Category Archives: Complete

Accidental Hitchhiking

Yeah, it was an accident.

I had had a wonderful night of drinking and music and dancing, and was determined to get home despite multiple offers from friends to put me up for the night.

Earlier, I had bought a bus pass that would enable me to take the night bus home. I waited at the stop for a long time, which probably was actually just a couple minutes, and then gave up in favour of cabbing home. I waved, a large, black man pulled over and I hopped into his car.

We talked about many things, most of which I don’t remember. I think we talked about careers. I found out that he runs a renovation business.

As we approached a major intersection near my apartment, I instructed him to stop, with a view to saving a dollar or two, but he insisted on taking me all the way home. I didn’t argue but I noticed, with spotty anxiety smothered by drunk optimism, that there was no meter. When we got close to what I thought was my home, I reached into my pocket and asked how much he wanted. He was politely offended, as though, first of all, a car who responds to the UNIVERSAL TAXI GESTURE should reasonably not be a taxi, and second of all, a girl out alone on empty, dark streets at 5am still had enough wits about her to imagine this possibility. He gave me his card and told me that he just wanted to be nice, get me home safely, and hoped that I would pass on the good deed to someone else.

I smiled a lot, shut the door, waved as he drove away and immediately dialled a friend’s number. The walk home turned out to be a longer walk than I had expected because I wasn’t actually home yet.

He was a wonderful man, but this could have been very bad. I will count this as hitchhiking, but I want to do it again, on purpose. And I should probably be with someone else, next time.

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Open Mic Night

Last week I went to inspect an open mic that I knew was happening. I ended up running into someone from my program in university, which was cool; I’d seen her perform at coffee houses a couple years ago and she seemed awesome, so it was nice to actually meet her. She said she often comes to this place, so I was both happy I’d see her again, and anxious because I knew it would make performing more difficult; I wanted to perform to a completely random audience, for self-preservation’s sake.

But oh well. I called up a guy I play music with sometimes, and asked if he wanted to do a couple songs. He came over yesterday, and we prepared “Just a Boy” by Angus and Julia Stone, and “9 Crimes” by Damien Rice. It was fine. I practised a bit today, got the notes I couldn’t hit at first, and was good to go.

This was the first time I sang publicly, I’m pretty sure. There was no mic at the open mic (…), and my friend plays really loud and gets intense, so I was completely drowned out. I tried to sing louder but in doing so, I forced my voice and hit some wrong notes. It sucked, at least in my head. My piano was fine, though. I’m sure it wasn’t as bad as I thought, which was also what my friend told me. He played a couple songs of his own, which were amazing. The girl from my program told us the timbre of our voices sounded good together, but I have a feeling she just wanted to say something. Haha.

But I don’t really care! The loudness wasn’t really my fault, and neither was the fact that when I’m nervous, my throat constricts. Also, when I’m nervous in front of audiences, I think I sabotage myself. It ends up being bad because I expect it to be. I think it’s because I subconsciously want to hit rock bottom, so that anything afterwards is a step up. I mean, I don’t want to be nervous in front of audiences forever, and if it went well, I’d reinforce the anxious behaviour! I guess by having good experiences from the get-go, the anxiety would disappear. But what happens when you take a nosedive after so many good experiences? Twenty years later, you’re at rock bottom and you think it’s the end, because you’ve never had to build from zero.

Fucked up way to look at it, but whatever. I always take the long way around. Now that I know that sucking isn’t the end of the world, I’m not afraid for it to happen again. Sucking is kind of boring though, so not sucking as much next time would be good.

I’m happy I did it. I just need to make sure I make “next time” happen soon because last time I played in front of an audience (at a WEDDING), the same thing happened: I was rendered fearless and incredibly excited to perform more… but I waited too long. So I need to take advantage of this “no fear” thing, and start making good things happen. Random audience la prochaine fois, I hope.

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Where Heartbreak Leads

I read an article by Steve Pavlina that talked about different kinds of motivation: towards and away-from. I’d never really thought about it too much before then, but I realized that I undeniably make the most progress after I’ve been severely hurt. I go through a period of deep confusion, but after that passes, everything is so much clearer than it was before the trauma.

I’ve always been better at eliminating from my life what I don’t like than at chasing my dreams. The stronger I feel a bad emotion, the easier I can find which way is the opposite direction. While submerged in those emotions, I feel like I have nothing to lose, so I take more risks. The positive emotions I feel about my goals are associated mostly with fabrications, so it’s hard to feel a real directional pull toward my dreams. I’m working on changing this (working hard), but right now, I feel the away-from motivation very strongly. Even if the outcome of the risk-taking is bad, I always feel at least a little bit better; I feel brave, and satisfied that I’ve crossed something off my list of things to try.

After a terrible night of ex-boyfriends and new girlfriends (both should be singular, if you know what I mean), nothing felt like a worse idea than going home to sleep. I literally marched past the entrance to my apartment building and into the nearest pub. It turned out to be an Irish pub, and there was live music, and I was very grateful for both of those things. I sat at the bar, close to where there seemed to be more commotion because maybe that meant someone was more likely to talk to me. My goal was just to have a beer and not force myself to talk to anyone if I felt it was too hard. One step at a time; walking in was difficult enough for me! Plus, I was genuinely enjoying myself, a beer in hand, music in my ears, surrounded by people and no one to impress.

However, a question I actually wanted the answer to materialized itself in my noggin. There was a guy playing acoustic guitar, and since I’d been wanting to perform at open mic nights, I asked the guy next to me if that’s what tonight was. He looked at the bartender and they both started laughing. Apparently it wasn’t, and they thought it was funny that they were being asked this question for the second time. I had a good chat with the guy for a while, he was nice. We talked about careers and he suggested I work in a bar to get in the know about the music scene (and I’m actually considering doing so). He was friends with all the staff, with whom he was playing some sort of dice game. I had just been invited to play in the next round when the guitarist finished his set and put down his instrument. I had been wanting to ask him the title of one of the songs he played (turned out to be “Thirteen” by Elliott Smith), so I went over to talk to him. We ended up having a great conversation about music, life and love, and he added me to Facebook. I bought another beer.

I can’t ask for a better outcome than making a friend (well, I guess a friend and a half). A musical friend, no less! I also got positive comments about my personality from both people. Bonus!

I’ll be doing this again. If you think you’re missing out on something, you probably are, even if it’s just a learning experience. Push through the fear!

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