Blueprinting resolutions is one thing. Carrying out the construction until completion, is another. I say this as somebody who’s abandoned the building site multiple times before. And though I’ve rarely relinquished resolve to a face of adversity besides the one in my mirror--I’m almost tenacious to a fault in that regard--there have been times when a shake in my self-assurance has been sufficient enough to quake a crippling riff in the foundation, and convince me to toss the whole plan in defeated despondency, until desperation calls for me to commence rebuilding once again. The runaway I’ve become so accustomed to throughout the years... But I’m merely recycling turds; you’ve already heard this shit before.
Overtime however, I’ve ascertained through asinine repetition that even the most concrete resolve can be cracked unto collapse. In fact, the ones most unrelenting seem to be the ones subject to the most devastating disasters. And perhaps my foundations have been rocked to rubble so many times before, because the expectations with which they are made--the expectations I hold for myself and the situations I ‘think’ I should be in control of--are so unrelenting. And that last week or so in Sydney, became a ‘bend or break’ paradigm. I learned to let a little give in myself, and the world around me; make that foundation a little bit quake-proof. I realized sometimes you’ve just got to go with the flow, lest you drown fighting the current. There was a lot that I wasn’t in control of, but it wouldn’t be that way forever, so I might as well grab myself a beer and enjoy the ride down the river. All while at the same time, maintaining that resolve. It didn’t mean I was letting go, I was just giving myself some slack. Sometimes slack can give you graceful strength. It can give you endurance.
And I’ve come to find that when strength of mind successfully keeps the body of that foundation intact, resolve is like a drug. A self-packaged steroid. An eye opening amphetamine to the likes of which Dr. Leary would approve. The more you push and stretch yourself with victorious force, the more you learn about yourself, the world around you, and what you’re capable of. The more bullshit you drag your feet through, the better you get at marching past it. You subject yourself to a series of self-revelations. Beautifully, results are aggregated exponentially. The more doors you kick open, the more you find on the other side. The more you stretch yourself, the broader your perspective. You get hungry for the knowledge, and experience outside of what you’ve known. And though you might find yourself a bit surfeit with it through the next morning, week, or month, eventually you’ll develop an appetite once again. Mine started slowly growing in Sydney. I came close to snapping, but still came out mostly smiling in the end.
That being said...
The rain didn’t let up for more than ten minutes for ten days. It looked like the gods were set on making Atlantis out of us. I didn’t mind it too much at first. I always found the rain rather refreshing in intervals. Besides, I told myself that there wasn’t much that could be done about it. I still sloshed through sidewalk streams to make it to where I wanted to go. Kevin couldn’t stand it. He seemed to think the skies had begun to exercise a personal vendetta against him. He stayed in most of the day in the hostel, indignantly cursing the clouds. On days he accompanied me to the gym or elsewhere, the constant complaints almost became grating.
“Bro! This rain fucking sucks, man. This is ridiculous. I can’t believe I’m in this right now. Uhhhhhggg... Fuuuuuck... It’s so wet.”
“I know, man. You and four million some other people. You didn’t have to come to the gym with me...”
“Uuuuughhh! So Wet! Fuuuuuuuck... (In the cadence of John McClane circa Nakatomi Plaza-Glass Removal From Foot Scene).
But I did my best to give some give, and maintain resilience. Besides, I figured maybe he had begun to succumb to a bit of the worry that I had in that hostel room about his own current situation. And bitching along with, or against his bitching wasn’t going to make us any drier.
And to be honest, there was a point at which the gall of his grievances became frankly humorous in the most baffling of manners. He had a knack for reminding you how insanely deep the bullshit was while you were doing your best to crawl out of it. Like sideline spectator who reminds the losing team that they’re twelve points down with one minute left. Or the guy who stood beside me while I once watched my truck go up in flames in San Diego and said, “Oooh, that doesn’t look good. Something go wrong?” And it always seemed like a competition of personal catastrophe that Kevin sought to win like a champion, not matter how powerful his opposition might be. Like the ass-tulip who violently coughs and emphatically expresses how rough his cold virus has been to a bed-ridden cancer patient. I eventually just learned to laugh at it, it amazed me.
