Sunday, November 29, 2009

Living alone in New Orleans

Po Boy Views
Phil LaMancusa
Chicken Pox Pie
Before They Make Me Run

Don’t be surprised if your phone calls for my comments are not returned by my agent, lawyer or publicist. Don’t get alarmed if my people don’t get back to your people. Or if I don’t show up for that power lunch, photo op, rehearsal or arraignment. No longer will I be seen at testimonials, depositions or sub-committees. Fund raisers will have to go on without me. I weary of public life. I want to be alone.
So, you may ask, do I lead some kind of hotshot existence? Nope. Am I being stalked or pursued by paparazzi? Nah. Am I avoiding creditors, loan sharks or star struck groupies? Fat chance. What exactly do I have going on? Not much.
Let me ask you this; how much time do you, or any of us, actually spend alone? No television, no music, no conversation, reading material or outside stimulation? No smoke, beverage, dog on a chain, mall to go to or mail to go through? Not at your place of employment, the grocery store, gas station or in the line at the post office?
No, this is what probably happens: you wake up in the morning to the alarm (!) clock’s warning, get out of bread and think about caffeine, brush teeth, hair, shower, Shinola and shave. Get to work, go to lunch, yabba dabba dabba and get home and fed, get out and commiserate, blah, blah, blah. Watch a little tube action, talk on the phone, text someone, go on Facebook, plan an outing or a trip and have a little bit too much to drink, brush your teeth set the alarm, yawn, yawn, yawn and back to bed. Pick up the pace, it’s the days of wine and roses. Let’s see if we can do it again-- tomorrow --a bit faster… this time with feeling.
The weekends are no better: sleep late (maybe 9:00 AM?), go for a run or much needed work out, breakfast out for a change, then there’s laundry, groceries, straighten up the house, call your mother (tell her why you missed church), get together with a few friends, watch the game, yadda yadda, yadda, smart cocktails and some yuks, go to a show, hear some ‘live, local music (!)’, a few more drinks and stumble into bed…somewhere in there you might even have gotten laid, good luck.
You do not have time to get a cold, a toothache or menstrual cramps it’s enough to do squeezing time in to see a doctor, tax consultant or even get to the bank. It takes forever to pay your bills by regular post. Time, time time; where does it go? There are not enough hours in the day, right? You’re up a creek if something goes wrong with your ride, especially on the weekend. If your cat swallows something weird (and they do) on a Sunday, you are screwed. And, as you well know, you can’t get bleep done on a holiday.
Take a class? A hike? A break? A meeting? Remember to send a card? You’ve got to be kidding!
Throw a mate or a critter or a garden or kids or a vice into the mix and you can be stretched thinner than creek water. “Pay attention to me, take me out, let’s go do something, humor me, work with me…. enough about you, pay attention to me, me me”. Do you realize how much time you spend paying attention to a cigarette? Cleaning the litter box? Mowing that !@#$$%&* lawn or watering that ungrateful refuse to flower gardenia bush and ignoring yourself? Booze and pills and powders; you can choose your medicine.
There are variations to this theme, but, when was the last time all you needed was the air that you breathed? I know, I know… it’s called life and love and laughter and it’s all about taking it to the limit. Press the pedal to the metal, pay your dues, concern yourself, live up to responsibilities, pull your weight, tote that barge, lift that bale. Take care of business. Ya gotta do what ya gotta do and nobody does it better than you. We’re counting on you.
Listen, the success, meaning, quality, purpose, goal, value, significance and importance of your life is worthy of your utmost consideration; it is not everything. How you interact in your world as a positive force is the only hope that we have for our collective sanity; it has to come from a calm space; cognizant, aware, mindful, again, it is not everything. It is not the be all and end all of living.
It takes a bit of age and tooth, and a wee bit of wisdom, to reach the point where you can just sit down and breathe, quiet your rampaging mind and, as we used to say… be still. It takes and amount of maturity to know that you cannot go on at the pace of life without recharging your batteries. I need to take time off and do that. Why? Because I miss me. I’m wearing myself out and that’s no way to treat a friend; and, at one time I was a great friend of mine.
So what do I do? Sit in the dark, come down with the flu, put my nose in a corner or lock myself in the bathroom? Pack it in and get a pick up? Not logical, practical or feasible.
What I really need to do is, being that I’m on stage more than Frankie The Dog Faced Boy, is steal ‘time outs’ for myself. Short walks and long showers, space outs and cookies and milk, cat naps that begin with staring at the ceiling and wandering the aisles of book shops and thrift stores with no intent on purchase, driving (for lack of a better word) with no destination as meditation. Getting lost, not looking to be found and other simple pleasures selfishly consumed and digested. Mindless meanderings and temporary amnesia, that’s the ticket.
Let’s see; where am I, who am I, and, what am I doing? I think I’ll take a meander out of doors and get busy doing nothing. I think I’ll go try to find lots of things not to do. You know what they say, loose your mind and gain your senses. Amen to that..

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