getting the perfect photo of Joshua and I to post on my Facebook page. But the security guard announced that we needed an orange wristband to be able to meet him. Lots of people were gathered around a merchandise table in the corner, which appeared to be the source of the orange wristbands. After checking with a few of the other fans, I found out that you had to buy two items from the table to get a wristband. Then you would be escorted to the line that was forming up by the stage to meet Joshua.

I decided to forgo the opportunity, but the Boy and I were able to dodge the venue's security long enough to see Joshua come out for the meet and greet. As the first two fans approached him, I watched as he smiled vacantly and posed for a photo with his arms casually placed on the shoulders of the guy and girl who stood beaming on either side of him. As much as I hated to admit it, the whole scene was a little cheesy.

I took one last glance at my alternative folk singer and the Boy and I headed out. It was cold and snowy so we went back to the hotel bar and got some wine to take up to our room. We cozied up on the couch and started talking. The Boy is sometimes reserved when it comes to deep conversation, but once the alcohol starts flowing he usually opens up.

For some reason the conversation turned to the topic of the future and what the Boy wants to do with his life. He was talking about something to do with acceptance and it reminded me of two words: selflessness and attachment. They have been on the Boy's dream board for months and I have been meaning to ask him about it.

The dream board is something one of his friend's suggested to help the Boy capture his vision. Basically you take a giant white board or bulletin board and you fill it with images or words that inspire you. The idea is that you look at those images every day and it helps you to stay focused on your goals. So the Boy bought a white board and built a really nice wooden stand for it in his bedroom. After that, it just sat there with a few random pieces of paper taped up until one day those words appeared on it in black dry erase marker.

So I asked him what it meant. He started explaining that there was a speaker after one of his yoga classes who talked about how selflessness plus attachment equals love, or something like that. And then there were some other things too, but he couldn't quite remember them. In fact he really didn't understand it at the time, but he wrote it up on his dream board because he thought maybe someday he would figure it out.

For months, I kept looking at those words on his board and thinking they must have this great significance to the Boy. But all they turned out to be was another unfinished project. I have been dating the Boy for over a year now. And it is almost two years when you add in the time we were together in Round 1. Yet no matter how much time we spend together, I can never seem to reach a more fulfilling intellectual connection.

It is sort of like peeling the onion. You keep asking why, and then why again, trying to get to a deeper level of understanding. I thought I was peeling the onion with the Boy, but it turned out to be more like cutting into a green pepper. You get through the initial thick skin and inside there is a lot of open space. And the core is kind of a mess.

The next morning as I lay in his arms in a big fluffy king sized bed, I decided not to dig too deep. The reason I am so happy with the Boy is the same reason I love Joshua Radin's music. It is simple and it makes me feel good. And in a time when my life is so complicated, maybe that is all I really need to know.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Maybe the boy is more evolved than you think? Maybe no one will ever fully understand the meaning of love or of selflessness and attachment. But, it is the wise person that recognizes that they do exist and simply tries to enjoy the journey.