The Nitty Gritty

But more than all of those I am an entertainer. I carry around a ukulele with me for the same reason a gangster carries a gun; better to have it and not need it than need it and not have it. Stage or sidewalk, Your Pal Pete shows are just where they happen.
Currently, I'm working on a musical, RagnaPOP(or she's got the bomb), set to premiere at this year's Capital Fringe Festival. I'm also working on music, comedy, and musical comedy; for kids and/or adults.
The fruit of these projects will be available on this site, so check back regularly!

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

2008:My Year In Suck

In the excellent Clash documentary Westway To The World, a journalist surmises about Mick Jones’ childhood living with his grandmother in the projects; that he probably looked out on to the westway by where he lived and wondered what was to become of his life. Thinking about my own life, I knew that my family was aggressively middle class, so I didn’t have that feeling of growing up hopeless. I didn’t realize it at the time but I was soon to find out what it felt like to have grown up hopeless.

I didn’t have the Westway, but when I lived in Phoenix I had the South Rim, with the mountains making a hazy outline against the thick smog, visible as milk in the cereal bowl of the valley. I wondered, what the fuck now? I still don’t know.

To finish my book, I kind of took myself “off the grid” as it is popularly said. I spent a huge part of 2007 living at a house in Iowa, then in Texas living with my then-girlfriend. I finished the book and unfortunately the relationship didn’t work out, so I tried moving back to the DC area and you know, get back on “The Grid.”

The Grid keeps throwing me back off.

January: After unsuccessful attempts to get a job (although I worked the Christmas season at my old toy store job. It was only part-time, so it was only partly masochistic) and a place to live, I move in with my Mom in Phoenix. As I may have mentioned…

Pros- I get to spend more time with my family, especially my niece and nephews.
Cons- Just about every other god-damn thing about it.

I fucking hate Phoenix, and I got to spend part of the summer there. People love to say, “But it’s a dry heat!” So is being on fire. Tim Roth in the movie Bodies, Rest and Motion when he said an Arizona summer was good practice for Hell.

July: After saving enough money from working at a place that refills printer cartridges, I move back to the DC area. Not wanting to repeat previous mistakes I get a place to live with my friend Misha and a place to work full-time. It’s at my friend Dave’s guitar store, so it’s kind of the perfect job for me. Or it may have been if my hours were constantly getting cut until I only worked two days a week. I understood their need to cut costs, but my landlord would probably not be as understanding.

Fall ’08: I got another job pretty quickly, as a theater manager at the new Montgomery Cinema and Drafthouse. As with many new places, the inspections and finishing touches took a little while, so thank God for those two days a week at the Guitar Store. When it finally opened, the stress of juggling and putting out fires (metaphorically, of course), almost got the best of me there. I got laid off at the Guitar store, which I didn’t mind at the time because it magically gave me two days off a week, up from zero.

After a while I really started to enjoy my work and even got promoted to shift manager. A new wrinkle developed by chance one night when I got pushed on stage to introduce a comedy show there and did about 5 minutes worth of material that went over pretty well. My bosses said that I could do some more MCing if I wanted to. Uh, yea, I do!

Then it closed. Just a bit before Christmas, in the midst of an economic panic. What the fuck was I going to do?

2008 fucking sucked. But looking my life right now, the evidence of how lucky I really am is impossible to ignore.

Of course there’s my Mom, for letting me live with her and trying to help me out of the paralyzing depression that dominated the first half of this year.

There’s Misha, who took me in when I needed it and made moving back to the area that I feel most comfortable in possible.

There’s Steven, my boss at the toy store. His help this year has saved my ass more times –especially- this year more times than I can relate.

And last, but certainly not least, is my friend Shawn, who has supported me in every conceivable way this year.

Overall, I’m doing pretty well considering that I got laid off twice this year. I have a roof over my head and no out of control debt. I actually have a job, albeit one that has almost driven my literally insane in the past. After the year I just had, the stresses there are a lot easier to deal with. Yes, it’s sad that I am wistful for when I was merely unhappy, but that seems to be as much as anyone can hope for with what everyone else is going through. We as Americans are not used to worrying so much about our survival, but we’ve learned a valuable lesson that much of the rest of the world already knows: until you stop worrying about survival, fretting about happiness is a luxury that’s easily left behind.

2009 has to be better, right? We can still hope, so I will. Happy New Year and many happy returns to everyone. I don’t have any resolutions personally, I just want more of what this year sorely lacked: money, security and happiness.

Oh, and feminine affection. Much more of that, please!

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