Friday, September 26, 2008

Who am I then? Tell me that first, and then, if I like being that person, I'll come up: if not, I'll stay down here till I'm somebody else. - Lewis C

So I watched a movie. That was the beginning of the whole "remove the head from the butt" journey. It was not a special movie, just another Mel Gibson adventure flick, full of hot, half-naked guys. I don't know why that particular show spurred me in the direction I am now headed, but hey whatever wakes us up...

Fifteen years of dedication to a child and to one's conception of what makes a good parent can really do a lot to fuck up your sense of self. After all that concentration on one person, what do you do when that person begins to move away from you? If you don't want to become a fat, unhappy nag, overly-dependent on her vibrator, you decide to get your life back. Remember when you had friends? Played games? Travelled the world? Took karate? Learned the flute? Wrote stories, drew pictures, acted? What the fuck happened to that person? Look deeper, she is still there.

I liken it to leaving home for the first time. Whether you left your safe and comfortable home to go to college or move in with your first boyfriend, or even if you ran away from a shit situation, having your kid grow up and discover his life as his own has that same refreshing, slightly terrifying, my-whole-life-is-ahead-of-me-now realization. Even if such remaining whole life is a wee bit shorter than it used to be, that same excitement is there. The same questions pop up. Now what do I do? and how the fuck do I do it?

Why do we have to keep going down the dusty normal road because society says so? It works great for a while, gets the kid raised and on his road to whatever, but do we really need to keep it up after he is cooked and gone? I think not. As far as I know, we only have one go-round, and I plan on getting as much out of it as I can.

Like quitting smoking, you just make the decision. Once that decision is made, it all falls into place. Pull those rusted, creaking, cobwebbed instincts out of the trunk you have them buried in, and let them free. Follow them and see where they lead you. They didn't do you wrong before, they won't let you down this time. Pick up the damn paintbrush, scream into the microphone, spread your legs and get fucked. That is a good start.

Me? I took a long weekend and went to California. Actually, I flew to Vegas on the spur of the moment, rented a car and drove down Route 66 to Indio, met a shitload of artists and a movie star or two, and began my love affair with Mexico. I realized then that I do still have a creative bone, thoughts, opinions, passions, life inside me and I needed to nurture these things before they completely crumbled away.

What better way to commemorate the occasion of my rebirth then to get a really bad tattoo at the Mandalay Bay in Vegas, between checking out the Star Trek and Atomic Test Site museums, while waiting for the flight home. So, okay, kind of like those tats I got 20 years ago, maybe that instinct didn't seem so smart at the time, but it worked out in the end.

While everyone else my age is happily planning their retirements, building additions on their homes, weathering their mid-life crises through purchasing power, I am taking the low, low, low road. I don't want to be a happy homeowner anymore, growing roses, proud of my new shower faucet, my RRIFs, GICs, estate planning. I believe I would rather drive my big ugly1978 panel van, with the floorboards through which my feet fit nicely, and hope it will make it to wherever the hell I am going at the moment.

Of course, good thing I actually have a house and a career of sorts, else how could I fund my bohemian rants... But baby steps, baby steps. Start with the realization, move on up to disposing of all possessions and living the monk's life.

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