*Now please don’t get me wrong. I love Kevin like a brother, and he has grown up a great deal since those days. We both have. We’ve both developed patience and greater perspective. We’ve both learned to put up with each other’s shit, as well as our own. In fact, Kevin would be the one to make mention of it over a year later in Thailand, mid-discourse on traveling with company:
“Bro, you just have to learn to deal with people’s shit. I have to deal with yours, you have to deal with mine, and so on...”
Well stated, Sir. In that case you could have called me your personal Turd Trader, I dealt with your shit in surplus. Jk. Though you still do owe me a fucking jacket...
And perhaps most importantly, in the midsts of his complaints and that perspective, I was given the chance to see things from the other-side. I was able to regretfully reconsider all of the times that I had bitched, pissed, and moaned about my rather trivial ‘problems’ back in the day, like a fucking infant while others dealt with problems of equal and far greater proportion than mine, like adults.
Sorry about that...
A couple of times he pulled the same “this rain is shit” routine after losing a rain jacket he borrowed from me, earlier in the week in a drunken stupor. And if I wasn’t just so impressed with the sheer audacity of it, I’m fairly sure frustration would have forced me to shit a brick and hit him with it.
And the peeved huff and puffs played out for nearly every situation I already knew to be well shitty...
“Bro! The cut on the inside of my lip hurts so bad. Those Kiwi’s totally fucked my lip up... Fuuuuuuuck...”
I can barely open my jaw, and I’ve still got a plumb for an eye. Really?
“What do you think hit harder Kev, those Kiwis, or the concrete?”
“Bro, fuck you.”
I smiled and laughed.
It even played out for the diarrheic spending spree that continued the entirety of our stay. There came a point when we both knew we needed to stop hemorrhaging money. Of course, I was aware of it. But fiscal responsibility for the most part, tended to be something within conscious control. And that was easily washed away with the aid of tipping tumblers as I mentioned before. An action we consciously commenced... Still, early mornings found us re-establishing self-assertion to keep the cash flow a bit lighter. Kevin’s mornings were doubled down with contrition after he’d find some record of the last night’s expenses. I remember one time in particular, in the elevator as we made our way to a late breakfast.
“So, uh, what the fuck happened last night, bro?”
“Fucking Side Bar happened, man.”
“Well played Side Bar, well played.”
*Kevin excavates his pockets looking for clues and finds his credit card receipt*
“Bro! I spent a hundred and forty dollars last night...”
“Oh yeah, you ended up buying rounds for those four girls from Indiana.”
“Awesome... Did I get laid?”
“Shit... Well did you at least?”
“If it makes you feel any better, your dance moves were worth at least fourteen of that hundred and forty.”
Wait for it.
There it is.
A smile and laugh encore.
Again, even here, I decided to give myself a little bit of slack. And I’m glad I did. There’s nothing more ridiculous than spending a grip of money and being too butt-hurt after spending it to enjoy the time you bought with it. Or being too butt-tight to spend a bit of money for the good time in the first place. I can count multiple times I almost backed out of nights, trips, sky dives, bungee jumps, or other experiences I’ll never forget, from that day onward because I was worried about spending the money. Luckily from that day onward, I had kept in mind that you only get one ride on this big blue ball, and money is meant to be spent. Of course I wouldn’t suggest pawning your shoes for crack, but within reason, there’s no shame in living a little bit. And when the money’s spent, it’s spent. No sense in whinging about it. If you need to reform your spending habits, then do so. But if you’re going to blow money out of your ass like Montezuma’s Revenge, you can’t cry over the mess you made, or the monetary weight you lost.
As for me, I realized I could slightly reform my spending habits and still get blasted. Maybe, I’d just turn in a bit earlier than 3 AM; when the nights seemed to get really expensive. Cut my losses and head to bed unless something exceptional seemed on the brink. I’d stick to beer and leave the pricey shots and cocktails off the tab. Mostly though, I was going to make a conscious effort to not worry about it too much, or whinge about it, if I did get carried away. And it wasn’t always easy. Ironically it usually took a couple beers and a few minutes to convince myself that it was all going to be okay. That I could ride that account a little longer. Kevin on the other hand, did a wicked job of keeping up the hundred and forty dollar nights, and coming down on himself hard and heavy the next morning... Maybe Von Disco was beginning to get the best of him.
