what is it about eric bachmann? i went to see him last night with my sister, psmee, and another friend, and it was pure bliss. no other songwriter has the pull over me that he does - i feel simultaneously heartbroken and elated every time i listen to his music, and somewhere in that tension is the magic. i can't even count how many times i've seen him - as a trio, solo, with a full band... i'm there every chance i get. he started with an old archers song (well, it was a late archers song), chumming the oceans, a song i never thought i'd hear. he played man o war and carrboro woman from the new album, as well as a variety of songs from crooked fingers albums, most notably, for me, new drink for the old drunk. spellbinding. i talked with him at length after the show and he was kind, personable, and so down to earth... i've certainly talked to lesser celebs and caught way more attitude and exclusivity... i was totally starstruck. still am, i think.
what a great weekend. highlights include, but are not limited to... -partying in baltimore for a coworker/friend's birthday. david simon attended. crazy! -shaking my thang at rock and roll hotel. free sparx = the way to kick a night off right. not so hot? andy rourke in the dj booth. a couple hits with a lot of filler, and terrible transitions. c'mon man, i learned how to work a basic crossfader at good ol' WUOG - after decades of rockstardom, you can't? -psmee is here! hanging out with her and her lovely mom are the obvious highlights, followed closely by the nap i took with sadie on the couch in front of the notre dame game. anytime you want help finishing off a bottle of your finest czech vintage, i'm your girl. -weeds. holy crap, what a great show. i watched the first disc of season 1. awesome. -3-eye cookies with the above lovely ladies and a meander through eastern market. -pimms cups on the porch with roommate to the strains of the great escape... our farewell to summer.
i've been making some big changes lately. well, more like one big one that has led to lots of little ones. but it started with a big mistake. a couple weeks ago a good friend of mine came to town. everything started out great - a big group of us went out and he&i had eyes only for each other. but the next day, when i saw how happy he was to see me, i shut down and shut him out. this is pretty standard for me - i figure out what i want, i get really close to it, and then i become overwhelmed by a barrage of "what ifs?" and the potential consequences of honesty. i don't face this paralysis anywhere but in my personal life. it's much easier to keep the things i want at arms-length, but before this, i never realized what that can do to the object of my conditional affection. this time i saw the before&after of my bait&switch, and it affected me viscerally. when i saw how his face changed over 24 hours, from the full-on, eyes locked grin of that morning to the eyes-downcast, half-smile of our goodbye, it finally hit me that my behavior was unacceptable. this time the "what ifs?" in my head were all about him - what if he thought it was his fault? that he'd done something to change my feelings? it kept me awake at night. so, as i worked on a way to make it up to him, the gears in the back of my head were, apparently, churning, steeling my resolve to stop living with this kind of regret. i've had wake-up calls before, but not like this. this time, at least for now, it seems to have taken. the weeks since have been unlike any others. instead of engaging in my typical two-steps-forward three-steps-back pas de deux, i've shot the liquid courage and taken decisive, unmistakable steps forward. toward the longtime questionmark, toward the bad boy. though these advances have been, to say the least, well-received, that's not really the point. the point is how it's changed the way i feel - there is real power in being forthright about your intentions. POWER. while these things raise as many questions as they answer (that could be because of who i choose, but that's a question for another time), the clarity in having any answers at all is undeniably refreshing. would i be singing a different tune if my advances had been rebuffed? possibly. i like to think not, but who knows? it's also not like i've been taking huge gambles. but i've got to remember how good it feels to actually take action. when you get down to it, making out is a lot more fun than running what-if scenarios all night long.
like many people, today i'm thinking a lot about where i was on this day five years ago. pretty much anyone who would read this blog knows my story, but i'm going to record it here for posterity. details are already fading as it is. as so many seem to remember, september 11, 2001 was a gorgeous day - clear with a hint of the crispness that signals the arrival of fall. i had just moved to washington, dc for graduate school and was just settling into my new schedule. my tuesday classes started late in the day, so when i woke up around 8:30 i decided to go for a run. even more unusual than that, i flipped on the tv when i returned. mom always told us that tv before school would make us stupid, so turning on the television in the morning has always been a bit transgressive to me. the first thing i saw was the gash in the world trade center. i called to my roommate, "i think something's going on... the world trade center is on fire." she joined me and together we watched the second plane hit. and then, the pentagon. i think my heart stopped for a second, and i know my face went grey and cold as i immediately reached for the phone, saying "oh my god, my dad." he had a variety of offices, one of which was in the pentagon. i dialed his 800 number and he picked up almost immediately, to my enormous relief. "dad, where are you?" "i'm in my office, sweetie." "WHICH ONE?? a plane just hit the pentagon!" fortunately, he was in suitland, maryland that morning, and because he'd been reviewing a closed-circuit briefing, he didn't even know yet that the pentagon had been hit. we chatted for just a moment and then i let him go, knowing he would have a lot to deal with in the coming hours and days. shortly thereafter my roommate's dad called, no small feat on a day of completely jammed communications. our situation was further complicated by the fact we'd just moved in so we didn't have a landline yet. he managed to get through to the front desk of our building, and the attendant there patched him through the ancient switchboard to us on the in-house phone, which i don't think we ever heard ring till that day. moments later he hopped in the car to make the trip from annapolis and bring us home. he made it into the district with relative ease, due to his quick thinking, so we grabbed a few items, not knowing how long we'd be away, and loaded up the van. our exodus was a shared experience - hundreds of commuters flowed up connecticut avenue on foot, many barefoot and carrying uncomfortable work shoes, everyone frantically punching cellphone buttons. once we cleared the district and reached the beltway, my cellphone - newly acquired, a nod to safety in the big city - went nuts. i checked in with my family, and then listened to message after message... "is your dad ok?" "i know you're in the district now, are you ok? please call me when you can." "i've been trying to get through, i sent you an email, i know you are way too close to this madness." when i arrived in annapolis, my family poured out the front door - dad, followed by sister and mom - all home, all safe. the hours and days that followed were strange and, at times, upsetting, but it's remarkable how quickly things returned to somewhat normal, at least in my memory. my classes at georgetown were canceled for a couple days, but i'll never forget the first time a passenger jet, in its normal approach to national airport, screamed through the sky over campus. it happens dozens of times every day, but that day everyone in the quad stopped and just looked skyward. i was so fortunate - no one i knew died in any of the attacks, but my dad was not so lucky. the plane that hit the pentagon hit the navy part of the building, and my dad lost many colleagues. i remember how he could point to photos of the wound in the side of the pentagon and identify the microwave and refrigerator in his break room. even still, whenver i run along the mount vernon trail to gravelly point, i cannot watch the jets arriving without thinking about that day. it's not scary at all, but it is a constant.