Wednesday, September 7

Depression and Music

I’ve fallen into the trap once again of not sitting down and writing. Though to be honest I was never stellar at keeping up a proper regimen in anything. I can’t seem to keep up with Aikido, even though I enjoyed it. I can’t seem to keep up with writing. I can’t finish 80% of the video games I have, even though I enjoy them.

I gave up smoking recently and I’d have to say, I don’t enjoy it. I didn’t enjoy smoking either and I’m trying to convince myself of that at least. It’s been hard. Without smoking I’m quite aware of all the downtime there is in my life. My first real crisis of commitment came less than a week in. I survived it and another one that came later as well. I know I’m supposed to be happy about being freed from the terrible crutch. So far, however, it’s been pretty damn hard to separate how my life has improved in the past week.

I certainly don’t seem to be saving a significant amount of money as I’m feeling more crunched than ever right now. It’s amazing how one missing student, one loss of an expected pay out, can really fuck over my mood for the whole day. Were you to look at my upcoming social calendar you might question why I claim to be depressed at all in the slightest. Thing is, in this city it’s damn expensive to do absolutely anything at all ever. So the loss of even one lesson, when you depend on that for most of your income, hurts because of the sacrifice that will be needed.

My students don’t notice though. They don’t expect me to be depending on them. To be fair, I haven’t told them. So they cancel, go about their lives. Shift my schedule around to suit them, disappear all together. To them I’m just one hour a week, take it or leave it. To me they’re breakfast, lunch, and dinner for the day. 1/27th of the rent for the month. 1/3rd of the phone bill. 1/4th of the transportation costs. And this doesn’t factor in the price of the drink I need to buy just to be able to teach, period. Most cafe’s don’t like non-paying customers taking up seats for an hour or two. They must know I’m buying the cheapest thing on the menu and nursing it as much as I can.

But don’t get me wrong.

I like what I do. I’m short on cash because I often get to spend time with friends doing wonderful and expensive things. I live in a shit-house apartment that seems like it’s ready to collapse at every earthquake, that is if the roaches don’t bring the place down first. Still costs me a fortune but it’s better than the street. I get that. I like the schedule. I like my students.

Of course perception and attitude about life can be affected by location in enormous. I write this section two hours deep into a jam session at a nearby venue populated by friends and strangers alike. The night opened with a mix of Billy Idol and disco funk, followed up with some ol’fashioned blues and a little Jamaican rock. Then a set by someone best described as a simultaneous reincarnation of James Brown. Dressed in a three-piece suit and sunglasses. Inside. At night.

Towards the end of the night, the ability level tends to drop. Those not confident in their skill have waited patiently. They are eager and nervous, boosted by liquid courage. But that is part of the beauty of the jam. The raw, unrefined music still has a piece of soul that all artists strive for. These people, these musicians, they are not what you would call professionals in the classic sense. No albums of gold or platinum. But on a rainy Tuesday night, they create an enthusiastic noise.

Despite all my complaints, my so called troubles, my insecurities. Nights that produce experiences on this level are not something to be passed up. No matter what.