Now some of you might have understood Kevin’s inquiring as to whether he got laid or not after buying those rounds, as a means of justifying the money spent. And if you did, chances are good that you have a penis, or you don’t, and you have a good understanding of how all that is attached to the penis works. And as I’ve never been one to candy-coat a turd, I’ll deliver this one real straight and forward-like. Any man who offers to buy a woman a drink with no intention of being shouted back--with the exemption of being a relative, friend, or someone who is trying to get rid of a surplus of money--usually has expectations. *Although those exemptions are not always beyond those expectations... For the most part, expectations are vaginal. Though sometimes anal, depending on the venue and/or drink. I don’t condone it, I’m just explaining it. There’s a reason I don’t buy random girls drinks.
I’ve got 99 problems... I kid, I’m far from that cool.
Kevin was caught up in it. In fact, in the beginning, we both were. How couldn’t you be. We seemed stuck in a Victoria’s Secret spread all day and night. You couldn’t think straight most of the time as the majority of your blood seemed to spend full-time in the front half of your pants. Either way, nights found us back in the hostel empty handed. And that's something that begins to wear on you after a while. I understood. Especially given the scene. You start to feel like a diabetic in a candy store. It’s all over the aisles, and that’s where it has to stay. I think when it came down to Kevin, he just got too drunk to even remember his own name, much less carry on a conversation with somebody of the opposite sex, and lead it elsewhere. He still tried though. As for me, as I mentioned, I let go for the most part and kept to myself, and I’ll get to that. I suppose there are just sometimes when I would rather sit and drink my beer, than think and hear. I know that the beer will eventually give me a headache, but at least I’m guaranteed to enjoy it’s company. It didn’t always work out that way with the other company.
You are officially an alcoholic...
And for the most part, any built-up frustration in and around your balls can usually be relieved with a high-speed internet connection in the comforts of your home, or public restroom depending on your criminal record. But dormitory dwelling doesn’t really provide the luxury of that relief. You can’t really head back early from the bars at night, crack one off with your pants around your ankles, and pass out with a beer in the other hand. And for those of you who might be saying hot shower! No. Stop it. Aside from just seeming wrong, most dorm showers share the same room with the shitters. And the thought of trying to rock one off while there’s a good chance that some other dude in proximity could be going purple-faced trying to pinch one off, makes my puke want to puke. Now, it of course has been my experience on multiple occasions that unreserved sex in the dorm room--no matter how many sleeping parties are present--is totally passable. In fact, I’ve placed ‘hearing the sloppy couple bone down in the dorm bed beside you,’ a close second behind ‘watching Basic Instinct with your parents’ on the list of Moments I Wished I Could Teleport. That being said, the most obvious way for you to relieve that tension, is to make like that sloppy couple, or twenty take minutes of cold shower to chase the heat away... The former didn’t seem to be happening for either of us. Luckily, the cold showers came with a step outside. Frustrations were still voiced on the daily.
“Bro, I think my balls are starting to get heavy.” Mentioned Kevin, with an anxious grimace on his face as he glanced around at the women surrounding him.
“Ha. I’ve got to write that one down. And yeah, I know what you mean.”
I laughed and shook my head. “I’m going to head to the bar.”
“It’s two in the afternoon, there aren’t going to be any girls there.”
“Kev, if it was two in the morning and the place was packed with ‘em, do you think you’d make anything of it?”
“Case and point, Von Disco, I need a cold shower and a beer. I’ll figure I’ll get the shower on the walk there.”
And there you have it. As some of you might have assessed, part of my letting go may have been facilitated by my holding onto a lot of bottles. Fuck it. It was pouring rain, and after a series of sights seen, and errands run, I had little else to do but sit and drink. I didn’t want to deal with much else. If I couldn’t control everything, I could at least kick back, and soak up the suds and atmosphere, and maybe learn something in letting it all control me.
Cut yourself some slack. You can surface when the storm is over. For now, stay down and enjoy the chaos.
Besides, the buzz was a bit of my own vacation away from the constant complaints. Especially when it turned out the ‘conscious lights’. And I knew that for the most part, it would be a temporary trip. I was on holiday anyway. In addition, it seemed to help me think positively. At least from the parts I remember.
Didn’t Dickey Barrett once say something about “drunks and fighters?” After three sheets, the subsequent ones seem to know your best ink...
So, glued to a barstool with a beer before me, I had a lot of time to sit and turn out subtle revelations that I’m still cognizant of today. Parts good, parts bad, and parts neutral. Either way, they kept me wanting to continue with resolutions.